As brands and wholesalers compete for higher market share, increased visibility, and the best shelf positioning, undertaking retail audits regularly is the way to keep your business at the forefront of your industry. Not carrying out audits correctly will have a huge negative impact on your business.
According to a Promotion Optimization Institute study 81% of brands are unhappy with how they carry out their retail execution. If strong compliance to HQ initiatives was achieved through store execution in a timely and consistent way, sales per store would increase on average by 3.7%. Now is the time to get on top of your retail execution strategy.
What are the causes of lost sales?
Lost sales happen due to a variety of reasons. These include voids or stockouts; the retailer using the wrong pricing; competitors getting better shelf positioning or retailers not complying with agreements for trade promotions.
When FMCG’s are missing important sales data, they can’t identify trends such as market share and competitor growth and can’t compare store-level sales by product. This hinders their ability to make strategic business decisions about which products sell better in which location.
54% of consumers admit to making an impulse buy in store so you need your products to be available and prominently displayed for them to have an impact on store buyers. A strong retail execution strategy is vital.
How can you prevent lost sales?
Retail audit software is the tool you need to empower your sales reps and merchandisers to audit stores directly from their mobile devices and prevent lost sales.
- Collect the data that is most relevant to you. Examples include product facings, availability and display of labels, promotions, and more. Through dynamic forms configured to guide your reps’ work in the store you’ll track the data that really improves your bottom line. Collect multiple types of data in one place with room for additional notes, images, and allow shelf-side bar code scanning.
- Use the app to take photos and tag them by account and geo-location to monitor compliance with shelf display planograms and contractual terms. It becomes easier for merchandisers to explain what is going on – especially if there is a before and after shot - allowing your management team to take appropriate action. Brands will have concrete proof of their retailers’ compliance with slotting agreements and promotions.
- Auto-syncing is a must. Find software with a simple interface that syncs collected data straight from the mobile device directly to managers in the back office. Managers never have to wait to analyze the data and can act on their findings immediately.
- Trade promotions and discounts are one of the highest priorities for FMCG suppliers and a way to increase sales and optimize inventory. But to be effective they must be displayed as agreed with your retailers. Your store audit app will help you monitor displays at the point of sale so you can validate promotions are executed as planned.
- Prevent stockouts and keep track of returned goods by closely monitoring your shelf presence, stock placed in bins, and inventory in the stores’ warehouse. You are then in full control of when you need to replenish inventory.
- Ensure you carry out audits on a regular basis so you can clearly track the progress of changes and improvements your merchandisers make. This will reveal the true effectiveness of retail execution activities.
- A good way to ensure complete compliance with shelf display planograms and contractual terms is to assign scores to each retail audit to be tied in with incentives for retailers that comply such as discounts or special promotions.
- Any mobile merchandising software you use must be built for seamless online-offline operation. Your retail execution strategy should never suffer due to poor internet connectivity.
- Remember that your retailers are your valued partners and you need to build relationships with them via full transparency around activity data from both sides. This sharing of data promotes accountability for all retail execution tasks. At the end of an audit, email or print a copy of your in-store survey.