January 16, 2015

Do You Sell Retailers? Retail Store Practices and Your Success

Do you sell retailers or plan to in the near future? 

If yes, you are out of stock or will be. I’ve spent much of the week when not in meetings conducting store audits.  If you want to sell large accounts, be prepared to avoid large problems that can occur at retail. With the recent news on Target Canada, store audits are all the more vital to your health and success at retail.

Retail shelves are notoriously hard to manage. Issues arise from supplier fill rates, warehouse stock, order accuracy, store personnel efficiency, promotion velocity, shoppers and competitors.  If it is not on the shelf, it’s not being sold.

Retail store practices are the culprit for the vast majority of issues in grocery, mass, and dollar stores. In general, your only method to discover and fix these issues are with store audits. A major factor in this area will be shelf-tags: mainly wrong tags or no tag.  

Shelf tags are generally not printed according to planograms and result in tremendous errors when store personnel have to sort tags into aisle and category piles as pictured.
What should you do? Get into your customers retail locations and conduct store audits along with any computer reports by location searching for zero sales locations.  

If you are not doing regular store audits on your retail locations, you are missing opportunities for improvement and greater sales. One retailer location will have as many as 2,400 to hang each week. Do you think they execute 100% with flawless efficiency?

Some areas to investigate when conducting retail audits:
Is your product out-of-stock?
Worse than an out-of-stock, look for product voids. (no tag, no sales, no inventory)
Are you stocked in the right spot?
# of facings
All sku’s in set?
Shelf position
Does the shelf tag have the correct retail price?
Is your promotion tag posted and up?
In some retailers, no tag equates to no future orders. 

#1 action is to capture the information and seek information on what is causing the problem or problems so that you can mitigate the issues system wide. Yes, you want to find a solution for each instance but more importantly is to seek out patterns and build solutions for all involved. Start by asking everyone involved about the situation from your side, team, distribution, store ordering, tagging and stocking. 

Much continued success. 

Retail requires execution. Inspect with store audits.

Also, be sure to subscribe for my updates and best practices for growing your food enterprise now. 

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