Companies implement merchandising strategies to successfully market their products to retail shoppers. In order for a company to maximize retail success, it’s important to ensure that it’s merchandising strategy is followed by retailers. For this purpose retail merchandising audits are conducted.
Effective merchandising means having the right product, in the right place, at the right time, in the right amount, at the right price, always. Implementation of this goal involves conducing three main types of merchandising audits:
- Regular shelf checks
- Seasonal/promotional merchandising inspections
- Competitor analysis.
Once you start merchandising audits performance, keep in mind three things that are critically important for maximizing the benefits of retail inspections:
- Permanency – merchandising audits should be conducted on regular basis, rather than on occasion. Regular merchandising audits ensure consistently high level of customer service and give companies opportunity to identify and track retail trends.
- Broad coverage – Ideally every retail location, to which your company supplies goods or products, should be audited on regular basis. Broad coverage of retail locations during merchandising audits provides holistic and balanced picture of retail conditions. Conducting regular merchandising audits in as many retail locations as you can afford, you provide opportunities to reveal top-performing stores and identify places where things are not going too well. This data is vital for developing and adjustment of marketing strategies.
- Relevance – To maximize the value of merchandising audits a company should organize auditing activities in a way that minimizes the time from data acquisition to taking appropriate actions. Big time gaps between a merchandising audit performed and decision made reduce the effectiveness of the effort.
It may seem that the implementation of all the points, mentioned above, requires too much money and resources to start, but it’s not quite so. Due to the up-to-date mobile merchandising software solutions every company can afford conducting regular in-house audits in multiple locations and getting real-time information from points of sale. Let’s consider in what ways merchandising software can maximize the benefits of your merchandising audits.
If you opt for a comprehensive software solution for merchandising and field sales, you can easily combine regular store visits of sales representatives to merchandising activities. Retail execution software for tablets and smartphones allows your field reps to conduct all kinds of activities at points of sale, including taking product orders, performing merchandising audits, collecting various store data, interviewing customers, analyzing competitors and much more.
When you get an all-in-one retail execution solution, you can easily provide full coverage of retail locations by merchandising audits, almost at no additional cost. Mobile forms and automated data entry allow collecting various types of data (text, numbers, photos, signatures) very quickly, so a sales rep can easily perform a merchandising audit when he visits a store to take an order.
Merchandising software provides automatic synchronization of all the data between the office and the field. This means not only your sales reps or merchandisers don’t have to visit the office to get the schedule of visits or to report back, but also delivers real-time data workflow to maximize the value of merchandising audits. All the data, collected in the field, is instantly transferred to the corporate database and is available for analysis. Moreover, if a merchandiser during an audit notices out-of-stocks, to correct the situation, he can quickly make an order by himself, using the same mobile application as he uses to perform the audit. Live data aggregation and mobile access to necessary information from anywhere both for office managers and field reps accelerate decision-making and improves company’s bottom line.
Don’t hesitate to move your merchandising execution to the next level. VisitBasis offers companies to start automating their merchandising activities completely free of charge. VisitBasis merchandising software is extremely easy to deploy and use. No installation needed. Register at www.visibasis.com and you’ll be able to set up your first automated audit in 15-20 minutes. Call us today +1 (800) 497-6293 (tall free), or schedule a demo, to see how merchandising software works.