Strong merchandising strategy is essential to drive revenue and optimize customer experience.

There are many common blunders and best practices when it comes to merchandising. Stock-outs, hidden items, and insufficient marketing signage are just a few examples. With multiple branches and store locations, merchandising mishaps become even more important for field teams to keep an eye on.

A recent report from RIS News evaluated retailers’ in-store merchandising practices, and the results were astonishing. RIS News concluded that merchandising strategy is “broken and outdated” for most of the country’s national and regional retail chains. The study reported that 63% of retailers are still using Excel spreadsheets for merchandising planning, compliance, and communication. One-fourth of retailers do not even measure in-store merchandising execution and compliance regularly. Less than 10% say that they do only 1-2 times per year. A whopping 20% admit that they never do it. Retail merchandising simply hasn’t kept pace with burgeoning technology solutions for other job functions, like sales, finance, and supply chain management.

Retailers “really need a comprehensive solutions for managing their in-store merchandising campaigns and measuring execution,” said Joe Skorupa, RIS News editor in chief and author of the report. The report details the guesswork that goes into developing merchandising plans and forecasts due to the lack of real-time data. How can retailers develop strategy and make improvements when they’re not accurately measuring existing merchandising practices? And if we take this into consideration as we frequent our local retailers, it’s not too difficult to spot merchandising mishaps all around us. Quick service restaurants have slow service and messy displays; grocery store demos and displays have poor in-store locations, and shelf dividers are missing at convenience stores.

All of these examples lead to suboptimal customer experience and missed revenue opportunities. At GoSpotCheck, we’re focused on helping retailers measure, analyze, and strategize, leveraging real-time information and data to pull merchandising out of the dark ages. Data collection and consistency across retail chains are essential for strong merchandising strategy and execution. Ultimately, an improved system is as essential for customers as it is retailers. Merchandising either improves or tarnishes a customer’s experience and brand affinity. Let merchandising be a core strength, not a weakness!

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