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Published on 29 August, 2023

PoS Compliance Audits - An introduction to The Shepper Way

Lindsay Forster

Lindsay Forster


Whether you’re a consumer brand, grocery retailer or licensee, the creation and execution of any form of promotional offer to entice your customers to buy will be an important facet of your retail strategy and budget.

As shoppers, we all know at any one time, a large proportion of products in store are on some form of offer e.g. money off, multi buy and a stretch spend are just some examples. This naturally increases during key events and seasons, the largest of which is Christmas. That’s right, we dropped the C word in August.

It’s the old adage of the last mile of the journey being the most difficult - getting promotions onto the shop floor in a way that maximises consumer impact, adds to the brand experience and critically boosts sales. It sounds so straightforward, but our data continuously shows that the delivery often falls short of how we planned it, despite the hundreds of millions that are invested for success. Getting to the bottom of why there is a shortfall as a promotion goes live is key to understanding how to get it fixed and course correcting as soon as possible. For that reason, we have developed an affordable solution with real time data that enables promotional spend to be fully optimised.


How to get the most from your in-store promotions

What is PoS Compliance Audit?

It’s as simple as it sounds. We use a combination of our expertise, experience and market leading technology to equip our nationwide team of ‘Shepherds’ to be able to audit the quality, condition and availability levels of promotions from day one to identify issues, allowing our partners to get to the route of the problem quickly, put action plans in place to rectify them and be able to repeat this process as often as necessary.

This data is structured, quality checked and aggregated into a dashboard which can be shared with the brand and the retailer in real time. Notifications can be triggered as an alert system so that where planned promotions are missing this can be identified and resolved at pace. We can audit all stores or a sample of stores, ensuring representation across different types of stores and geographies.

Brands also have the option to audit mid or end of cycle to ensure the promotion is still active and the promoted lines are available to buy.


Who buys our PoS Compliance Audit service?

Typically account management teams who invest in promotions across multiple formats and store types who hold the accountability for promotional budgets. Given the typically high levels of total investment, a marginal improvement in performance can generate a significant difference in total return.

Whilst large brands tend to invest in PoS Compliance Audit as a core component of the overall campaign budget, the nature of the service Shepper provides enables smaller, challenger brands to access this critical service.

We also work with industry partners across media agencies, to print and production houses, to field sales organizations to embed Shepper’s PoS Compliance Audits, or as we call it Promotional Verification service into their product offering. This results in unrivalled coverage and accuracy, meaning our partners can act faster to address gaps in performance.


How to get the most from your in-store promotions

While results can vary hugely across brand and retail sectors (and we have seen compliance as low as 15%), the average compliance sits between 50% to 60% driven by a variety of factors:

  • Confirmation of the promotional offer not received by the store or not received in sufficient time
  • The promotional offer can’t be accommodated, or in the position where it was designed to go in the store
  • Promotional stocks or the promotional materials (PoS) haven’t arrived in store
  • Staff shortages or retail colleagues being poorly briefed
  • Display stands or product not robust enough to withstand the length of the promotional time window
  • Promotional units taken down early as no stock left or to make room for new promotions

How people use the data.

The insights are designed to promote meaningful intervention and correction of problems as soon as possible, depending on the cause of the issue. Results are often shared with our partners in real time to equip them to remedy any shortcomings while the promotion is live. This also enables them to surface the rationale for non-compliance if necessary.

Helpfully, results tracked over time also enable retailers to review resourcing, whilst ensuring colleagues are equipped with the right tools and training to execute in store promotions against the agreed plan and client expectations.

One of the many user cases involves auditing promotions with date specific elements, or where promotions are governed by external regulation.

Where distribution or trade agreements are in place stipulating specific merchandising requirements and retail execution falls this short, this gives a robust set of data points for brand partners to renegotiate commercial terms.

In some cases, collecting promotional compliance data over time enables brands to adopt a more tailored approach to buying promotional space, focusing on the retailers and the stores where execution is consistently strong.

Finally, when calculating campaign ROI, it’s critical to understand what was displayed correctly and whether products on promotion were available versus the assumed level of compliance (100% is extremely rare, even with the best planning and resources) to ensure the right baseline is used for evaluating spend effectiveness.

And having a neat dashboard and carousel of time and date stamped images across every store also gives budget holders concrete evidence on which to gain or defend hard-fought marketing spend. Let’s be honest, in our experience senior leaders tend to pop into the store local to where they live and are often reasonably blind to the inconsistencies we typically find across most retailers.


Embedding, Promotional Verification (PoS Compliance Audit) into your business.

It seems a little odd that physical promotional mechanics consistently fail to get measured in the same way digital mechanics do.

We don’t believe this is standard practice for a number of reasons.

  • Lack of awareness that promotional compliance can be tracked by an independent 3rd party.
  • The assumption that it’s not viable from a cost perspective.
  • Given the time sensitivity, a lack of awareness and belief that scale audits can be achieved in a single day.

The reality is that the cost of Promotional Verification equates to a very small percentage of the overall campaign spend and as such partners need to collaborate to raise standards, leveraging platforms like Shepper to surface the insight to make this possible. Early insight and course correction can in our experience make a significant improvement to campaign returns.

How to get started

  • Visit our website to learn more about Promotional Verification, and how we help brands like you.
  • Talk to one of our experts who can understand your requirements, how you want to use the data on how we design a programme to meet your needs, and your budget.
  • Briefs can be turned into action within 48 hours and data delivered straight to your desktop or phone as soon as the audits are released from our quality assurance process.
  • Make sure your brand and products do their best job this Christmas. Do better with Shepper.

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