You read about an amazing new product online or see it in the news. In fact, it’s so amazing that you want to go out and buy it straight away!

You head out to the store and do a full sweep of the aisles… only to find that it’s not there.

According to Statista, 16% of customers that can’t find what they want in a store go home and order it online instead.

This is a very frustrating outcome if you sell your products in a brick-and-mortar store. However, a retail merchandising audit can help brands make sure that customers can find exactly what they want.

What is a retail merchandising audit?

A retail merchandising audit is an excellent way to check how the products you sell in your store are faring, and if your advertising campaigns are working. An audit also lets you keep a close eye on how retailers are promoting your brand.

A retail merchandising audit checks the following things:

  • The amount of stock a store has
  • The price of the stock and if there are any discounts in place
  • Where the stock is positioned and what it is being sold alongside
  • How the stock is being promoted
  • How your products stack up to those of your competitors

How to carry out a thorough retail merchandising audit

A retail merchandising audit will help you identify how your key brands are being promoted and allow you to supply feedback to your retailers. Here are our top tips for ensuring a high-quality and thorough audit.

Be as consistent as possible

If you have multiple stores to visit, be sure not only to ask the same questions but carry out your merchandising audits at similar times. For example, if you visit one store in August and one in November, the stores’ layout and marketing strategies will be vastly different!

Using an on-the-ground team, like our Shepherds, will help you check stores for consistency at the same time!

Take lots of pictures

Databases and sheets to fill in are great, but as the old adage goes, a picture tells a thousand words! After all, 65% of people are visual learners.

Get your team to take photos and videos of stock when they visit. This not only gives you evidence of how products are being displayed and promoted at a particular date and time, but makes it easier to explain the retail store layout.

Don’t forget to feedback

When you have completed your audit, it’s crucial to provide feedback to all stores. Don’t just tell them where they need to improve, but let them know what they are doing well too.

If you spot a similar issue across multiple stores, is there anything you can do to help? For example, could you supply more precise information about your products, supply additional promotional materials or offer training?

Keep carrying out testing

A retail merchandising audit should never be a ‘one and done’ event.

You should schedule them regularly to ensure that your products are always displayed in the best possible way.