When looking at the retail environment, the only true assessment of how a retailer is performing is the shopping experience of the consumer. For consumer packaged goods companies and retailers some times this assessment is difficult.
To do the assessment correctly we focused on a term: ”through the eyes of the consumer”. What is the shopper experiencing when they do their shopping? To properly assess this, the focus was placed on gathering in-store information at high-traffic times. This is what is termed “peak shopping” periods.. i.e when everyone is in the store for their weekly shopping expedition. The Linkage Group initiated a retail audit service that looked at the retail store environment during peak shopping periods , capturing it as the consumer would see it. During these peak periods, the shopping experience can reflect negatively on the retailer and manufacturer as this is typically when they experience higher than typical out of stock. Our service allows the CPG Companies and Retailers the ability see the experience through the eyes of the consumer.
In conducting these assessments, a common finding was discovered. In several cases stores that were pristine on Monday or Tuesday night where quite often ‘out of business’ on many key products during peak shopping times. Simple to understand, but not so easy to fix. Further assessments were then conducted to determine if there was a possibility that the product that is regularly in stock is over represented versus higher selling brands. This approach may give the insight that the retailer requires to reassess their section planogram and allot more space to brands/products that are consistently out of stock, reducing the space allocation for those brands that can hold their foot print during peak shopping periods. This is a key, yet difficult fix, as most shopping decisions are still made at shelf level, so no product, means no sale which leads to a disappointing shopping experience and maybe a customer that doesn’t come back.
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Written By Bob Proctor,
The Linkage Group Inc.