Merchandising teams are groups of people who are responsible for products in retail. They are there to ensure that products are positioned in a way that makes it as appealing as it can be for the customer. The main role of a merchandiser, is to carry out audits. When a rep arrives to perform an audit, there are certain things which would be beneficial for you to be aware of.

Retail Audits are carried out to ensure that products are displayed on the shelf in a way that ensures that customers can locate is easily. When the customer has found the product/s they are looking for, it should be found in the most appealing way possible, (just as you would like to find it yourself if you were the customer). Retail Audits are normally performed on a regular basis, this is to enable that the product is consistently available, and organised well on the retail shelf.

Compliance Audits are performed in conjunction with special promotions that a manufacturer has agreed with a retailer. These audits are performed to ensure that the product is being promoted as it has been agreed. Not only on the price that it is on sale for, but also on how the product is being displayed in the store.

Merchandising Audits

How to gain the most value from an in-store audits


Audits should occur on a regular basis, this is to ensure that a product is consistently displayed, in order to maximise sales. If any discrepancies are discovered, they should always be bought to the attention of the store manager as soon as possible. Informing the manager of any deficiencies will ensure corrections can be made in good time.

With audits being carried out regularly, all the data that has been collected from the visits should remain consistent over time. With the data which has been collated, any obvious issues will be detected, and can be dealt with in the appropriate way. In order for issues to be identified, all surveys and audit questions need to remain the same throughout.

Stock level reporting

There are lots of different types of stock in a typical retail store. There is on-shelf stock, this should always remain full, ‘near-shelf stock’, which is normally stock that can be found above the shelf, in bins below or behind the shelving, this stock is used for quick replenishment of the shelf. The last stock location is the ‘back room stock’. An outstanding retail audit will be an audit that includes checking all the locations of any stock, to ensure that any issues that may cause out-of-stock (OOS) can be quickly identified and resolved.

OOS can cause major issues, not only for distributors but retailers too, resulting in many losses. It is vital to keep an eye on the availability of your products to prevent any OOS. Audits will help you to collect data to better predict and prevent OOS. The best way to report stock, is to report as ‘High, Medium, Low’ priority, rather than taking time to get the exact counts

Marc Buckley