If you are the manager of a brand that sells at retail, you have likely studied the retail chains that carry your brand in great detail. You may also have access to store and chain-specific category management and shelf management reports. You probably also frequently conduct market and store tours.
But, just in case you are not totally familiar with the retail environments in which your brand sells, I would recommend that you visit the stores in which you brand sells and note each of the following aspects of the retail selling environment:
- Is the store a stand-alone pad store, in a strip shopping center, in an enclosed shopping mall or in some other type of location?
- What are the store's hours?
- At what time are you visiting the store?
- Is there adequate parking? Is the parking lot full, almost empty or somewhere in between?
- What does the store entrance look like? What products are featured there? What signage is there?
- Is music playing in the store? What type of music?
- How big is the store (square footage)?
- What is the general feeling of the store? Is it more like a warehouse or a quaint boutique?
- Is there effective way finding in the store? Are product categories well marked?
- How prominently are prices featured in the store?
- Is there signage indicating price discounts? How prominent are those signs?
- How is the store organized in general? How are the different product categories organized
- What is the store's traffic pattern? Can shoppers explore the store in their own pattern or is the shopping path predetermined (as in Ikea)?
- Are there convenience sections for quick purchase of staple items?
- What products and brands are featured on the end caps?
- What special merchandising sections exist?
- Is there a "manager's favorite" section?
- Where is your brand located in the store? Is it located in more than one place?
- How many skus and shelf facings does your brand have? How does this compare to the competition?
- How many competitive brands does the store feature?
- Does the store offer its own brand in your category?
- How does your brand's range of products compare to that of the competition?
- How do your brand's prices compare to those of the competition? Are they comparable, higher or lower? Does your brand offer a comparable range of prices or a wider or narrower range of prices?
- Do you offer different sizes than the competition does? What is the reason for this?
- Which products are in the "strike zone" (at eye level)? Which are merchandised up high on the top shelf? Which are merchandised down low on the bottom shelf?
- Do some brands have stand alone merchandising? What are the features of that merchandising?
- Which products and brands are featured in the seasonal aisle?
- What products and brands are merchandised at the check stands?
- Are your products and brands merchandised adjacent to all of the logical complementary products?
- In how many places in the store are your brand's products merchandised? How does this compare to competitive brands?
- Are your brand's products well-stocked on the shelves?
- Does your brand stand out vis-à-vis competitive brands?
- Is it easy for the consumer to make sense of your brand's range of products and what makes each sku different from the other skus?
- Are store associates available throughout the store and in your brand's departments/aisles to answer customer questions?
- Overall, do you believe your brand has a strong presence in the store, a weak presence in the store or something in between?
- What one or two actions could be taken to increase your brand's chances of selling more successfully in the store?
For more information on brands and how to successfully manage them, purchase Brand Aid.