How to Be Sure Your Product Is on the Shelf

retevoSuppliers new to the game of retail may believe that they have arrived when their buyer says yes. But, in fact, that is just the beginning. To succeed, your product must get to the shelf and your displays must be on display. That relates to operations and equates to compliance.

Compliance comes in two forms: modular compliance and display compliance. Failure with either can be a disaster for a supplier — resulting in backroom inventory, forecasting errors, lost sales.

Modular compliance happens on the shelf

Modular compliance (or modular integrity) means the product is on the shelf as expected. While this is an ordinary function of a store’s operations, problems sometimes happen. For example, data may indicate merchandise is on the shelf when in actuality it is not. This phantom inventory appears on the books as on the shelf but, in fact, is nowhere to be found! Correcting it requires experience,  problem-solving skills, and diligence.

Know as much about operations as you are able. Be sure that all product data (SKU numbers, dates, quantities) is correct. Even an extra space in a number can throw everything off and cause your product to never get to the shelf.

Display compliance happens at various places within the store

Display compliance means displays are placed correctly within the store. These shelf-talkers, end-cap displays, standing displays, etc., hold or display a supplier’s products.

Because such displays are out-of-the-ordinary, they present a challenge. If a department manager believes he doesn’t have the time to assemble a display, it may sit unassembled in the back room for days or even weeks.

Select displays that are quick to assemble and look easy to do.

Inexperienced suppliers who believe they will automatically achieve 100% display compliance are in for a rude awakening.  In actuality, display compliance is around 45-55% — only about half of what is paid for.

Operations holds the key to compliance success

Operations must understand and support display efforts so the plan becomes reality.

Make assembly instructions clear. Check by having someone unfamiliar with your display review your instructions.

“Selling a product into a store is only half the story,” says Avery Starks, CEO of Retevo Solutions. “Any product and any promotion is only as strong as the execution of the plan.retevo

“Correcting an error in store inventory is imperative for every supplier — day in, day out. For a supplier to make that happen, he has to know what’s going on. It’s a lot of work.

“Same thing with promotional displays. They have to be set up properly in every store selected. That requires a lot of checking, sometimes even detective work, and often correction.”

Check for proper execution. Thank those who have done the job correctly; follow up with those who have not.

Suppliers should address compliance

Every supplier wants his product to always be on the shelf, ready to be purchased by the shopper who wants it now. Whether the supplier himself ascertains that compliance is complete or hires a merchandising specialist like Retevo, full-selling potential is imperative. Attaining modular compliance and display compliance can assure your product is on the shelf.