How to Implement and Verify a Planogram

By Vladik Rikhter

Congratulations! You’ve perfected your retail planograms – the visual representations of where you intend to position products in the store or on the shelf.

You’ve studied your stores’ demographics and have fine-tuned your merchandise selection. It’s a job well done but truthfully, it’s only one-third of the battle in maximizing your revenue.

Two Challenges Remain: Implementing and Verifying Your Planogram

Achieving 100-percent compliance is very difficult. It’s even more challenging when you don’t have the right tools that help you respond quickly to a problem.

A planogram – no matter how well designed – doesn’t account for real-life situations that require employee response.

Here are three instances where compliance gets complicated, and what you can do to get a handle on changing conditions:

1. There’s a disconnect between corporate and store data

The merchandise planner at corporate headquarters didn’t account for a local buying pattern that results in out of stocks or poor use of shelf-space.

Take action: Gathering feedback from your partners – store managers, employees and vendors – is crucial to maintaining your planogram. Have employees report exceptions in real time using their mobile device. Scan bar codes and use a QR reader to gather as much product information as you can. Immediately notify vendors of out-of-stocks.

2. Your store has maintenance challenges

The number of shelves and peg hooks has been miscalculated. Shelves should have been cleaned and there are some broken fixtures. Employees are not performing daily recovery to maintain the display’s appearance.

Take action: Before implementing the planogram, have store managers verify the setup by taking photos or video. Schedule a store audit when a new product rolls out to ensure that shelves are neat and all fixtures are in working condition. Implementing and verifying a planogram are team efforts. Make sure you have the capability to track employee tasks.

3. Store personnel are making errors placing product

Mistakes happen. Busy store personnel fill an empty space with a product not specified in the planogram. The consumer looking for the right product may think it’s out of stock even if it’s not. Additionally, shelf tags aren’t printed clearly and the wrong price is listed.

Take action: Conduct retail sales audits on a regular basis, and especially if a new or seasonal promotion is underway. Human error is bound to occur, but routinely verifying your merchandise through survey and image data will help you learn from mistakes that impact your bottom line.

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