Techniques Utilized
  » Controlled Store Tests
  » Controlled Market Tests
  » Sales Tracking
  » Merchandising Audit
  » Product Purchase & Pick-Up Service
  » Point-of-Purchase Videotaping
  » Shopper Interviews
  » Post-Purchase Surveys
  » Shopalongs
  » Vitality Lab

Merchandising Audits

Provides an accurate snapshot of the retail environment

The presence, location and overall quality of your shelf distribution and the execution of your retail marketing and promotional initiatives are the most fundamental piece to your brand’s success and often the most overlooked. Monitoring these conditions and the compliance of retail events ensures that your brand is getting its fair share and that the programs that have been sold into an account or outlet are being properly executed.

Integrated Research has conducted thousands of merchandising audits (also known as observational studies or distribution checks) across a wide range of retail outlets. Each project is designed and executed specifically for each client, which helps to ensure that the results are both accurate and actionable. These measures can include any observable condition, including:

  • Distribution
  • Out-of-Stock
  • Facings
  • Share of Shelf/Linear Feet
  • Retail Price
  • Shelf Position
  • Location
  • Adjacencies
  • Merchandising Activity (Displays, special prices, etc)
  • Marketing Activity (In-store TV or Radio, signage, shelftalk, floor ads, etc)

Merchandising Audits: Design

Unlike syndicated suppliers, we custom design every facet of the study to meet the client’s specifications, including:

Any brand or category
Time Period
Conducted at any time or frequency
  • Complete category
  • Selected brands or SKUs
  • Monthly, Quarterly, Annually or One-Time
  • Weekend or Weekday
Any observable condition
Designed to represent any universe
  • Distribution & Out-of-Stocks
  • Facings & Linear Shelf Space
  • Retail Price (Regular/Promo)
  • Location & Adjacencies
  • Merchandising & Marketing Activity
  • Key Account or Trade Class
  • Sales Territory or Census Region
  • ScanTrack Panel
  • InfoScan Panel

Points of Differentiation vs. Syndicated Suppliers

  • To improve accuracy, Integrated Research audits are not conducted for multiple clients and/or categories
  • Unlimited measures tailored to meet specific client objectives
  • Store locations can be identified

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Merchandising Audits: Execution

With field coverage in over 150 U.S. and Canadian markets, Integrated Research can conduct these audits to represent any geography, retail channel or chain. Integrated Research ensures data quality and comprehensive results by sweating the details at every phase of the project.

Quality Assurance

Field Execution
  • Kick-off meeting with client
  • Develop detailed instructions & samples
  • Field test form in local stores
  • Comprehensive field briefing
  • Toll-free help line to address questions in field
  • Review of completed forms by market supervisors & conduct store revisits as necessary
  • Manual review of individual audit forms/files
  • Discrepant data screening utilizing multiple queries
  • Two-phase report checking process (logic/technical check)

Outlets & Accounts

Integrated Research has conducted merchandising audits across a wide range of trade channels and accounts, including:

  • Food
  • C-Store/“Mom & Pop”
  • Drug
  • Mass Merchandiser (incl. Wal-Mart & Target)
  • Hardware/Home Centers/Lawn & Garden
  • Department & Appliance Stores
  • Optical
  • Wine/Liquor
  • Bars/Restaurants
  • Video Stores
  • Other

Merchandising Audits: Reporting

As with all of our projects, Integrated Research custom designs the final report data to meet the needs and preferences of the client. This typically involves a tabulated report and, based on the client's preference, a key findings summary in a PowerPoint file format.

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