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Market Research 101: What are Merchandising Audits?

Posted by TrendSource on 8/29/19 8:22 AM

Labor Day is coming, so drape yourselves in white from head-to-toe before it’s too late. But that’s the beauty of Market Research 101—wear whatever you like, we can’t see you anyway!

Last week we discussed compliance audits and now it’s time to drill into merchandising audits. What are market research merchandising audits, who needs them, and how does TrendSource do them better than all the rest?

What are Merchandising Audits?

Merchandising audits are a revealed market research methodology in which Field Agents inspect, document, and photograph merchandise on behalf of manufacturers ensuring their retail partners meet their contractual obligations.
When manufacturers enter into contracts with retail partners, they pay for certain merchandising considerations—shelf space, placement, and marketing materials are all typically part of this consideration. Merchandising audits ensure these contractual obligations are met on a store-by-store basis, and provide documentation when they are not; this documentation is necessary when renegotiating contracts.

Who Needs Merchandising Audits?

Merchandising audits are indispensable for manufacturers whose goods are sold by retail partners. The market research methodology allows them to be confident their retail partner meets its contractual obligations, and provides evidence when they do not.

Some examples of manufacturing industries that need merchandising audits:

  • Consumer electronics
  • Fashion
  • Games and toys
  • Home goods
  • Food, beverage, and other CPG goods
  • Many more

Yet this is not a market research methodology exclusively for manufacturers. Indeed, retailers should also consider merchandising audits as they illustrate contractual compliance in future negotiations. This means to say that merchandising audits help retailers demonstrate to their manufacturing partners they have met their obligations.

market research 101 consumer electronics merchandising audits

Why Are Merchandising Audits Important?

The relationships between manufacturers and retailers are indescribably important—in fact, we would go so far as to say that such relationships are one of the underpinnings of capitalism. Maintaining good relations between these partners is essential to their mutual success, and merchandising audits are a singular tool to maintain these relations.

How TrendSource Does Merchandising Audits

TrendSource’s national network of Field Agents guarantees we can offer 100% completion, 100% of the time. This means we can target each and every location under your retail partner’s umbrella, offering data on a store-by-store, region-by-region, and overall level.

These Field Agents have specific instructions that cover their in-store work, including meticulous guidelines for in-store photographs, as well as for in-store interactions with employees. Our Quality Assurance department then reviews their audits to ensure they meet our high standards before handing off the data to our analytics department.

Good fences have been said to make good neighbors; good merchandising audits make good partnerships. Also, what other market research firm is going to paraphrase Frost for you?

2019 Alcohol Industry Report

Topics: merchandising audits, Retail, CPG, Manufacturing, Market Research 101

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