The success of the agency, its good name, the opportunities to expand its business, and therefore gain in profits, depend on the performance of merchandisers. If employees consistently fulfill their assignments poorly, customers will observe this and switch to competitors. Restoring a business image is more difficult and expensive rather than maintaining it.

The merchandiser performance has a direct impact on sales at the point of sale. Field employees obtain information that is subsequently used to plan sales and assess the actions of competitors. Motivated and loyal employees perform their duties well. Clients of such agencies are eager to do business with them on a long-term basis.

This article will examine the reasons that prevent agencies from enhancing employee loyalty and what can be done about it.

How Merchandisers Work Now

How merchandisers work now

Today the merchandiser’s routine at a retail outlet is as follows:

Merchandiser comes to the store, manually compares the display against the planogram, fixes it, and checks the correct location of price labels and POS materials. After the employee has displayed the goods, he or she makes photos of the shelves and sends the images to managers, draws up a report on his/her visit to the outlet and goes to the next one.

This process has a number of pitfalls.

First, it is a manual process that causes errors in both layout and reporting. A merchandiser is a human who can get tired, feel bad, and become distracted. For example, this person may not notice that another drink is displayed in place of the desired drink, or may make a mistake that will distort the data in the reports.

Secondly, it is often difficult for a merchandiser at a retail outlet to take a high-quality photo that meets all merchandising standards. It is disturbed by narrow and high shelves, customers, boxes and other foreign objects.

Due to errors in reports and a large number of low-quality photos, the manager may deprive the merchandiser of a bonus at the end of the month.

It is worth adding that the job of a merchandiser is really hard — they are on the move all day long and in all weather. They constantly need to be focused so as not to miss any details, correctly verify the display and prepare reports. But there’s always a chance to make a mistake. 

In addition to the complexity of the process itself, it is important to understand that merchandisers are young people who have a family and personal concerns. They care about a stable salary that will help support their family. 

Another disadvantage is about managers and reporting for the management and clients of a merchandising agency. Merchandisers send managers hundreds of images that must be manually reviewed and evaluated. They just lack time to do this, and most of the photos remain unviewed. Managers have to extrapolate data and prepare reports based on the result. And, consequently, agency clients cannot see the entire picture on store shelves.

Ways to Make Things Better

Improve merchandiser performance

Let’s consider three aspects that will help improve the merchandiser performance and, as a result, improve the image of the agency itself.

Automation of the Merchandising Process

The merchandising process is complex and time-consuming. But today there are a number of solutions that help expedite it. Using Goods Checker as an example, we will show how automation streamlines the process and increases customer KPIs.

A merchandising agency in Ukraine uses Goods Checker to check store displays. Now the process looks as follows. A merchandiser comes to a retail outlet, takes a photo of the shelf and Goods Checker immediately processes the photo and shows which products are placed correctly and which need to be rearranged. In addition, all data from the photo is immediately included in analytics, which is available to the manager: display compliance percentage, shelf share and other metrics.

Where the display cannot be brought into compliance with the planogram (for example, the product needed is not on stock), the merchandiser makes a corresponding note in the Goods Checker app. Thus, when leaving the store, the employee is 100% sure that the job is done efficiently.

In addition, the agency reduced the reporting time of the merchandiser at the point of sale by 70%! And the time spent visiting some stores was completely halved.

Clear Assessment of Merchandiser Performance

A major point in the job of a merchandiser is its assessment. Merchandisers must understand their tasks, the merchandising process itself, their role in this process, and who they can seek assistance from. Merchandisers must also be acutely aware of possible bonuses and the reasons to be deprived of them. 

We discussed this in more detail in the article titled “Motivation Program for Merchandisers: Essential Aspects

Training and Development 

Training and development become drivers of motivation for many employees. As mentioned above, often merchandisers are young people who are starting their careers. Many see their career in merchandising not only as fulfilling their duties, but also as a development path. With courses, skills development workshops and professional conferences, they can improve their professional skills and, as an additional benefit, enhance loyalty to the agency. Therefore, it is essential for the company to consider opportunities for training, including promotion of employees within the company.

Automation Helps Streamline Processes and Motivate Employees

Automation of merchandising process

Automation is a tool that cannot be ignored today. It helps companies quickly adapt to market changes, use resources efficiently and, as an effect, add to marketability. It also allows focusing on strategic tasks, improving productivity and performance, and driving employee loyalty.

In addition, technology improves communication within the company, expedites processes, makes them more transparent, and creates an engaging working environment. Merchandising automation helps develop the professional skills of employees, improve staff qualifications, and motivate them to do quality work. Technology is already becoming an integral part of corporate culture.

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