Summary and Conclusion

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It is becoming increasingly difficult to meet consumer needs, as changing demographics and lifestyles give rise to an increasingly complex consumer base. Consumers are more sophisticated and are demanding more from brand marketers and retailers, expecting to have the right products, in the right place at the right time.

This evolving and increasingly more sophisticated marketplace has created a need for retail execution systems that are accurate, timely and disciplined. Professional merchandising organizations were created to fulfill the unmet needs of the marketplace and have emerged as the logical choice to provide effective retail execution solutions for both retailers and brand marketers.

Planogram Implementation
In the area of planogram implementation, professional merchandising organizations have demonstrated their superior ability to implement planograms.

  • Professional merchandising organizations implement planogram resets faster than retailers' current methods.
  • Professional merchandising organizations have a higher quality of initial planogram compliance than retailers' current methods.
  • Planogram implementation and maintenance services provided by professional merchandising organizations can provide a typical category sales increase of 7.8%.

Professional merchandising organizations eliminate the retailer's current dilemma of struggling to find the time and resources necessary to conduct category resets. The services supplied by professional merchandising organizations are applicable across the store and are more productive than current retail practices.

To realize the full potential of effective retail implementation by professional merchandising organizations, retailers and brand marketers need to focus more management attention on the process. The three key steps are:

  • Evaluate current planogram implementation processes and identify opportunities for improvement.
    • Is implementation complete and timely?
    • Does the implementation process make efficient use of resources?
  • Prior to scheduling a reset, make sure planogram is:
    • expected to produce a significant sales increase.
    • covers most or all of the actual store conditions.
  • For each reset, provide the implementation team with the tools necessary to get the job done.
    • Detailed planogram (color preferred) and supporting documentation
    • New product and discontinued product lists.
    • Shelf tags
    • Equipment and supplies

New Product Cut-Ins
Regarding the introduction of new items, professional merchandising organizations improve speed-to-shelf, which in turn has a meaningful sales impact for retailers and brand marketers. Professional merchandising organizations:

  • get new products to the shelf faster than retailers' current methods.
  • implement 98% of the new product cut-ins, compared with the retailers' ability to implement only 60% of the new product cut-ins.

Faster implementation of new product cut-ins has tremendous sales potential and can provide a boost in sales of approximately 45%.

Brand marketers and retailers understand that new items build categories, and improving speed-to-shelf of new products brings a lift that much sooner. Until now, however, they did not know there was a lag.

Professional merchandising organizations bring the urgency to speed-to-shelf and provide brand marketers and retailers with other benefits through their enhanced services.

To help ensure fast, accurate new product speed-to-shelf by professional merchandising organizations, retailers and brand marketers should make sure that each store has:

  • the new product available.
  • entered the new product into the POS system.
  • plans for where the new product will go on the shelf.
  • shelf tags available.

The space crunch, exacerbated by consumer demand for increased variety, makes it mandatory that retailers and brand marketers find effective methods to achieve speed-to-shelf. In fact, the future health of the retail and consumer products industries depends largely on the creation of new retail execution programs that provide timely, accurate, efficient, and disciplined implementation of category plans and new product introductions.


NARMS thanks its Board Members for their dedicated guidance and participation in this study.

Pat Blackwell
A.I.M. Field Service
Jim Hall
Advanced Retail Merchandising
Alex Yakulis
CROSSMARK Sales & Marketing
Lori Sakorafis
Kelly Merchandising Resources
Leslie Gorman
Merchandising Specialists
Ralph Bartolotta
Gage Merchandising Services (PIMMS)
Vincent N. Willis
Storecast Merchandising Corporation
Chuck Belding
Team Management, Inc.
Brian Ferris
Total Merchandising Services
Gary Ebben
Executive Director - NARMS

NARMS would also like to thank the participating retailers for their cooperation in this important study. This study would not have been possible without their support. Additionally, the Association acknowledges Willard Bishop Consulting for their leadership on the project. The firm has been a leader in improving shelf planning and retail implementation. This experience and expertise is reflected in the study results.

The National Association for Retail Merchandising Services and its 190 member companies represent the Professional Merchandising Industry on a national basis. Its members perform well over $1 billion in merchandising services each year. The association promotes the benefits associated with professional merchandising organizations, and establishes industry standards for merchandising performance. Its membership includes: brand marketers/suppliers with "in-house" merchandising divisions, sales and marketing companies with merchandising companies or divisions, independent professional merchandising organizations, and fixture and assembly companies. NARMS members are the industry.

For more information, contact:
National Association for Retail Merchandising ServicesP.O. Box 906 Plover, WI 54467715-342-0948