What's A Merchandiser and Why Do They Matter For Your CPG Business?

Guest Post: The OTHRsource Team

What is a merchandiser? 

A merchandiser supports the sales and marketing of a brand’s products at retail locations. 

Some major responsibilities include ensuring: 

  • Products are stocked, placed in the right spot, and priced correctly 
  • Inventory is rotated (to avoid date-out and costly chargebacks) 
  • Coupons are on the product or at the shelf 
  • Store management is educated on the brand
  • Displays are set up 
  • Brands are aware of resets and their SKUs are optimized 

$100B+ in sales is lost every year due to products being out of stock. 

That sounds like some my distributor or broker should be doing, no? 

Here’s why your distributor doesn’t do this...

Given that they are often carrying thousands of products, there’s less focus on what happens to your brand once it gets to the shelf. They often don’t have the resources and, in some cases, incentives simply aren’t aligned. For example, distributors will charge you back for products that expire, typically at a higher-rate than they paid for them, so it’s profitable to do so. 

Here’s why your broker doesn’t do this...

They don’t have enough people to handle store-level visits on a consistent basis. Without boots on the ground, you’re not getting granular data around how your products are being stocked, shelved, and priced that’s critical to decision making.  

How often should you be merchandising and why?  

In a perfect world, you would merchandise weekly since shelf conditions change rapidly. Brands that do see up to a 45% increase in sales, on average. 

OTHRSource realizes that resources aren’t unlimited and has a tool that will display potential ROI differences when you merchandise more vs less frequently. 

As an emerging brand, what should you be asking when you interview merchandisers? 

What's the impact of Instacart and COVID on merchandising?

The growth of “hired shoppers” through Instacart coupled with an overall increase in demand for consumer packaged goods has meant more out of stocks. Since these hired shoppers are optimizing for speed, we’ve seen a couple of interesting externalities:  

  • They rarely ask if a missing product is in the back like you might when shopping for yourself. 
  • They rummage to find products and leave the rest of the shelf in a mess.  

The good news is… volumes are up.  

The bad news is... more frequent merchandising is needed to account for the online order filling wreckage.  

How can you get the most out of your merchandiser? 

Don’t view merchandisers simply as auditors. They are your in-store data team. 

This is something the biggest CPG companies get and needs to be a focus for emerging brands as well.  

Merchandisers have the potential to gather very critical data, sell-in new products, handle resets, and get you set up in a retailer’s POS.  If you only use them to tell you what’s on the shelf, you are missing the opportunity to increase ROI.   

A little more about OTHRSource

OTHRSource started inside a rapidly growing CPG company. There wasn’t a solution to service their expanding in-store needs so they created one. 

They provide flexible merchandising solutions that drive velocity and allow emerging brands to win on the shelf.  

They have 5K+ highly trained, in-store helpers, nationwide, working across every retail channel, and have unlocked $100s of millions in additional velocity for brands.  

In 2020, they launched OTHRStore.com, a highly curated ecommerce platform and have plans to launch a highly curated digital influencer/audience network in 2021.  

Learn more today