Merchandising Services Company Sample Success Stories and 23 Points of Excellence               


Success Story* Summaries

A.  Major Program Success - Drive Sales - All Facets

  • Sales Increase of 14.6% vs. Previous Down Year

  • $426,816 in Incremental Sales from 544 Rolling Rack Displays at NO ADDITIONAL COST

  • 34,397 Out Of Stocks Corrected In Two Months

  • Placed 1,573 Additional Fixtures In Photo. 

  • Kept 800 Pinwheel Fixtures In Place For 6 Months Beyond Store Guaranteed Promotion Period Due to In-Store Relationships

  • Store Manager Ordered 1,000 Units On The Spot, When Field Personnel Illustrated Need, Despite Policy That Automatic Replenishment was Retailer’s Main Method of Ordering

  • 454 Displays Still In Place One Year After Retailer Discontinued Program

  • Weekend Sales Push Results In Share Increase Of Three Share Points

  • 208 Sidecaps Placed Incremental of Modular Locations in Category Where Manufacturer Was Authorized By Retailer at Store Level Through Relationships

  • Buyer Agreed To Place 1,751 Permanent Secondary Displays After  Showed That Manufacturer Did Not Have All Promised Display Space


B.  Major Program Success - Penetrate and Grow, Custom Inventory Replenishment

  • Sales increased from $0 to $27 million in less than a year

  • Helped client earn distribution in five more categories

  • Warehouse sold out within 30 days, accessories selling at a 50% increase over the previous year

  • Results and trust built with “challenging” retail environment

  • Merchandiser’s reps trusted to place orders in the stores, resulting in nearly 100% of stores placing a weekly order. 

  • Merchandising problems decreased at same time as sales expanded rapidly

  • Custom inventory replenishment system made all this possible

  • Distribution up from 240 to 290 stores due to expansion


C.  17% increase in sales over the past 4 weeks...
  • “Compliance on Holiday displays has been outstanding. This is the best I have seen in my 5 years on the team.  Wave 2 is 18 percent ahead of last year at this time.” 

  • No doubt this compliance is responsible for the 17% increase in sales over the past 4 weeks.
    Congratulations to … and the  merchandising team!”

  • We really appreciate your support and partnership!”

  • … thanks to your team and the folks at  for another stellar year!”

  • …as I told you before,   results in WM is best in class!”  


D.  Number One Selling Product in Wal*Mart for Our Manufacturer in December, 2007

  • “…terrific job by the entire  organization … - your results were a critical enabler … and made a big difference in driving  our performance.”

  • “For the first time, we are actually growing sales faster than [our #1 Competitor] …  In the latest month, we have finally a higher share than [our #1 Competitor] in total [product]!!”

  • the six weeks ending in December [one major product] total unit sales +40.8% vs. same event 2006

  • 89% of all stores reported [New Product] on shelf. 19% improvement vs. October.

Details NoOneSelleratWalMartv3.pdf

E.  Secondary Displays Drive Sales and Market Share

  • Displayer promotion during holiday season notorious for being difficult to maintain compliance and floor space
  • 98.75% compliance rate of displayer promotion within two days of arrival
  • Compliance rate remained above 80% for six weeks as sell-off increased
  • Promotional stores outperformed their share of the chain by 7% for Christmas music
  • Key selling locations and duration credited for success of promotion

Details  DisplayerCompliance.pdf

F.  Aggressive Selling, Increase Sales Through Store Relationships

  • Sales Increase by over $1 million dollars per year

  • Sales Increase averaging 100 pallets per month

  • Worked Around Low Inventory Buying Decisions

  • Made it Easy for Store Managers to Order Product

Details  AggressiveSellingPalletManualOrders.pdf

G.  Promotion Coordination, Secondary Displays Increase Market Share and Sales:

  •  conducted a temporary promotion blitz across an entire chain of stores

  • Nielsen share increased from 59.9% to 62.3% for the customer, the first share increase in three years

  • Sales increased by 3% as a result of the promotion

Details PromotionCoordination2ndbatterydisplays.pdf

H.  Secondary Displays Drive Sales and Market Share

  • 17,150 total displays were blitzed with temporary promotion
  • All 1,450 stores were serviced for the promotion
  • Market share increased from 59.9% to 62.3% for the customer, the first share increase in three years (2.4% increase)
  • Sales increased by 3% as a result of the promotion

Details SecondaryDisplays.pdf

I.  New Item Speed to Shelf

  • Over 1,100 stores have “Super Tuesday” merchandising blitz
  • Compliance rate of almost 100% reached in last six months
  • Surveying and reporting done each week to explain any deviations in execution across the chain
  • Successful weekly new release execution due to diligence and superior merchandising skills

Details NewProductLaunchesMusic.pdf

J.  How to Get 90%+ of Secondary Display Space...

  • Aggressive Selling – Tips from Merchandisers That Really Know What They Are Doing!

·         Notice That 90% of This 4-Way Christmas Display is Devoted to ' Manufacturer - Only 10% to The Next Largest Competitor

Details AggressiveSellingTipsFromBest.pdf  

K.  Outsourcing an In-House Merchandising Team:  Success Story* #1

  • Phase 1 Cost Savings of $1,700,000 Savings Per Year (Approx.)
  • Reduced Average Hourly Cost (including overhead) from $38 per hour to $26 per hour for 76 people.
  • RIGHT FIELD MERCHANDISER IN RIGHT PLACE, WHEN NEEDED:  Increased Store Visits by 25% for Same Budget Dollars (Approx.)
  • BIG BENEFITS FROM LONG TERM PROGRAM:  Manufacturer Was Acquired, but Director of Retail Merchandising Continued Running Program for Acquirer, Continuously Improving Results Over the Years.  See additional success stories for same program:
  • Comprehensive Training Makes The Difference.
  • Ultimately Reduced Full Time Staff by 50%.

Details OutsourcingInHouseMerchTeam1.pdf

L.  Outsourcing an In-House Merchandising Team:  Success Story* #2

  • Cost Savings of $7,000,000+ Per Year (Approx.)**
  • $38.5 Million Sales Increase Per Year from 5.5% Market Share Gain (Taken from #1 Competitor! – Approx.**)
  • New Product Cut-In Rate Raised from 70% to 99%+
  • Fixed Costs Moved to Variable Costs, Shared With Other Manufacturers
  • 65% Full Time / 35% Part Time Work Force Changed to 30% Full Time / 70% Part Time

Details OutsourcingInHouseMerchTeam2.pdf

Outsourcing Cost / Benefit Analysis Sample  OutsourcingCostBeneftAnalysisSample.pdf

Outsourcing Quality and Financial Impact Study Example:  (Document link removed, no longer essential)

M.  Outsourcing Cost Savings – Where to Look
  • “How We Found $7 Million In Annual Savings”

  • Follow Up to Previous Outsourcing Success Story:  Outsourcing an In-House Merchandising Team:  Success Story* #2  OutsourcingInHouseMerchTeam2.pdf

  • Internal Cost Estimates Often Do Not Include Everything

Details OutsourcingCostSavingsWhereToLook.pdf




23 Points of Excellence:  How Our Customers Drive Sales




Extra Efforts to Sell While In Store

AggressiveSellingTipsFromBest.pdf  (tips from one our best field people)

AggressiveSellingPalletManualOrders.pdf (Nascar pallet promotion, field people sell 100 pallets+ per month extra, overcoming low inventory decisions by retailer's buyer by making it easy for store managers to place orders)

MajorProgramSuccessGeneric.pdf (see page 5 - 1,000 units ordered on the spot)

Save the pinwheels contest:  (see pages 2,3,4)   (Document link removed, no longer essential)  WMServiceObjectivesGuide.pdf

Pre-selling store managers on what is coming, possibly close a store specific order for a display

Over-staffing slightly on sales assistance to ensure all possible sales accomplished (technique used when paid on commission - see AMS successes)



Out Of Stock Reduction

MajorProgramSuccessGeneric.pdf (34,397 Out Of Stocks Corrected In Two Months)

HomeDepotOOSAuditSample.pdf  (Out of Stock Report for Use With Retailer Buyer) 

Automated Out of Stock reduction system by dispatching reps to stores where POS data shows no sales (zero scans, e.g. Retail Link)


Promotion Compliance

HolidayCompliance17PerIncrSalesv2.pdf (compliance with Holiday display promotion)

DisplayerCompliance.pdf (secondary display compliance)

Advanced systems concept:  Requiring reps to input stock levels on both in-line and all secondary displays, to verify stocking done correctly


Planogram Compliance

ONSHELFORDEREDDUSTEDSAMPLE.pdf  (12+ points of planogram compliance) 


New Item Speed to Shelf

NewProductLaunchesMusic.pdf (near 100% compliance on weekly new item cut in)

Carol to send additional report


Price Surveys



Fixture Surveys


A further application of fixture surveys is full mapping of retail stores - probably applies to retailer only



Training / Project Guides / Work Instructions Communicated to Field People

See also - Certification process

(Document link removed, no longer essential)  WMServiceObjectivesGuide.pdf (project objectives)  


Plan, Prepare, Coordinate Well In Advance

Master Core Process Flow 1 of 2, HBC example.  Shows all that must be done before a product ships to a store:

Master Core Process Flow 2 of 2, HBC example.  Shows all that is typically done from time product is received at store to product sold and manufacturer gets paid:

23 Points of Excellence Process Flow.  Shows all the things that can be done to improve the process.

Work Process Flow Timeline:  Internal process flow for REPs to authorize and execute work:  WorkOrderProcessFlowChartv2.pdf



Fulfillment / Shipping / Everything In The Store When Field Person Arrives For Work:


POP Materials

Fixtures:  If not 


Store Specific Order Concept:  Online form that allows field reps to place expedited order for fixture, display, POP materials, product needed in-store  (field personnel submit from their computers):  CustomOrderReplenishmentFormSample.pdf  


10.2 Scheduling / Routing


Special systems to manage need for reps to be at specific stores at specific times, overtime, weekends, etc.

Scheduling, Examples (in PowerPoint) (Document link removed, no longer essential)  ScheduleOtherTools.pdf

Mapping / routing / scheduling software to minimize drive time and fuel cost - optimize work time

 self-selection, self scheduling of work:  Great idea, but looks like it will not work


10.3 Communications / Instructions to Field: 

Reduce to Standard Set of Communications Vehicles - Not Just Talk. Includes
- Release of work orders / directions / priorities to the field
- Schedule final approval
- Final approval for handling exceptions / issues in field
- Field staff hire, fire, discipline, assignment decisions
- Field performance standards / job descriptions
- Field performance evaluations
- Rep Hours Over / Under Capacity Forecast by Territory



Store Manager Relationships:

Able to get displays sold in and kept on floor  (Document link removed, no longer essential)  WMServiceObjectivesGuide.pdf (see pages 2,3,4) 

Able to get store managers to place orders  AggressiveSellingPalletManualOrders.pdf (field sells in 100 pallets+ per month - plus additional examples above)

Store keeps display stocked and presentable in absence of field person

Correct root causes of e.g. Out Of Stocks


Reporting on In Store Work

System for customers to review reports, check completion status, store lists, project guides, etc.  (I360): 

- Most relevant items are under My Services section

- Navigate to individual projects in upper left corner

- Click the U.S. map to show red, green, yellow completion dots

- Note that you can zoom in on map to view cities with multiple stores

- Click on Survey Analysis link in center/bottom of screen to view Pie Charts answering survey questions

- In Survey Status section, click on Completed or No Survey Yet to drill down to specific questions / answers / store status

- In Custom Reports section, click on [customer name survey data] to view custom reports and Excel spreadsheet of all survey data

- See Project Pictures section for available pictures

Answers to survey questions (in PowerPoint)  SampleReportsUSMapOther.pdf  

Option to automatically email reports when completed, at end of day, end of performance period.  (Useful, but not critical)


Field Personnel:  Selection, Training, Deployment, Motivation, Care & Feeding:

Full Time to Part Time Ratio MenuofServicesPricingOptions.pdf (1 full time for 10 part time field personnel - password required)

Recruiting:  Quality of people HolidayCompliance17PerIncrSalesv2.pdf (client comments)

In right place at right time OutsourcingInHouseMerchTeam2.pdf  (see graph showing peaks and valleys)

Certification that reps have taken training

Example of motivating program:  One - Two Month Focus on Five SKUs Only:  "When you leave the store, these must be perfect!"

Recruiting efforts needed for special circumstances:  Weekends, night work, lifting over 25 pounds, special skills, tools, etc.

Recruiting systems to streamline application and screening process (e.g. on-line applications, database of reps that records work history, quality of work, disciplinary actions, drug screen, criminal check, special skills, region willing to travel, work willing to do / not do)

Recruiting standards clear, enforced.  e.g. drug test, criminal check, skills test

Methods to Attract, Develop, Retain Good Field People:  Includes training (formal and OJT), tools / methods / procedures to continuously make people better, hiring standards, performance standards, promotions / rewards / penalties / discipline, tools to allow reps maximum scheduling flexibility, tools to track quality of work and reward good reps with e.g. lower travel, more hours, better stores, incentives, etc.

Special need for HR / Legal Compliance:  e.g.  Tools to limit total hours scheduled for employees of particular classes

Travel and Expense authorization and payment system:  Effective, streamlined, contains costs without undue frustration and time waste


Continuity Program Over Time – Strong Correlation to Sales Increase

MajorProgramSuccessGeneric.pdf  (page two - extra spending for peak promotion period)

Chart showing increase in hours correlation to increase in sales (note line with square dots, lower right corner of graph)  NoOneSelleratWalMartv3.pdf


Weekend Service (to Prevent Out of Stocks)



Rigorous Analysis:

Spend money where volume justifies, get results, with STORE-SPECIFIC data - see chart showing increase in hours correlation to increase in sales (note line with square dots, lower right corner of graph)  NoOneSelleratWalMartv3.pdf .  SEE ADDITIONAL SUCCESS STORIES FOR DATA DRIVEN MERCHANDISING:  DataDrivenSuccessStories.htm

See example of top selling Wal*Mart Stores:  WMTopStoresSalesGainSampleReport.pdf

Look for clear link between sales and field merchandising activities – what products respond to effective merchandising vs. e.g. trade promo funds?

Best Practice we are aware of require between a 1.2 to 1 and 2 to 1 minimum payback.

Root cause analysis, especially on Out of Stocks, Promotion Compliance, Planogram Compliance:  See reports and items above

e.g.  Out Of Stocks:  Lack of personnel in store, lack of labels on shelf, on-hand inventory counts too high - no order placed, planogram set wrong - no place for product

e.g.  Promotion Compliance:  Lack of personnel in store, too much competition for floor space, stores going to "clean floor" policy, stock not used for planogram / promotion - used as open stock, store chooses not to accept headquarter direction / promotion

e.g.  Planogram Compliance:  Planogram set wrong - no place for product, planogram encroached by competition, labels not set correctly, store chooses not to comply

Ongoing Objective Cost / Benefit / Alternatives

Clear understanding of all costs to provide desired capabilities, clear link between costs and value received.  See examples of Price Menu, Statement of Work and Costing all connected by service codes

Time capture system for all involved, especially overhead personnel, to arrive at full cost of activities, tasks, work completed


May be worth hiring specialist / outsider / merchandising services person / category expert to do the analysis


Manufacturer Accountable for Performing As Promised:  See timeline above

Standing meeting schedule pre-event, adhered to

Training materials distributed on time - Sample Timeline?

Product on hand

Survey questions effective, relevant, accurate.  (Cautions on clarity, multiple choice, conditional, allowing revisions later, etc.)

Test projects conducted to validate time allocated vs. results

Project directions on time, effective

Fixture, Display, POP lead times adequate, delivered on time


Retailer Accountable for Performing As Promised:

Arming our manufacturers to help balance our retailer's power:  See reports abovefor help

  • Retailer buyers are occasionally asserting themselves and trying to either control who does merchandising work or "confiscate" the funds being spent on merchandising.  See reports above for help.  PICTURES AND SURVEY DATA ARE PARTICULARLY HELPFUL IN SHOWING THE RETAILER THE TRUE STATE OF THINGS AND WHY MERCHANDISING IS NEEDED.

Planogram compliance  See reports above for help

Promotion compliance  See reports above for help

Out Of Stock prevention  See reports above for help

New Item speed to shelf  See reports above for help


Merchandising Service Company Accountable for Performing As Promised:

Completion of tasks on time See reports above

Quality of work See reports above

"Go-Backs" Report:  Need to know when went back to stores and reasons

Training See reports above

Sharing costs between manufacturers  See reports on shared coverage???

Service issue resolution:  System for customers to review reports, check completion status, store lists, project guides, etc. 

SampleReportsUSMapOther.pdf (PowerPoint of all customer web site functions)  

(Document link removed, no longer essential)  ScheduleOtherTools.pdf Scheduling, Service Examples)

 (other tools to service customer)  ToolsWeUse.pdf

Service Issue Resolution:  Need mechanisms to handle all cases.  MUST HAVE "TROUBLE TICKET" TRACKING SYSTEM TO ENSURE RESOLVED AND MEASURE RESULTS:

Case 1. Uncompleted calls, within merchandising service company control

Case 2. Uncompleted calls, beyond merchandising service company control

Case 3. Work reported as done incorrectly, was actually done correctly

Case 4. Work actually not done correctly

Case 5. Request for service in-store that was not covered by project instructions 


System for communicating service issues to reps and supervisors in the field, plus ensuring issues are resolved:  (e.g. cell phone, text message, handhelds, email on home computer, etc.)



Picking the Right Product and Inventory Mix For Each Store

TravelConvenienceCenterSuccessv1.pdf (sample showing sales increases)

INSTORECHECKLISTEXAMPLE.pdf  (sample of check-off process with store manager)


Picking the Right Mix of Merchandising Services – Best Bang for Buck

MajorProgramSuccessGeneric.pdf  (see client quote, page 2)

Focus only on top 1% to 2% of skus at highest volume retailers - test pending


Custom Order Taking and Inventory Replenishment Systems, especially when:

Sample custom order replenishment order forms (field personnel submit from their computers): CustomOrderReplenishmentFormSample.pdf  

Retailer reordering system difficulties and solutions TravelConvenienceCenterSuccessv1.pdf (got to 100% of stores entering order every week vs. previous 800 number call system that was not working well enough.)

Order Form / Checklist to make sure POS data collected (informally with store manager), all work completed including check-off process with store manager:  INSTORECHECKLISTEXAMPLE.pdf 



Scanning, Returns, Special Inventory Handling 

PowerPoint showing special services provided for dvd / video customers:    (Inventory scanning, returns) (Document link removed, no longer essential) OutofStockScanningInventoryReturnsShopKo.pdf


23.1 Miscellaneous:

Helping Senior Management Understand the Value of Merchandising

Ride-alongs for executives

Pictures of Out Of Stocks, Promotion Non-Compliance, New Products not on shelves, especially during peak seasons and promotions

Analysis - sales lift from merchandising vs. sales lift from trade fund spending

Audits of broker performance

Test projects

Build funds into next year's budget

23.2 Miscellaneous:

Construction Related / Heavy Work / Unusual Situations

Ability to manage complex project plans / task lists / punch lists and see that complex work is completed correctly and on time

Ability to plan and route teams of skilled people in geographic areas

Effective status reporting - Gantt Chart style - on progress of complex work

People and systems capable of working according to planograms, blue prints, other technical specifications

23.3 Miscellaneous:

IT Ability to Respond, Adapt, Customize

Able to cost-effectively adapt and customize for new work and opportunities. If do not have internal capacity, vendor must have the capacity and the commitment to provide needed customization. In case of major modifications, must show how source code will be modified and maintained. Must show business analyst capability to define requirements, use cases, programming specifications and test data. Must show ability to conduct acceptance testing and have payment tied to successful test

IT Systems:  Easy and effective to request and authorize work.  Includes ROI hurdles, evaluation and measurement of results, effectiveness of work

23.4 Miscellaneous:

Monthly or weekly planning cycle discipline may be helpful or necessary in some situations

23.5 Miscellaneous:

Job Definitions, Performance Measures and Performance Evaluations, Effective and Used for All Roles

23.6 Miscellaneous:

Call Centers / Help Desk:  Able to address the following, as applicable: 

Service 1:  Prior to field person arrival, call store manager to pre-sell, let them know reps are coming. Generally not effective – hard to get right person on the phone.  Better to do in person

Service 2:  Prior to field person arrival, call to verify store has received product, display, materials, etc.  Generally not effective – hard to get right person on the phone.  Better to do in person

Service 3:  Hotline Support -  Help field personnel resolve service issues, track problem ticket until resolved

Service 4:  Quality Assurance -  Call a sample of stores to confirm work completion and quality.  Generally not effective – Data accumulated is suspect, Better to do in person

Service 5:  Store Compliance -  Call stores to follow up on work stores are supposed to do.  Questionable, but possible to use to help rebalance power with retailers by making trade promo funds contingent on retailer doing what they promise to do


23.7 Miscellaneous:

-       Separate, standalone organization, reporting to CEO, may be necessary

23.8 Miscellaneous:

Continuous Improvement of the Core Work Process:
- Plan Work
- Assign Stores
- Assign reps
- Transmit Work to rep
- Rep Does Work
- Rep Reports Work
- Report Work to Customer
- Get Paid

23.9 Miscellaneous: 

Workload Management / Optimizing / Making Sure Right Rep In Right Place, Cost Effectively, When You Need Them:

Rep Hours Over / Under Capacity Forecast by Territory

23.10 Miscellaneous:

Bundling of calls with non-competing manufacturers to make more affordable

COOP Concept:  Multiple non-competing manufacturers make multi-year contractual agreements to a COOP to share costs and control results

23.11 Miscellaneous:

Store List Management Tools:  Can become important and troublesome if stores requiring service change frequently


* Please Note:  Percentages and dollars are approximations of estimated benefits for illustration purposes only.  Each client situation is unique and this is not intended as a guarantee of a specific outcome.  Company names, names of individuals, financial and other details may have been changed in order to protect client confidentiality.  Please contact us for details and a client contact for verification prior to making a decision based on success story information.  For more information, contact Tom Ingram at 972-394-5736 or