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How Can You Measure In-Store Shelf Health?

Shelf health can have a big impact on your in-store sales. Understanding your share of shelf, display condition, and much more is extremely important, but it’s also difficult to keep track of within all stores nationwide. Luckily, smartphone-enabled shoppers are the key to understanding in-store conditions before they have a negative impact on your sales and revenue.

Having access to smartphone-enabled shoppers is one thing, but to gather the most beneficial information about your current shelf health conditions, you have to understand which questions to ask. Gathering the best data in the least amount of questions is the key to success when it comes to retail audits. But which questions will guide you toward understanding your shelf health conditions nationwide?

1. Photo Questions

The first, and most commonly used, question type is photo questions. Photo questions can give you a look into stores nationwide. You can view where your products are on the shelf, how many are available, the condition of your products on the shelf, understand out-of-stock issues, and so much more. When it comes to shelf health, being able to look into each store without leaving your desk is a big win.

You can gather hundreds or even thousands of photos in each survey that will give you a good understanding of your overall shelf health. Looking through photos to understand shelf health isn’t the only option, however. There are so many question types that can help you gauge your in-store shelf conditions quickly and easily.

Kroger shelf

2. Brand Noticed First

An interesting question to ask consumers is which brand they notice first on the shelf. This is a good indicator of shelf health because the brand they notice first is typically located in the most ideal spot on the shelf and may be an indicator of which products are in good condition or have a larger share of shelf.

In addition to shelf health information, this question can also provide you with valuable insights into your standing among the competition. Over time, you can track changes in brand popularity in comparison to in-store changes, product rebranding, product releases, and more. Combining this question with “Where is your product located” can give you additional shelf health insights that can’t be replicated.

3. Where is your Product Located

A leading indicator of shelf health is the location of your products on the shelf. Sometimes you’ll find that products aren’t where—or in as many spaces—as you expect. Asking consumers where they find your products on the shelf can help you better understand your current shelf health status. Consumers can quickly tell you where they’re seeing your products in different sections of the store.

This question is a great overall indication of shelf health because it can be shown in your dataset as a heat map. You’ll see where your products are found most and least often based on a nine-section grid. Having a visual representation of a large number of stores’ product placement nationwide will direct you toward understanding your shelf health and product placement. In comparison to your overall sales, this can also help you understand how your product location impacts sales and revenue.

Lowes Shelf

4. Number of Facings

An easy question to ask smartphone-enabled shoppers is how many facings are currently available in-store. If you’re expecting 12 but there are only three, that would be a good indication of poor shelf health. A simple question like the number of facings can give you valuable information in one quick and simple question.

Understanding shelf health can be as simple as ensuring all of the products you expect in-store are truly there. From there, you can use a mix of shelf-health-related questions to understand what can be done to improve upon your current shelf health condition or make sure it stays up to par.

5. Brand Perception Questions

Brand perception is often loosely tied with shelf health conditions. Brands with more recognition and positive overall brand perception are often placed in better locations on the shelf. Asking consumers their perception of your brand can indicate if your products are well represented in-store as well as through your marketing efforts.

To fully understand shelf health, we’d recommend pairing this question with one or more of the preceding shelf health questions. Brand perception is a powerful metric and can help you make important decisions. You can follow how these changes impact your brand perception and shelf health conditions over time by running more surveys at later dates.

Closing Thoughts

These aren’t the only questions you can use to understand shelf health, either. From UPC scans to additional sentiment-based questions, the possibilities are endless. Using all of these question types or mixing and matching based on the information you need most will give you the most beneficial insights without an overload of unnecessary information.

Carissa Loria

Carissa is the Marketing Associate at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions. She holds a BS in Marketing from the University of Rhode Island.

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