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Merchandising Best Practices: Compliance

Blog / October 18, 2021
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Effective P.O.P. display programs not only increase basket size and creatively solve the shoppers’ needs, they also help create urgency among shoppers. According to the 2015 A.R.E|POPAI 2015 Compliance Initiative Mass Merchant Study the highest rates of display execution compliance in were Bunkers, End Caps, PDQs, and Pallets. This suggests that larger and more visually prominent displays such as end caps may drive higher levels of compliance. While floor stands were only executed about a quarter of the time, dump bins and shippers had the lowest levels of compliance, making it onto the store floor less than 10% of the time. It should be noted that display compliance through the use of a broker was higher at 47% compared to store personnel (37%).

Effective program execution relies on successful delivery and setup of displays or packaging in the correct location and with the right products. Four elements will influence compliance—channel, communications within the project team, program type, and execution method. On the other hand, noncompliance is driven by people (inadequate and often unincentivized personnel), store (lack of additional surrounding support for the program and limited space), and program (complexity of the design prohibits full execution, poor visual appeal, lack of avail- able product, and no promotional collateral).

Reasons for Non-Compliance

  • Display
    • Lacks visual appeal to customers.
    • Display footprint does not fit store space.
    • Delivery was delayed or off-schedule.
    • Delivery arrived in pieces.
    • Display is not sturdy enough.
    • Time-consuming assembly:
    • Too many parts or missing setup instructions.
    • Not enough product with display:
    • To keep display looking good.
    • To keep the primary location stocked.
    • Hard for staff to stock/restock
  • People
    • No store-level incentives.
    • No consumer promotional collateral came with the display — e.g., coupons, tear sheets, signage.
    • Limited personnel time.
    • Not enough personnel were available to keep display and regular location properly stocked.
    • Reps were not available to assist in time for setup
  • Stores
    • Not enough space; competing priorities for space.
    • Not enough promotional support; Signage, Feature Ads, Coupons, Sampling or Samples
  • Promotion’s timing conflicts with: Store promotions., Seasonal store programs and themes., Seasonal promotion category priorities.


How Increase Display Compliance

  • Display
    • Emphasize clean and simple overall design including: Eye-catching visuals., Sturdy materials.
    • Ensure the right quantity of product for both display and home location.
    • Design appropriate display footprints for: Promotion scope, Likely store space. Multiple fixtures.
    • Prioritize on-time delivery. Deliver all components in the same shipment; ideally, packed together.
    • Ensure and communicate ease of assembly and setup. Include simple assembly instructions on the shipper.
  • People
    • Provide on-shipper information about store-level incentives.
    • Include consumer promotional details with the shipper.
    • Coordinate deliveries with both reps and the stores.
    • Facilitate communications between reps and stores to manage ongoing store priorities and personnel considerations
  • Stores
    • Provide ideas for acceptable alternatives to in-store placement that would help address space issues.
    • Provide information to the store about support beyond the display – e.g., feature ads, coupons.
    • Coordinate timing with the store around: Delivery schedules., Store and seasonal promotions, Complete store profiling.


A fast-emerging solution to this problem is using crowdsourced data from a huge number of stores to ensure display compliance and continuously monitor campaign success. The Vanguard Retail Assessment Tool simplifies the process of collecting retail data & photos and completing in-store evaluations by using real-time analytical tools. This data is helpful in determining compliance and calculating ROI.

Finally, keep in mind the following ten best practices to ensure maximum compliance:

  1. Design to target the right audience.
  2. Abide by branding guidelines.
  3. Follow specific retailer’s rules and expectations, along with their brand guidelines.
  4. Ensure ease of assembly and in-store set-up to maximize compliance.
  5. Make the display durable to support product, supply chain and retail environment.
  6. Ensure ease of restocking and ease of access.
  7. Value engineer to reduce production costs and increase recyclability.
  8. Realize one size program does not fit all. Modular structures allows for flexibility.
  9. Ensure on-time delivery to store and ease of display transport within store.
  10. Specify placement within the store or replacement during sell through.



Source: 2017 Shop! ROI Standards: In-Store Marketing Materials Standards Document,