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Retail Spark – Home Bargains

The Challenge

Our client, Retail Spark, supplies Home Bargains with a selection of newspapers and magazines on a weekly basis. They needed a partner to help reconcile 4 weekly unsold magazine amounts in a total of 280 stores nationally

In-store visits would need to be conducted monthly, with various in-store specifics checked with managers. These stock audits would enable Retail Spark to credit each store with accurate returns figures. Whilst our staff are in-store the magazine stand was to be checked. If it wasn’t to planogram, it was to be re-merchandised as close to planogram as possible. Supporting photographic evidence was to be captured as proof of compliance for each store.

The Approach

  • One of our CFM account managers selected the most suitable merchandiser in each area to complete the visits, putting together call files of up to 20 – 25 stores per merchandiser which had to be completed within the given two-day time frame.
  • Stores were briefed to prepare prior to our visits by tearing off the front covers of each unsold, out of date magazine each week and then to store these away in an agreed place ready for our merchandiser’s visit.
  • Merchandisers were given operational guides to leave in-store. This would remind store staff of the correct procedure along with customer service numbers for our client.
  • Merchandisers also had a comprehensive list of titles and dates to ensure the correct weeks were included in each count. Additionally, they were given a planogram of how the display stand must look on exit. This was also available for stores on their intranet system.
  • CFM’s reporting system was set up to record magazine title amounts by store, along with supporting photographs, store contacts etc.
  • Magazine titles were to be sorted into unique piles and counted. Some titles had one issue for each week of the month. Each issue of each title was to be counted and reported in our app.
  • Counted covers were to be destroyed by being torn completely in half, and disposed of through the store’s recycling.
  • CFM, as usual, would handle any in-store issues our field marketing staff had.
  • Additional titles found were reported in the notes section
  • Data was to be collated by CFM before being sent to Retail Spark Connect for their intended use.

The Result

After 5 months, our client added 208 more stores to our call file, bringing the total monthly visits to 488.

For the first visit of all new stores, our staff conducted an introductory visit, where they explained the process to managers and staff. This was to build relations, ensure the store had contacts for our client, and support the stores with the initial merchandising of the magazine stand.

We received excellent feedback from store managers whom we called about the welcome visits. Managers felt the visits were helpful as they provided great knowledge to store staff. The welcome visits ensured stores would have everything prepared for their first round of audit visits.

Our client managed to increase store compliance much quicker with the assistance of a national scale auditing campaign. As a result, this activity also reduced their losses on false return counts. Therefore freeing up time, effort and money for other important business processes.


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