The Three Best Methods to Measure Share of Shelf

Shelf space is a lot like the game of Monopoly. Do you have enough real estate? Is it Park Place and Boardwalk or Marvin Gardens? Is someone parked on your property? You need to know if you’re in the best position for maximum sales, if your product is stocked and whether you’re actually getting the share of shelf you deserve. There is no exact science for how to measure share of shelf but there are several methods that can be used within the SmartCall & MarketCheck applications and each has their own pros and cons:

Method 1 – Calculate The Facings

One of the most precise approaches is to measure the total SKUs on the shelf—yours and your competitors’—and divide by the number of yours. Of course, this takes time and may limit the other activities of sales reps. Chances are if you have a retailer who has been consistent with your agreement for shelf space you can use one of the less time-consuming methods.


Method 2 – Eyeballing The SKUs

This is the fastest way to gauge shelf space, but obviously, you can make mistakes. If you’re going to use the eyeball strategy, you need to make sure to use consistent increments—25, 50, 75 or 15, 30, 45 and so on.


Method 3 – Measure The Shelf

Get out your tape measure and figure out what percentage of the actual length of the shelf is taken by your products. This is the most time consuming but also the most accurate as it allows you to account for varying sizes of packaging. Again, whether you use this depends on how big a problem or priority shelf space is for you and whether it hinders other activities.


Whatever Method You Select To Measure Share of Shelf Be Consistent 

The important thing is to be consistent in how you measure so that you can track performance over time. The information you get from measuring share of shelf should also be used in determining shelf space profitability. How do various items perform relative to competitors and how does the share of shelf seem to impact that? Can you see any parallels between having a larger share, for example, which may communicate to shoppers that yours is the prominent brand? Or does having a smaller share of shelf imply exclusivity, which can also steer shopper behavior.

Obviously other considerations factor in: Are you in the best position for your product? Products at the end of the aisle might prompt more impulse buys but can also get passed over because of shopper congestion at the end of the aisle. Are you next to your biggest competitor or a couple competitors away? Are you high enough on the shelf for shoppers to see you or do they have to work to find your product and get it in their baskets?

It’s Not an Exact Science and It Does Not Have To Be

Measuring share of shelf is not an exact science but the more data you can gather, the more likely you are to make strategic decisions that will not only help you sell more product but shore up relationships with retailers who like to see products leave the shelves too.

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Bruce is the founder and CEO of RW3 Technologies. Having spent more than 35 years in the consumer goods and grocer space Bruce has experienced the industry disruption first hand and understands how artificial intelligence, POS data, and mobile technology can transform a good organization into a great one.

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