• Joanne Neidorf

Results From Our Survey: Activity Frequency

Merchant Insight Consulting conducted an online survey asking retail professionals worldwide how frequently they meet with others in their organization as well as how often they visit stores, view websites, meet with vendors, etc. For survey highlights on cross-functional meeting frequency, see our blog post from January 12, 2018.

The survey captured forty-two responses from people representing more than thirteen different functions, with Merchandise Planning, Merchandising/Buying/Category Management and Product Development & Sourcing making up 50% of the respondent pool.

We asked the respondents to indicate how often they met with their direct reports, their manager, senior leadership within their own function and cross-functional leadership. We used a 0-5 scale, with 0 = Never and 5 = More than once a week, with an N/A option if the role (e.g., "direct reports") doesn't exist.

Not surprisingly, the frequency of meeting is highest for direct reports, with an average between weekly and more than once a week Meetings with managers also take place between weekly to more than once a week.

Meetings with senior leadership within the respondent's own function average between monthly and weekly. And interaction with cross-functional leadership is not significantly lower than this.

The high level of senior and cross-functional leadership interaction may be due to the seniority level of our survey respondents. 67% report they are currently a senior manager or above, vs. 12% who describe themselves as "individual contributors" with no direct reports and 21% who are managers.

Next we asked about the frequency of various activities. These included:

  • Visiting your own stores

  • Viewing your own website

  • Visiting your Distribution Center(s)

  • Visiting your competitors' stores

  • Viewing your competitors' websites

  • Meeting with top vendors

  • Meeting with other vendors

  • Meeting with new vendors

On average, respondents visit their own and their competitors' websites somewhere between weekly and monthly. When we drill down further into these two activities, we see that 67% view their own websites and 40% view their competitors' websites either weekly or more than once a week.

Given this is a relatively quick and easy activity, the only surprise is that these percentages are not closer to 100% across all respondents.

Store visits - whether to their own stores or their competitors - are done somewhat less than monthly on average.

Meeting with top vendors is reported seasonally/quarterly on average and visits to Distribution Center(s) appears to happen slightly more than once a year when averaged across all respondents.

Finally, meeting with new and "other" (non-top) vendors takes place about once a year on average.

Key Takeaway:

Website visits, followed by store visits are reported on a reasonably regular basis, but increasing the frequency - particularly for website visits - is an easy way for people throughout the organization to stay connected with customers and the marketplace.

What Can You Do With This Information?

How do your own activities compare with these averages? Are you doing any of these more - or less - than your peers?


Which activities do you think you should increase the frequency on?

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These are just a few of the insights from our survey. To request a copy of the full survey report, please contact us at info@merchant-insight.com

Improving cross-functional understanding and collaboration is an important element of Merchant Academy, a unique online training and development product designed to increase the effectiveness of retail Merchants and Merchandise Planners.

For more information, please email us at info@merchant-insight.com

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