Measuring Availability - The ECR UK Availability Survey
Recognising that the issues of product availability are alike for both small and large companies, the ECR UK On-Shelf Availability Survey was established in 2004 to provide a benchmark of availability across the industry.
Covering 200 stores across Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, The Co-operative Group and Waitrose, the survey measures the on-shelf availability of 200 branded and private label lines which represent an average family shopping trip.
Audits take place six times a year (February, April, June, August, October and December) and provide a view of how availability differs by day of the week, time of the day and geographical region – thus reflecting differences within the full trading period and area.
The audits are completed by a team of trained auditors who are asked to behave as shoppers, looking for products in their main fixture location as opposed to searching the store for the product concerned. They record if a product is on sale and, where it is unavailable, whether or not there is a shelf edge label (SEL). Neither the retailers’ head office nor individual stores are aware of which store will be surveyed in any given audit.
The survey results are published the week following the audits via a dedicated website with various drill-downs and downloads available depending on personal access rights.
The ECR survey is a cross-retailer survey which has the necessary checks and balances (primarily ranging data) to ensure that it does not under- or over-report availability.