Retail Merchandising Terminology


Retail Merchandising Terminology

As with most job fields, retail merchandising has its own set of terminology.

Common Retail Merchandising terms include…

  • Stock – Common term used to describe product or merchandise available for sale within a store.
  • Out of Stock, (“OOS”) – When an item is out of stock, it means there aren’t any left in the store for sale, or it could mean the shelf location is empty and needs to be filled.
  • Overstock – Also known as “Backstock”, overstock refers to a store’s excessive stock. This occurs when product cannot fit onto its designated shelf location due to it already being at capacity.
  • Shelf Tag – The item tag that lists all related item information, (IE: Item Price, SKU ID, UPC, shelf capacity, and more.).
  • Shelf Strip – A plastic strip placed in front of a shelf used to hold product tags.
  • Stock Keeping Unit, (“SKU”) - This is the Product identification code.
  • Universal Product Code, (“UPC”) – A 12-digit bar code used for retail packaging in the United States. This is used to track the merchandise.
  • Facing – The amount of shelf-space an item is given in a section or display.
  • Plan-O-Gram, (POG) - Also sometimes called a Modular, (MOD), this is a visual diagram / blueprint that indicates the exact placement of merchandise on shelves or displays.
  • Peg board – A board containing a pattern of small holes. “Pegs” go into these holes and product is displayed on the pegs. When product needs to hang as opposed to sit on a shelf, Peg boards make this possible.
  • Peg – Used for hanging products on. It’s usually a small circular pole tapered on one end that fits into a peg board.
  • Island Gondola – The most common type of fixture in stores, these structures hold shelving and/or peg boards so product can be displayed and sold. Island gondolas are usually two-sided.
  • Wall Gondola – Similar to an Island gondola except these are one sided and placed up against a wall.
  • End cap – A display containing product usually at the end of a store aisle. An end cap will be at one end or both ends of an island gondola. The sides of an end cap are called side wings.
  • Slat wall – A type of hanging system that shelves and/or pegs can hang off of in order to display items.
  • Display Shipper – A temporary sales floor or register/counter display commonly used to display seasonal or promotional items. These displays are usually made of corrugated cardboard.
  • Power Wing – A type of display / fixture that usually mounts to shelving within a store. It’s used to merchandise product for sale, usually promotional items.
  • 4-Way Fixture/Display – A free-standing display with shelves and/or peg boards on all four sides for product to be displayed on.
  • Wire / Dump Bin – Small / light-weight fixture used to hold items for sale. These are commonly used to promote impulse buying, usually found in the front of the stores.
  • Floor Stack / Table Display – Commonly used to promote promotional products , usually found in the front of the store. Product is “stacked” in an attractive way to grab your attention.
  • Clip Strip – Usually a vertical plastic or metal strip that contains clips or hooks for product to be displayed on, commonly used for cross-merchandising, (IE: A clip strip of cat treats hanging off of a shelf containing cat food).
  • Refrigeration Case – Used to display cold or frozen food items for sale. Some common types include Glass Door walk-In Coolers / Freezers, Coffin Cases - (stand-alone type cooler case), Deli & Meat Cases, etc. Product in these cases are usually stacked or shelved.
  • Instant Redeemable Coupon, ("IRC") – A coupon that a customer can use for an item instantly.
  • Point Of Purchase, ("POP") – Also known as Point Of Sale, (POS), this refers to the location in the store where purchase decisions are decided or made.
  • Point Of Purchase, ("POP") Materials - These are advertising materials such as signage, product stickers, IRCs, etc. that are used to highlight merchandise for sale by making the items more appealing or attractive. This is done to draw customers to the merchandise so they will hopfully buy it.
  • Private Label – Brands owned by a retailer or supplier, not a manufacturer, (IE: “Great Value Foods” is currently one of Walmart’s private labels).
  • Product Brand – Brands owned by the manufacturer, (IE: “Kellogg’s” is a product brand for multiple different food items).
  • High/Low Profile – A term commonly used to describe the height of a product section / set within a store, (IE: Low profile = section is short/ High profile = section is tall).
  • Direct Store Delivery, ("DSD") – Distribution centers are bypassed and companies deliver their product directly to the store locations via their in-house vendors.
  • Bossy Cart - A large heavy duty cart with shelves, commonly used for storing & transporting dairy items such as milk, or water.
  • U-Boat – A heavy duty steel framed cart used to move product / boxes quickly and easily through small passage ways such as store aisles.
  • Letter Of Agreement, ("LOA") – A document that confirms to a retailer that your company was given permission by that retailer’s corporate office to complete a particular job in their store.
  • Sell Sheet – A document containing information about a product or products, used to persuade a retailer to order the product(s) for their store(s).
  • Vendor (DSD) Item – A product supplied and stocked directly by a vendor. The stores hired “stockers” do not stock these items usually, but rather the manufacturer retail merchandisers come in and stock them.
  • Discontinued Item – A product that the manufacture has decided to stop producing, or that a store has decided to stop carrying. Both situations are commonly due to weak sales.
  • HBC – “Health and Beauty” section of a store, (IE: shampoo, body wash, etc.).

Retail Merchandising Terminology


Merchandising companies will more than likely have their own unique language when referencing every day common terms. However the terms these companies use will more than likely be very similar.

Common terms specifically used in brokerage companies may include…

  • Rep – Common term describing a retail merchandiser who works for a brokerage company. They are called “Reps” as they are always representing a client, retailer, or customer for their brokerage company - Also known as a merchandiser, RSM- (retail service merchandiser), or RCM- (retail coverage merchandiser).
  • Client Service – A retail merchandising related project that a brokerage company agrees to complete for their client - Also known as a client project.
  • Service Number – A unique number identifying a client service - Also known as Service ID, or Service code.
  • Call – A “Call” refers to a singular job assignment within a client service - Also known as Visit, or a Job.
    • (IE: Let’s say the client service consisted of visiting 10 Walmart's to cut-in a new item for that client. That client service would therefore contain 10 individual “calls”.)
  • Call ID – A unique number identifying a “call” - Also known as a Job ID or Job Code.
  • Visit Instructions, (“VI”) –A document detailing the specific objectives a retail merchandiser is expected to complete for a particular client service - Also known as visit details, service instructions/details, project instructions/details, or job instructions/details.
  • Question Tracker, (“QT”) – A document that lists specific questions a client would like the brokerage merchandiser to answer while completing their service - Also known as client questions or service questions.

Retail Merchandising Terminology

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