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When our merchandising reps are hard at work in retail stores across North America, they come across what seems like hundreds of terms and acronyms. Think you know the ins and outs of retail merchandising? Check out our glossary of commonly used retail lingo below.

1. Action alley: The central aisle around the store where there is generally the most open space. Retailers prompt shoppers to make impulse purchases by positioning displays along this main thoroughfare. Also known as the racetrack.

2. Audit: A way to ensure compliance and performance of a merchandising display. Tasks of completing an audit include ensuring products are in the right place, the display is set to POG and correct labels/signage are used. Premium completes 985K+ audit visits per year.

3. Backstock: Inventory that is kept palletized in boxes in the back room until it is needed to replenish displays on the sales floor.

Clip strip in Walmart Health & Beauty aisle.

4. Clip strip: A retail product display, so named because it is a length of either plastic or metal with clips or hooks at regular intervals, upon which merchandise is hung. These can be found in the aisle, on an endcap or at the registers and is often an impulse purchase. It depends on the retailer for the rules.

5. CPG (Consumer-Packaged Goods): Merchandise that customers use and need to replace on a frequent basis. CPG examples include food, beverages, cosmetics and cleaning products.

6. Cut-in: Shifting or removing merchandise to make space on the retail shelf for new or promotional products. Cut-ins typically occur between major merchandising resets to introduce items more quickly. Also known as NPI (New Product Introduction) or EOL (Product End of Life).

7. DC (Distribution Center): Where products are stored prior to arriving at a retail store. The velocity of products moving through a distribution center is based on the sales volume occurring in the retail store. The more products people buy, the faster the store will need to replenish with additional inventory from the DC. Premium’s National Logistics and Distribution Center (NLDC) is 130K+ square feet. Last year, we shipped 470K packages to stores such as Best Buy and Walmart.

8. Display: A presentation of a store’s products used to attract and entice customers.

The Honest Company endcap in Walgreens.

9. Endcap: A display at the end of an aisle. Endcaps provide a competitive advantage for brands to call special attention to new or seasonal products, or to capitalize on impulse purchases from customers who would otherwise walk by. Premium builds endcaps in stores such as Walgreens and Walmart.

10. Facing: A way to describe how many “rows” or items should be front-facing on the shelf. This is the typical language used in a planogram. For example, a product may have 2 facings on the 2nd shelf up from the floor. It’s also the process of pulling products forward to be flush with the front of the shelf. Also known as blocking, zoning, straightening or fronting.

11. Fixture: Any piece of furniture or equipment that is fixed in position and displays or presents products. Fixtures are strategically arranged within the store to streamline the shopping experience and entice customers to buy.

12. Freestanding: A display that stands on its own in an aisle.

13. Gondolas: A freestanding fixture that consists of a flat base and a vertical component featuring notches or peg boards. Stores customize gondolas with shelves, hooks, or other display accessories.

14. Islander: An independent display positioned on the floor in a store’s main aisleway or racetrack. It generally has merchandise on all sides and features a distinct category of products. Premium ensures battery islanders near the registers are merchandised with multiple battery brands. Also known as a quad.

15. MOD (Modular): Different retailers utilize the term MOD in a variety of ways. MOD is yet another word for planogram (POG) and is sometimes used to refer to one 4-foot section of an aisle where a category of goods, like laundry detergent, is on display. For example, the laundry detergent is on MOD 4 in aisle 12.

16. MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price): The price that the manufacturer of the product believes the item should sell for in stores.

17. Mystery shopping: When a decoy shopper is sent into a retail store to evaluate the product merchandising or the customer experience. The mystery shopper behaves like a regular customer but then provides feedback to the store, the brand or the employee to help improve its performance.

18. OOS (Out of Stock): When a product sells out, it leaves an empty slot on the shelf. Premium’s Shared Services merchandising team ensures our clients’ products are not OOS by visiting more than 8,000 retail locations each week.

19. OSA (On-Shelf Availability): Walmart uses the acronym OSCA, meaning On-Shelf Customer Availability.

Cereal packed out in Walmart.

20. Pack out: The total number of packages of an item for the shelf to be at capacity or fully stocked. Packing out refers to the process of filling the store shelves with replenishment products from the store’s backroom supply. Premium packed out 1MM+ unique products in 2019.

21. Pallet: A wooden structure used to support goods while they’re being moved.

22. POG (Planogram): Visual diagrams that show merchandisers exactly where to place specific products on shelves within an aisle in order to maximize sales. Think of planograms as blueprints to follow as you build the assortment (a section of facings for several products). Also known as plan-o-grams or schematics.

23. POP (Point of Purchase): Promotional collateral or signage that is not part of the regular store but is placed next to the product it’s promoting. POP may call customer attention to a discounted price, new packaging, coupons or special offers. Also known as shelf talkers or IRCs (Instant Redeemable Coupons)

24. PSP (Preferred Service Provider): Premium is 1 of only 5 approved PSPs who are allowed to merchandise products in the world’s largest retailer, Walmart. We are also a preferred partner for Walgreens, Target, Best Buy and several others. To join our PSP team, click here. To learn more about what our PSP team does click here.

25. RSA (Retail Sales Associate) or RSP (Retail Salesperson): An employee who works directly for the brick-and-mortar retailer. At Premium, we work in tandem with store management on behalf of our clients. Last year, Premium trained 475K+ Retail Sales Associates.

Premium Retail Specialist with battery sidekick.

26. Sidekick: Refers to a display that requires little to no assembly in store. These displays are generally made from corrugated cardboard and are pre-packed when they arrive in stores. Different from POP, sidekicks contain merchandise within the display whereas POP is simply promotional collateral. Also known as shippers or PDQs (Predetermined Display Quantity).

27. SKU (Stock-Keeping Unit): A unique number (usually eight alphanumeric digits) assigned to an item by a retailer for the purpose of tracking and managing their inventory. The category of snack chips can easily have 40 SKUs, in various combinations of brands, sizes, and flavors. Pronounced ‘skew.’

28. Top stock: Additional inventory that is stored on top of store shelves for quick re-stocking to the products’ home location.

29. Top stock cart: Merchandisers often use utility carts to move products from the backroom and onto the store’s shelves. Also known as rocket cart.

30. UPC (Universal Product Code): SKUs and UPCs are commonly confused. The difference is that SKUs are unique to a single retailer whereas a UPC is placed on the product by the manufacturer and applies to that product no matter what store is selling it. If two stores are selling the same product, that item will have different SKUs, but the same UPC.

31. Quad: A display with four sides of merchandise.

32. Quantity on hand: This describes the physical inventory that a retailer has in possession at the store. Also known as on hand or OH for short.

Learn more about what Premium teams do.

Ready to apply? Search for retail merchandising jobs here.



As April comes to a close, the #PeopleofPremium have been answering to retail’s changing demands for seven weeks. We’ve encountered challenges never seen before. We’ve sacrificed and pivoted. Tireless efforts on the frontlines and behind the scenes. It’s been all-hands-on-deck at Premium. 

Seamless transitions.

  • IT worked around the clock to ensure our offices and employees could transition into 100% work from home operations in less than 72 hours. 
  • Numerous dedicated teams were sidelined as of March 22nd when Best Buy began offering contactless, curbside service. Just as quickly, team members temporarily transitioned into other areas experiencing increased demand to continue financially supporting their families. 
  • For the surge in new needs, nearly all of Client Services shifted its focus to support project initiatives in essential retail channels. Recruiting, Field Operations, and Training went into overdrive. Zone Leaders and Flex reps stepped into interim recruiting and onboarding roles to support new additions to the Premium team. 





Supporting our team members. 

  • The Operations Support Center, Field Management, Human Resources, and Communications stayed in constant contact with our employees, answering thousands of emails, messages, calls, and posts. 
  • We took conservative financial measures and temporary pay reductions to prevent layoffs and furloughs.
  • The NLDC team safely received protective gear (while socially distancing), and turned around shipments of 4,300 supply kits as fast as we think was humanly possible. It was less than a 24-hour turnaround from the time masks arrived, to the time shipments went out. Meanwhile, Karen Boyl, a member of the Walmart PSP team, and Linda Brown, a member of the Google team, went above and beyond sewing face coverings for Premium coworkers.  






Continued success.

  • We launched the Walgreens GO merchandising team on March 23rd. For the four peak weeks that followed, the team executed 8,000 hours per week. Our collective speed of response and tight collaboration with Walgreens is a significant Premium success story. 
  • At the same time, we stepped up for CVS, and have ramped up to 5,000 hours a week supporting multiple shifts through May. 
  • In April, we began aggressively fielding teams for Rite Aid’s distribution centers, supporting their flow of inventory and fulfillment of online orders. We also provided Rite Aid with 6,000 hours of in-store support, six days a week, across 25 regions. 
  • Walmart Wireless banded together to ensure 96% of the hours at our stores were covered. The team was laser-focused on health and safety while understanding shoppers’ urgent need for mobile connectivity. 






Reinventing ourselves outside of the store.

  • Samsung’s Home Entertainment team has virtually connected with thousands of Best Buy and warehouse club associates and customers across the US and Canada. 
  • Logitech’s online community of Blue Shirts have been enjoying an all-day Twitch gaming stream. The team has also stepped in to support customers in online retail, providing responses to thousands of unanswered product reviews and questions. 
  • Lenovo STARs made socially distanced visits to stores to drop off Stock the Breakroom care packages for our friends at Best Buy.   






This is not nearly an exhaustive list. Share your win using #PremiumHeroes. Thanks for all you do, and thanks for being Premium! 




At a time when shoppers demand corporate transparency and social responsibility from their favorite brands, Premium provides an answer to a commonly asked question: “What happens to old assets and fixtures when they’re removed from retail stores?”  

It’s a topic that comes up routinely during category resets, new product introductions, and store remodels or transformations. And it’s easy to underestimate the sheer volume and environmental impact of assets when they are dispersed in stores across the country. 

When a brand or retailer refreshes their displays or technology, Premium loves the opportunity to facilitate recycling or upcycling efforts. Our expertise in this area evolved organically from client requests to retire outdated assets. The idea of simply discarding the material to landfills left our team uncomfortable 

“We always try to be resourceful and responsible to our community – it’s just who we are.” – Craig Merrifield, Senior Director of Logistics 

Premium’s commitment to integrity and eclipsing expectations.

Generally, the same Premium team that initially installed the display returns to the store to remove it. Depending on the level of complexity, Premium’s Level 2 merchandising team is called in to assist. Premium reps collaborate with retail associates at each store to prep the display for outbound shipping to Premium’s National Logistics and Distribution Center (NLDC) in St. Louis, Missouri.  

Our 2019 expansion to a new 130K+ square-foot facility increased our on-site storage capacity by 500% and enabled increased sustainability. Recently, we received more than 700 displays each within a wooden crate the size of a Smart car. We dismantled the displays, technology and containers down to their raw materials to move the various components back up the supply chain.

We are able to accommodate a wide range of recycling projects having established local partnerships with R2 (Responsible Recycling) and RIOS (Recycling Industry Operating Standard) certified facilities.

Steel parts are cut into smaller pieces and melted down for use in creating new displays, appliances, or cars. Any glass components go straight to the glass recycling plant, as glass is one of the easiest materials to recycle without much travel. We also recycle all of the cardboard, compressing it into 750-pound bales before sending it to a local cardboard recycling plant for reuse. 

We break down electronic displays, separating processors, cables, cords, monitors and mice for the e-waste processing plant who will shred and recycle the various elements. We disassemble wood shelves, shipping crates, and pallets, removing and recycling nails and screws as we go. Ultimately, all unusable wood is shredded and turned in mulch for use locally. 

Reducing bulk is essential for efficient freight transportation. Polystyrene, the material commonly referred to as Styrofoam, is put into a shredder for reuse as loose packing in future shipments or is compressed into dense bricks. Manufacturers utilize these bricks to create recycled goods you can find back at retail. 

We especially love to repurpose assets creatively. Reusing is always the best option as it leverages all of the energy and materials that were needed to make the original product. For a recent project, we donated 700 sheets of plywood to local organizations. A portion will be used to create an interactive maze for kids and to shelter a community art project in downtown St. Louis.

After a client’s display was recently retired to accommodate a new product launch, Premium donated 70 computers and monitors to Best Buy Teen Tech Centers and other educational non-profits around the country as a part of the display recycling process.  

See inside St. Louis’ first-ever Best Buy Teen Tech Center.


What can you do?

Our actions support retailers’ own efforts to help mitigate waste coming out of retail stores. Still, these programs alone will not solve the monumental task of striving for sustainability within retail shopping. There are some easy actions you can implement today whether you are reading as an individual consumer or as a corporate employee with authority to impact sustainability decision-making.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Many brands have introduced product packaging made from recovered or recycled materials. However, if we don’t properly recycle, it likely still ends up in a landfill. If you aren’t already, make it a routine at work, home and on the go to recycle the bottles, cans, jars, cartons or boxes from all those CPG products we know and love. Rinse containers, crush cans, break down boxes, and put caps back on before tossing in the bin. Empty aerosol cans are even recyclable.

Use reusable bags.

On your next trip to Walmart or Target, drop off your used plastic bags at the in-store recycling kiosk. Better yet, keep a collection of sustainable bags in your car so you have easy access for your next grocery run. Target offers a 5-cent discount for every reusable bag you use.

Discard electronics the right way.

Due to COVID-19, Best Buy has temporarily suspended recycling services at their stores. Their robust electronics and appliances recycling program has collected and responsibly disposed of more than 1 billion pounds of e-waste (electronics and appliances), making them the largest retail collection program in the U.S.

Identify wellness icons.

Support Target’s efforts to introduce a chemical strategy addressing the entire value chain, operations and every product sold. From beauty, baby care, personal care and household cleaning product categories, Target introduced Wellness Icons to help shoppers easily identify environmentally conscious products on shelf and online.

Support sustainable brands.

Give kudos to brands participating in new concepts like Loop, a circular shopping platform developed by recycling company TerraCycle alongside Kroger and Walgreens. TerraCycle partners with major CPGs, retailers and manufacturers to divert millions of pounds of waste from landfills and incinerators each month.  

We all need to be pushing sustainable practices forward. Reach out if you’d like to discuss what opportunities you have to divert your retail assets from landfills.