04 Jul The Growing Importance of the Store Visit
Centralised retail operations, well-trained field teams, and effective store visit practices ensure your store delivers on it’s brand promise. But, why is the store audit becoming more important than ever before?
The role of the store visit is adapting to change
The store audit is a vital component of retail operations. As retailers begin to implement omni-channel retail strategies and click-and-collect comes of age, store experience has become more important than ever. And its down to field teams to make sure the customer experience is top notch.
The modern consumer engages with more touchpoints (channels) than ever before. Whether a customer is surfing on their phone, reading a magazine in the hairdresser, or browsing in their lunch break; each touchpoint creates brand expectation. Consumers expect a holistic shopping experience. They don’t mind which channel(s) they’re using – they just want a seamless shopping experience that fulfils the brand promise.
Whether purchasing or collecting an item in-store, the customer’s journey must flow effortlessly. Each store must meet the same exacting standards, time after time.
The shift towards experiential shopping
Customer engagement in-store is the core focus of experiential shopping. But this concept is still relatively new and may require store teams to alter their mindsets. Changes in store presentation and new customer interaction guidelines will need to be deployed across the store portfolio.
Any store level change requires a store visit to ensure successful rollout.
To respond to changes in buying behaviour the modern brick-and-mortar retailer must operate seamlessly. This will improve in-store execution and allow campaigns and new initiatives to be delivered quickly, accurately and with greater consistency. This will also ensure that your store team can deliver superior customer service day-in-day-out.
Shedding the light on your store portfolio
Ensuring all your field team conduct visits to a high standard will allow you to monitor the entire retail estate.
A store visit can:
- identify and remedy inconsistencies in store presentation, visual merchandising and brand compliance.
- identify store level problems, such as maintenance and operational issues.
- close the loop on task management, ensuring previous tasks and actions have been completed.
- uncover best practice to share with other areas/stores.
- highlight potentially bad or “poor” practices to look out for in other areas/stores.
- embed new in-store processes and procedures.
- provide a framework to evaluate financial metrics, KPIs, team performance.
- reinforce and build relationships with your most important asset – your store managers and associates.
- foster a positive sense of competition amongst stores.
- identify training needs and much, much more.
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