Stores are the heartbeat of your retail operations. Indeed, studies show that in supermarkets, in-store purchases still make up 90% of revenues, while even in technology stores, this figure is only as low as 50%! Needless to say, retail isn’t dead. And the store is definitely here to stay. So, as the world opens up again and more shoppers are allowed in-stores. We want to share our 10 tips to maximising store performance.
Step one to maximising store performance is reviewing and simplifying behind-the-scenes workflows and processes. Retailers that are focusing on current customer demands, like clear signage, better click and collect services and virtual queuing systems, have already seen the return. With a push to drive consumers back to stores, they need to arrive at safe, efficient and enjoyable retail environments. Make sure the basics are working smoothly and effectively before you start to invest in interactive in-store experiences.
Visibility of in-store operations is vital. Customers are more likely to be loyal if you create a recognisable environment and customer experience. From tracking staff performance to checking campaign implementation, technology that gives you on-the-ground information and real-time communication with stores, enables you to pinpoint and resolve localised issues rapidly. When you know that your head office guidelines are being put into action, it’s much easier to see what’s working across your store estate.
The last year has shown how rapidly change can happen across large store estates. In our experience, some traditional ways of working are unnecessarily laborious, particularly when it comes to communicating marketing to stores. Aside from cutting costs, there are additional benefits to reassessing store processes as we settle into this “new normal”, like reducing waste and driving a more sustainable way of operating.
Harness every opportunity to learn about customers and listen to their feedback. Store associates are constantly receiving valuable information about in-store experiences, problems and successes. Check this on-the-ground knowledge can reach the departments that will benefit from it. Central online platforms are a great way to communicate and collaborate across large remote teams and with third party suppliers. With comments, actions and progress updates easily stored and accessible, nothing gets forgotten or lost in translation.
Your signage helps to sell your products and improve your customer experiences. In fact, research has found that 68% of customers believe a store’s window sign is a reliable indicator of the standard of their products inside. Not only that, items advertised by nearby signs have been found to outperform those without signs by an impressive 20%.
The need to deliver effective and accurate in-store displays, from reassuring health and safety posters to clear promotional materials, has never been more important. Hygiene and social distancing displays will need to be constantly maintained and updated. And, with more people buying online to collect in store, in-store marketing is a brilliant tool to drive additional sales once they get there.
Mistakes on the shop floor can be incredibly costly – be it in reduced sales, a damaged reputation or even fines. Monitoring the execution of marketing materials and new visual merchandising displays in stores not only allows you to identify risks or errors and rapidly correct them, it can also highlight discrepancies in the planning of campaigns or your supply chain.
With many stores to keep track of, things can easily get missed. Particularly if there is limited communication between the shop floor, marketing teams and head office. Tracking in-store compliance can improve your store performance by introducing accountability in stores. It also allows you to collect, update and cleanse your information on fixtures and fittings, POS requirements and layouts.
When it comes to maximising store performance, the customer’s experience is key. Online and offline interactions need to work hand-in-hand to support the customer on their buying journey. With an increasing demand for click and collect, be certain your in-store campaigns mirror your marketing efforts elsewhere. Customers are looking for consistency and familiarity.
The in-store experience has changed but retailers still have the opportunity to provide a service that can’t be replicated online. Make it memorable for all the right reasons: strict safety measures, clear signage, impeccable service from knowledgeable staff and great displays.
Unfortunately what works in one of your stores won’t necessarily work for all of them. Online shopping, digital marketing and ecommerce has changed the game in buyer expectations. They now expect an experience tailored to them. And while this isn’t possible possible in stores, it’s important to bridge the gap. Being able to quickly plan for local, national and even global changes in product demand is a game changer. Clever software and open communication channels with shop floor staff will help you to make this a reality.
If you haven’t got the resources to ensure your campaigns relevant on a hyper-local level, make sure you capitalise early on upcoming trends or events. Timely participation of every store is key, so it can be beneficial to introduce staff incentives if you don’t already have them in place.
The true cost of online retail is becoming clear. Customers now expect free delivery and returns from their favourite online retailers. And, with heavy fulfilment costs and more returns from online orders, profits are restricted.
If you have loyal customers now returning to your stores, let them know how valued they are. A number of retailers have rolled out new offers and loyalty schemes to keep the momentum. With businesses 60-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer than a new prospect, it’s important repeat shoppers feel valued and are rewarded.
Our last tip to maximising store performance is to show your customers that you are aware of what is happening in society. In an industry that evolves rapidly, it’s crucial that retailers are at the forefront of consumer affairs.
Despite the impact of coronavirus, climate change, sustainability and environmental awareness are still high on the agenda for shoppers. Brands and businesses showing that they are making steps in the right direction have being extremely well received. When you make efforts to reduce your environmental impact, communicate this to your customers. Keep them updated as you introduce new eco-friendly products, suppliers and ‘greener’ ways of working.
At Colateral, we’re helping retailers to deliver localised, targeted in-store marketing campaigns that supports buyers on their journey through your store. We help you align your marketing and merchandising by getting campaign planning and execution right. Our platform allows campaign managers, creatives, printers and stores to collaborate through a single platform so you can work together to get the right messaging to the right stores at the right time.
Learn more about how Colateral can help you maximise store performance.
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