5 Areas Manage and Grow Your Retail Store
It's no secret that today's retail landscape is more competitive than ever. Not only are you competing with the store across town, but now, through online shopping, you are competing with stores all over the world. Still, when asked their preference, customers still prefer to shop in a brick and mortar store - as long as the experience is worth it that is. Making that experience great is the key, and there are five main areas in your store that directly impact the customer's experience in your store - five areas that help you manage and grow your business.
Here are Five areas you need to focus on to manage and grow your retail store:
Customer Experience (the most important one)
20 years ago, we used to say customer service was the most important element. Today, it's not about service; it is about the customer experience in your store. A quality, memorable experience happens when all aspects of your retail store are working together - from salespeople to policies to cleanliness to merchandising. You can drive your business by focusing on the experience in your store.
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One of the biggest impactors on customer experience is your inventory management. Being out of stock or assorted improperly can drive customers crazy. And since cash is king in retail, your ability to manage the inventory well is paramount to your retail store not only growing, but staying alive.
The silent salesperson in your store is its visual merchandising. An engaging, well-done display can sell as many products as a live salesperson in your store. Each morning, as you unlock the door, stand on the threshold of your store (like a customer) and take a thorough inventory of what you see.
Would you like to shop here?
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In retail, everything speaks. Your store design, your employee's dress, and your store policies all tell the customer what you truly believe. For example, if you go into a retail store and have a hard time knowing who are the employees of the store and who are the customers, no matter what the sign on the door says, this store does not put customers first. If you examine closely, you may find many practices and policies in your store that are working against your customer experience.
And finally, the obvious one - people. You can have the best strategy in the world, the most compelling vision, but it matters not if you do not have the right people. Walt Disney once said, "you can dream design, create and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make it a reality."
Managing a retail store is a complex juggling act. There are so many areas to address that it can be overwhelming.
However, if you start with the customer experience, then all the others seem to fall into place. In other words, if the customer's experience in your store is what drives all decisions, you will see how quickly everything ties together. In my 30 years of retail and consulting one thing I have seen over and over is the disconnect retailers have in their stores between the various focus areas to manage and grow their business. The compensation plans don't reward employees for the experience. The visual merchandising is clumsy and not inviting The inventory is out of stock or lots of holes on the store shelves. Stop thinking like a store owner and start thinking like a customer. This one simple idea will unlock all the rest