As brick and mortar retailing continues to get tougher business not matter what size or shape needs to get into some serious disciplines to survive, below are 7 points to tick for your business that aim to fight complacence and retail blindness.
1. Evaluate your top three product categories and assess whether the space they occupy is proportionate to their contribution to profit. (There are sometime practical/physical reasons why this may not be so – but consider your answer rationally, don’t merely accept historic circumstances.)
2. Take one category at a time and write down all the price points in that category. If there are more than five different price points, homogenise the price points. Customers can’t discriminate between a $3.95 pen and a $4.95 pen.
3. Pick a customer type and write down three places in your store where you think they may visit or where you want them to stop and browse. Discretely follow 10 customers (of that same type – e.g. mum and bub) through your store and observe. Assess where they stop, why they stop and what they do. Consider why they don’t stop where you may have thought they should. Make changes to your configuration and adjacencies accordingly.
4. Make staff (as many as practicable) swap roles and ask them to observe and identify two or three processes that could improve the new role. Cross training your staff may seem unnecessary, but it buys you much more flexibility and gives you fresh eyes on stale problems.
5. Clear your counter of all ‘impulse items’, making room for the customer to set down the merchandise and to give you the opportunity to engage in conversation without being distracted with junk purchases that they will regret and associate with your store. In a week, you can reintroduce some impulse junk and determine whether it is worthwhile.
6. Stand at the front of your store in your landing zone. Look around consciously and purposefully and assess the sight lines through the store. What are your focal points? How easy or how hard is it for your customer to navigate into the store? Does the signage help or does it merely clutter and detract from the merchandise?
7. Visit (or visually isolate) each product category in your store or even in your counter and really look at it. What does that category/display presentation actually ‘say’ about the category? By that I mean: Is there a clear focal point? Is it visually attractive and does it make a statement (tell a story) to the customer? Does it make a statement that you are really in the business of XYZ? These are just seven examples and you can come up with many more. Some are more important than others and there are even more important ones not mentioned at all.
The reminder I want to put out is that you need conscious exercises (like these) to combat retail blindness. Retail is not rocket science; it is about people and their emotions.
Retailers are people too and also subject to falling into bad habits like everyone else.