Today’s consumers are smart and demanding. An average shopping experience is not enough for them. They consider shopping therapeutic and probably that is why it’s called Retail Therapy! Shoppers look forward to an engaging and immersive store experience. Hence, the retailers have to work hard to create such experiences to induce more customers to shop.
Now, with the pandemic disrupting businesses across the globe, retailers have to up their game to encourage consumers who are still hesitant about shopping in-store.
Now before we go on to discuss strategies to ensure in-store success and how it increases your profitability, first let us discuss the whole concept of in-store execution.
What is in-store execution and why is it crucial for profits?
In-store execution is defined as a set of activities and techniques that are adapted to organise in-store merchandise in a way that drives maximum profits. It involves planning an effective strategy, ensure its correct execution, monitor the outcomes and then to think of ways to stay ahead of the competition.
Some key aspects that are covered under in-store execution include– how the products get displayed on the shelves, price labels in stores, how sales and promotions are executed, use of CCTVs and security tags, training of staff, customer service and maintenance of stock.
Having a solid in-store execution strategy helps retailers boost their sales, helps store employees to enhance their job satisfaction and gives consumers a pleasant shopping experience. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Certain factors act as impediments to their successful execution :
- Outdated technology and procedures
- Different skillsets for different stores
- Lack of visibility into in-store operations
- Lack of performance metrics
Now, let us have a look at the steps in which retailers can plan and execute a successful in-store strategy :
1) Planning : One of the essential steps for any retailer is to devise a plan that generates maximum sales, least wastage and a delightful customer shopping experience. Keeping in mind the current pandemic, the retailer should plan his in-store strategy in a way that adheres to social distancing norms, contactless service and hygienic surroundings.
A successful plan will provide details about how to make every shopper feel safe and superior. This will include how sales associates greet them, how easily the customers can find what they are looking for with correct product information, provision of contactless checkout, etc. The plan should also have enough information about how salesmen and store managers should behave with the shoppers. Consider the plan as the blueprint that will show what an ideal store should look like.
2) Execution : Even the most effective plans fail if it is not executed properly. Hence, just mapping out the ideal customer journey is not enough. You need to ensure that your store managers and other staff members can execute it properly. Like during COVID-19, new stocks would not matter if the store does not have the basic things like hand sanitizers. It is here that the training of the staff comes in handy.
3) Monitoring and measuring : So the concept, planning and execution all went well, but still the sales have not increased. Hence, it is crucial to constantly monitor the results of the new initiatives and see if something is amiss. By monitoring the in-store progress, retailers can decide what works, what doesn't. To do so, iRetail Suite helps retailers track customer’s behaviour and their buying patterns. It enables you to keep track of the in-demand products and optimise inventory accordingly. iRetail Suite’s auto-replenishment engine helps in assorting stocks seamlessly, based on the sales reports and thus, prevents stock-out effectively.
Now let us examine some ways to enhance customer’s in-store experience so that they come back for more :
1) Have strong visual merchandising : Make sure that the goods are placed neatly in your store so that it looks inviting. Here are some ways to make your store visually appealing :
- Make your displays multidimensional by adding height, depth and colour
- Shelf optimisation : Ensuring the right space allocation for products and categories can help drive sales.
- Make your displays interactive : Help shoppers see your products in action by demonstrating its usage or letting them try it out.
- Flaunt your best : Display your best products at the front and centre of your store. Hence, you see mannequins wearing the best outfit or the best-selling dress of the season to invite more customers.
- Update your visual elements regularly : Keep updating key in-store displays regularly to keep up with the latest trends and seasons.
2) Offer a unique experience to your customers : Make the whole shopping experience delightful by offering something that sets you apart. Like, you could make it kid-friendly by providing crayons and sketchbooks or some toys to keep the toddlers busy while their mothers are busy shopping. In today’s eco-friendly retail era, adopting sustainability as a retail practice drives higher customer engagement. iRetail Suite generates digital receipts for every purchase, and offers customised offers and promotional campaigns.
3) Improve speed and reduce friction : At a time when everyone is leading a fast-paced life, nobody wants to wait in queues for shopping. Customers expect speedy assistance and instant gratification, and if your store is not able to give that, then you lose your customers. Also, try to reduce friction by helping the customers to make their purchase as quickly and seamlessly as possible. iRetail Suite offers a distinct functionality of 4M support - Multi-language, Multi-tender, Multi-currency, and Multi-units of measurement. With its express checkout, the billing process becomes convenient and hassle-free, leading to a happy and satisfied customer.
4) Have a loyalty programme : If not yet done, it is time to introduce a program that offers rewards to your returning customers. You can give some points that will give your loyal customers discounts in your next purchase or let them be a part of an event that you are about to hold in your store. iRetail Suite has nGage integrated, which offers tailor-made loyalty programmes to your customers, increasing the footfall of your retail store.
5) Provide information : Having QR codes on your products to give customers enhanced product information can help you drive more sales. For example, if you are selling exotic edibles, a QR code could provide chef-recommended recipes.
Assortment Planning: The Holy Grail of Merchandising :
When customers visit a store, they go through your racks and shelves to see samples of your inventory. Usually, they are clubbed according to seasonal relevance or what is in vogue. It is what makes the first impression on your customers and gives a peek of your offerings. Hence, assortment planning is the study of these product lineups and their optimisation to get maximum traction. Getting your assortment planning right means that you have figured out what kind of items you should be selling or showcasing, what is the ideal price range of these products and what proportion of your assortment should come from across categories.
However, getting your assortment planning right involves research. Make sure that you look into these features while going for the perfect assortment planning tool :
- Product life cycle analysis of pricing and promotions
- Dynamic, well-rounded pricing strategies of products
- Real-time analysis of catalogues of your competitors
- Custom dashboards and relationship charts for gauging performance
Hence, if you want to take your business to new heights, then invest in smart assortment planning tools that make your operations agile, increase sales and learn customer behaviours.
The way forward :
Now, we have understood how bringing together technology, data and human behaviour can help in a visual display to bring in more customers, stocking shelves in stores and training store personnel to give shoppers a seamless experience.
Intellect Commerce can help you with your in-store planning in a manner that drives maximum sales and give your shoppers a memorable shopping experience. For more information, request for a free demo of iRetail software to meet all your needs.