The Store as Retail Experience

This is an edited post of an original blog. The name has been changed to protect the innocent - namely, me!

Welcome to “Store as a Retail Experience.” The concept of “Store as a Retail Experience” is the creation of a place that is purpose built for making sales and maximizing revenue.

In this blog we’ll offer perspectives and strategies to help you insure your store is a “Retail Experience” I’ll be posting helpful insight through topics such as customer flow, in-store boutiques, in-case stories and more.

This inaugural blog will start at the beginning of the “Store as a Retail Experience” journey.

Transforming your store into a retail experience begins by asking and answering, honestly, two important questions - which, by the way, apply to physical locations as well as virtual ones. Those two questions are 1). Why does your store exist? and, 2). Who is your store designed for today?

The bottom line answer for the first question should be that your store exists for the bottom line and is there to make sales and be profitable. If that’s not the answer, this is the wrong blog and you should check the blog titled, My Store as a Not For Profit Machine.

Although I kid about the “wrong blog” comment, the truth is that over time, many retailers tend to forget their purpose and, as a result, are not proactive at taking the steps needed to mitigate revenue and profit loss, and in turn find it difficult to identify corrective actions when the numbers do begin to decline. The good news is that staying focused on the two questions discussed here helps retailers to indentify course corrections in order to continue achieving results while organizations around them struggle. Constantly ask - “why does my store exist?” Your answer to this question will help you stay ahead of the competition.

Now, for the second question - “who is your store designed for today?” There’s a good chance that, if you answered honestly, your answer may no longer be the answer that will make you the most money.

That’s because your store should be designed strictly with the customer in mind and, more importantly, through the customer’s eyes. The reason I say it may no longer be the answer that makes you the most money is because if you’ve been in business for a while, your store may have been designed exactly right at one point, but customers change and the competitive landscape changes - your store should too.

Unfortunately, we often decide on our store’s product layouts, fixtures and in-case collateral based on what we like, what others in our industry are doing or, worst of all, because we’ve always done it that way. A true retail experience is designed using the customer’s perspective as the effective lens and considers every detail like displays, relevant in store media, “flow” (more about flow in an upcoming posting) and more. At this stage ask, “what does my customer want and for what are they willing to pay?”

When designing your store staying true to what your customers want it to look and feel like (while maintaining brand integrity - hey, I didn’t say it would be easy) is critical. That said, if the store you’re in now isn’t a Retail Experience yet, don’t despair. There are steps you can take to turn that around. We’ll discuss all of those steps in upcoming blog postings, but for now…

Look at your store from the outside - in, using what you believe would be your customer’s discerning eye (don’t be afraid to ask a few real customers for their opinions).

The outside includes not only your store front. It also includes your advertising and any associated collateral. After all, those are often a customer’s first introduction to your store.

On the inside consider where the customer is greeted, how your staff presents, are the displays relevant, clean and do they tell a story?

It’s a top to bottom, front to back assessment you need to conduct. Get started there and the next post will focus on “flow.” Until then think, Store as A Retail Experience and may you and yours prosper.

For comments, questions and suggestions write to John at info@cordovaconsultants.com

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