PRESS THE RETAIL EXCELLENCE BUTTON
PRESS THE RETAIL EXCELLENCE BUTTON
Devising a merchandising strategy is one thing, ensuring its successful implementation is another. With several tens, hundreds, or even thousands of retail locations, how can one be certain that everything is properly executed?
At a time when, according to McKinsey (June 2022), "Commercial excellence matters now more than ever, and it’s driving outsize returns" the retail teams at headquarters face significant challenges in guaranteeing the proper in-store execution of their strategy.
The professionals in retail excellence have the weighty task of preserving the brand image - sometimes in the face of fierce competition - offering a consistent experience across all channels, and supporting sales teams by providing practical and engaging tools.
By the way, according to LVMH (which even has a school named after it), what is Retail Excellence? It represents the highest standards of performance and achievement in the retail industry, encompassing exceptional customer experiences, impeccable product presentation, brand integrity, and outstanding sales results.
In this article co-written with Céleste Manceau, we will explore the crucial issues of retail excellence and operational excellence and discover innovative solutions that can assist in the process.
PRESERVING THE BRAND IMAGE
One of the major challenges for teams at headquarters is to ensure that the brand image is accurately represented in each retail location. This entails having complete visibility into merchandising practices and the consistent implementation of quality standards. Brands must ensure that their products are presented attractively, that spaces are optimally arranged, and that brand messages are clearly communicated to consumers.
OFFERING A CONSISTENT OMNICHANNEL EXPERIENCE
Consistency, consistency, consistency! With the rise of omnichannel commerce, it is essential for brands to offer a seamless experience across all channels, whether it be physical storefronts, websites, or social media. Headquarters teams must therefore ensure the harmonization of messages, visuals, and promotional offers to provide consumers with a smooth and consistent experience. This naturally requires efficient coordination and transparent communication between headquarters and in-store teams.
SUPPORTING TEAMS IN THE FIELD
Another major challenge is to support and train teams in the retail locations, which often face high turnover rates. It is crucial to provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed. This can include creating training videos, sharing best practices, or establishing routines to ensure a high level of execution in the field. Digital solutions offer interactive and engaging tools to facilitate this upward communication and effectively replace WhatsApp groups.
RETAIL TECH: A VALUABLE ALLY FOR OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE
McKinsey observed in a 2022 study that "Winners react faster and more frequently to the shifting consumer landscape. They collect and analyze more data to inform their strategies, with a holistic approach to balancing short- and long-term portfolio moves. Winners execute at a more granular level, based on channel, customer, and audience needs. And they make strategic investments in the teams, capabilities, and tools that enable superior execution."
Thus, many brands have chosen to turn to Retail Tech and use collaborative platforms and applications to centralize all their data and communicate seamlessly with the field. British American Tobacco, which uses the IWD's solution, states, "We can now store and share detailed information about the different brands within the group, activity reports, and planograms. As a result, BAT employees can instantly see what is happening in the field."
By sharing real-time photos, headquarters can also verify if point-of-sale displays have been correctly installed and subsequently build an intelligent database by validating or tagging the photos as "Best Practice". L'Oréal, which also uses the IWD platform, explains that "the photo library allows teams to share precise merchandising recommendations, update them instantly based on product launches, and compare hundreds of point-of-sale photos taken at a specific moment. This provides an organized, comprehensive, and detailed overview."
Highly appreciated by retail managers, surveys are a tool to verify visual merchandising compliance and identify areas for improvement, ultimately providing the necessary tools for training and supporting in-store teams.
Monitoring customer flow with cameras and sensors connected to data analysis systems are the best solution for understanding how people move and look around your shop.
Beyond operational aspects, all qualitative and quantitative data is structured and centralized, enabling teams to gain a better understanding of the reality in the field simply by connecting to the IWD platform. A consolidated and dynamic view of key performance indicators allows for trend anticipation and performance optimization.
Headquarters teams face significant challenges in ensuring the successful execution of their merchandising recommendations in stores. Preserving the brand image, offering a consistent omnichannel experience, supporting teams in the field, and having visibility into best practices are all crucial issues. In this regard, digital solutions, such as IWD or others, offer innovative answers by facilitating communication, consolidating data, and optimizing processes. Brands can improve their retail performance, strengthen their brand image, and provide memorable experiences to their customers.
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