In the ongoing battle to improve in-store profit, retailers and brands are experimenting with flashy new technology or gimmicks like in-store entertainers to generate sales. Driven by competition from some of the major retailers, emerging technologies like AI, VR and AR are tempting retail brands to deliver a new experience that will delight customers and keep them coming into stores.
It’s easy for brands to get swept up in the excitement and try to match what larger retailers are experimenting with. But, brands would be well-advised to resist that temptation. The truth is, many smaller brands just don’t have the resources needed to keep up. But more importantly, before brands get distracted by shiny objects like Amazon Go, they need to take a closer look at basic retail execution in their stores.
Often, the best way for brands to improve in-store profits is to fix the retail execution issues that hamper the customer experience and hold back sales. Shoppers accustomed to the speed and ease of ecommerce expect in-store shopping to be similarly quick and efficient, but they’re not always getting that experience. It’s no secret that happy customers mean increased sales!
For starters, is your product well-stocked, or do customers usually come face-to-face with sparse or empty shelves? Are enough associates available on the floor to answer shoppers’ questions? Are those associates trained well enough to be able to speak to the unique benefits of your product?
These are basic issues that hold back many brands; yet are seemingly straightforward to fix. So, perhaps the larger question here is, do you have real-time visibility into what’s happening at stores you sell in? Many brands are simply unaware, and that’s the crux of the problem.
Data Allows Brands to Pull Back the Curtain
If you want to know why your brand is performing a certain way in a store, you’ll need to know what’s actually happening in that store. Take a peek inside, and you might be surprised by what you find.
Data can reveal the basic store conditions and factors that drive sales across a brand's store footprint. Retail technology solutions help brands look inside specific stores and get a clear picture of what they’ll need to work on to improve performance at those stores.
Brands taking advantage of these solutions are already reaping the rewards. Here’s a recent example.
One leading electronics company leveraged a retail technology solution to find out what was happening in stores, and how they could improve sales. The system allowed them to “see” into retail stores, giving them an idea of what was going on with key performance indicators like merchandising share, device share, asset tracking and sales opportunity. The brand also recruited and trained an ‘uberized’ model of field agents to track the brand’s fixtures in stores and identify any existing issues.
What did they find? Common-sense store attributes matter – more than you might think.
Store size, store cleanliness and the number of store associates on the floor each had a strong correlation with quarterly unit sales. The more associates, the cleaner the store, and the larger the space, the more units the brand sold. For example, stores with similar foot traffic with 8-9 associates sold 451 units, compared with just 182 units sold at a store with 0-1 associates. That’s a valuable lesson for brands: executing well on common-sense attributes can help drive sales.
For brands and retailers alike, flashy technology simply can’t hide basic execution issues. Get back to the basics and make sure you master them, before you even think about investing in shiny objects.