By Joshua Strutt
Strategy Analyst, Retail Doctor Group

The world is shifting increasingly towards omnichannel. There is so much opportunity in the digital stratosphere and its ability to connect consumers to your product, but with our heads turned in one direction have we lost focus on our physical delivery? Have we become seduced? 

Even though we like to focus on the new and exciting elements in the retail world – the likes of digital mirrors, gamified experience, and Apps, we must remember the simple fact, though ability to transact online has impacted the way we function, circa 86% of Australian retail sales are completed at a point of sales, in a store that consumers physically travel to.  

An adapting world in mind, how do we keep our finger on the pulse whether it’s a single store, or 300-store network? What measures can we put in place to define the experience we deliver 

It all boils down to viewing the world through the eyes of your consumer. What do they see as your offer? Are you easy to understand? Have we complicated the experience? Are our team members playing the role that we need them to play? Here is the clinching fact, if we don’t meet the expectation, consumers will just go elsewhere. The way that retailers are often clustered in a shopping centre means that they can just walk right out of your doors and buy a similar product from next door.  

So, what can you do about it? 

Focus on implementing the basics of physical retail.  

  • Inspiring walkers-by with your window displays 
  • Stocking the products that you are known for – and never running out! 
  • Layout the floor in a way that is understandable & alluring 
  • Streamlined operations to create a well-oiled machine  
  • Wrapping it up with the right people in the right place and at the right time 
  • Delivering a consistent experience time and time again 

As an industry, this still presents itself as one of our greatest opportunity. What would it look like if you could add $1 to every transaction? The key question that should be asked is “what tools are in our tool bag”. There are many tools that have been designed over the past decade to gauge consumer experience, and in my opinion, nothing works quite like Mystery Shopping. This is a process designed to benchmark a clear performance standard removing the insistencies delivered by other feedback channels which is often incomplete or situational data. How can you understand what type of change is needed if you don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle? 

Mystery Shopping is a tool to be used to understand where you are right now compared to where you want to be, not to be used to beat stores over the head with, and it’s still the first tool that I pull out of my toolbox when I want to gauge retail performance overall. 

Benchmarking your performance standard against industry best practice is the first place to start. Understanding what your gaps to delivery are and creating a plan to turn this around. Simple on paper, right? Don’t give your consumers another reason to go online and explore another offer. 

Joshua Strutt is Strategy Analyst at Retail Doctor Group and can be reached on 0432966690