Friday, June 14, 2024

Maximizing store value through end-to-end retail management

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Retail is an ever-evolving industry that has seen disruptions and transformations like no other. From being a brand-driven industry to a product and now pivoting to value-based experiences, the disruptions have been rather disquieting.

The new generation of shoppers has grown up speaking to voice assistant devices and shopping on touch screen devices from the comfort of their homes. Thus it is critical for retailers to establish a symbiotic relationship across all customer touch points.

The pertinent question at this point is — how will consumers interact with brick-and-mortar stores in the future? This is where retail management must now make better, faster decisions on how to reengineer their store operations and amplify footfall quantum in the future.

Capitalizing on the values of social shopping

Despite rapid digitalization, there are a growing proportion of customers who want to go shopping at stores, delivering elements of theatre and interaction, that e-commerce cannot offer. It’s an immersive social experience that people crave. Retail management must be orchestrated to facilitate a seamless shopping experience from research to the conversion stage.

Retailers must understand how consumer demands are changing to start redesigning their stores, cut down on assets that they don’t need, and invest in capabilities that will make their stores relevant. They need to dig down granular details like the correct retail mix, layout, products, visual merchandising, in-store promoters, and technology infrastructure. Retailers must also map out the channels and methods to forge customer relationships and loyalty.

Integrating stores completely into the consumer ecosystem

The accelerated shift to online shopping has put the future value of physical retail in jeopardy. However, that does not mean that brick-and-mortar stores will run out of relevance, at least not in the near future. But the role of physical stores will have to be re-imagined as an integrated part of the consumer ecosystem. People are no longer blind consumers and rely on various media channels to get the information they need before visiting a store. This is their zero moments of truth.

Unfortunately, legacy retailers still view digital and physical as separate entities. They need to change their modus operandi to reflect this issue seriously. Physical and digital stores should not be competitive with each other but complementary in an ecosystem where customers jump from one channel to another in no time. It is the customers’ prerogative of how they want to interact with a retail brand, and so from their perspective, all the channels must be uniformly connected.

Whether they are researching, buying, paying, returning, or looking for guidance, all activities happen with the brand and not the channel. A poor experience at any channel can impact the overall brand consideration. Rethinking the importance of physical stores means not only entrenching it in the digital strategy but blurring the lines between the two; so they operate seamlessly for the buyers.

Optimizing store processes

 A successful retail store functions on multiple frontend and back-end processes. Retail management requires creating an effective operation that facilitates both consumer-centricity and easy administration by business stakeholders. From maintaining updated records of inventory to executing analytics-driven visual merchandising, planogram management, and talent management, store processes must be designed for easy tracking and up keeping. A smoothly running retail store with a unified view of all the retail engines will stay agile and evolve according to the market demands. This will eventually reflect on their bottom line. Efficient retail management saves time and results in superior buying experiences across channel

Leverage the right set of metrics to influence routine decisions

As retailers rethink the role and relevance of their stores, there will be some portfolio implications. They will have to repurpose stores into strategic delivery centers, dark stores, etc. It is, therefore time appropriate for them to start leveraging retail analytics solutions to capture and track key metrics across operations and improve their decisionmaking.

The ongoing retail transformations are bound to have economic repercussions at the store level. As a result, traditional metrics like store sales, basket size, and footfall will become inadequate measures of performance. Going forward, retailers would need to track metrics that will give them a unified view of their store operations. They need to look beyond transactional metrics and include KPIs like customer loyalty, visual merchandising impact, store size vs. total footprint, and more.


 There are a lot of moving parts to retail management. With an uncertain future and no concrete solutions in place, brands need data-driven strategies in place that can lead to clear thinking, decisive action, and effective execution across channels. The overarching theme, however, remains the same- the consumer. Every small step or big and bold decision must be laid out with an aim to offer a unique value proposition to the customers. Retailers must pivot from a proposition based on SKUs to one that leads with experience.

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