With big names in retail like Toys"R"Us, Kmart and Gap closing down hundreds of stores this year, it’s easy to start believing the retail industry has reached a point of no return. Bundled with the rise of mobile commerce, age-old brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to keep up as the dawn of the "retail apocalypse" is upon them. However, change in the industry doesn’t have to be detrimental to businesses. In fact, this retail doomsday everyone’s been murmuring about is really more of an evolution of sorts. Now, there's a new opportunity for retailers to strengthen their execution strategy and welcome the technological advancements the industry shift has granted them.
As retailers look to win market share, engage consumers, and build consumer trust, brand consistency, throughout all customer touchpoints, is the key to success. There are three important elements to consider when monitoring and executing brand consistency: merchandising; signage and displays; and store compliance. Taking the first step towards delivering an optimal customer experience relies on retailers’ ability to strategically measure consistency.
Know Where Your Brand Stands
Before you’re able to take action to enhance your brand consistency, it’s crucial to understand how your stores are preforming as is. Think of this as your starting point. How clean are your various locations? How recent is your inventory data? Are new display items placed in the right locations? By working with your field teams, store managers and business consultants to simply and routinely survey your store locations, you'll gain a comprehensive audit of your retail execution. When it comes down to achieving universal brand consistency, having the power to communicate with all your teams and gather data from each of your locations is the only way to know how close or far away your brand is from achieving consistency.
Enhance the Power of Data With Pictures
While gaining hard numbers and quantitative insights is often what people think of when they hear "data collection," it’s important to not underestimate the power of qualitative data — most notably photos. Collecting and analyzing photos of signage and displays provides important context and serves as a supplement to quantitative data. By keeping a database of photos, brand managers are able to encourage accountability, monitor compliance with health and safety standards, and verify promotion execution. Integrating photos into your regular data collection allows you to correctly align marketing collateral across each store location and facilitate spending decisions to boost both consumer loyalty and revenue.
Use Data for the Ultimate Brand Consistency Strategy
Once you’ve gathered all the quantitative and qualitative data needed to enhance your brand’s consistency, it’s time to maximize the effect of your data with tailored, personalized systems. With filterable reporting, you can analyze data surrounding store compliance — e.g., signage, health and safety standards, agreements with suppliers, and more. Maintaining store gap reporting to easily see which stores are performing and executing according to standard will lead to more visibility for your stores and allow brand managers to make quick, data-supported decisions.
Equipped with a retail execution system that takes into account your brand’s scope and gives you the data you need to succeed, results from a consistent brand strategy will start peeking through the doom and gloom of the "retail apocalypse." Not only will your customers’ trust be elevated, but you'll also open yourself up for long-term, data-driven success regardless of how the industry changes.
Chris Kampfe is the vice president of marketing at GoSpotCheck, a simple, integrated enterprise SaaS platform for companies with complex operations that need to quickly collect field data and drive improved, verified execution from their teams.
Chris Kampfe serves as the Vice President of Marketing at GoSpotCheck, a simple, integrated enterprise SaaS platform for companies with complex operations that need to quickly collect field data and drive improved, verified execution from their teams. Based in Denver, Chris’ efforts are focused on SaaS marketing, demand generation and account based marketing.