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In-Store Problems? Here’s How to Focus Your Efforts

At the core of any business is the desire to satisfy customers and increase sales. For brick-and-mortar retailers, this means competing with eCommerce and an omnichannel culture, where in-store shoppers have their smartphones at the ready to find any reason not to buy from them.  

Sounds like an uphill battle, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be—not if you know where to act and which issues deserve your attention. Let’s look at three common in-store scenarios and what you can do about them: 

Scenario No. 1: Outdated SKUs 

You have a new product ready to hit shelves. Your company is all excited, and your marketing and advertising teams have been putting in the work to get the word out. Your customers are ready, and they head into your stores to pick up the latest product. When they get to the aisle, though, they’re faced with an old, outdated SKU. What happened? 

This is a scenario that can plague any retailer. Your in-store operations need to promptly and effectively move old inventory off the shelves to make room for the new. Any delay or slip-up has a waterfall effect on the rest of your business. Marketing’s initiatives are seen as inaccurate and customers don’t have the new SKU in hand that they were all excited about. Instead, they head to a competitor saying: “I thought they had a new product out?” 

Scenario No. 2: Out-of-Stocks 

Out-of-stock products are a common scenario in the same vein as outdated SKUs. OOSs are some of the easiest problems to have that drive customers to your competitors. For them, it’s easy to head somewhere else if your shelves are bare.  

OOSs are another problem that can be solved by a more effective store ops team and a smoother supply chain. You need your store associates on the ground identifying OOSs as they appear, and then your other employees mobilizing to get those products from the back of the store to the front (or distributed to the store altogether).  

Scenario No. 3: Unhelpful Associates 

Another common scenario found in stores is the unhelpful store associate. This means any staffer who can’t answer shopper questions, doesn’t represent your company’s values, or can’t execute properly. Unhelpful associates can easily drive customers away.  

For example, associates could unintentionally (or intentionally) recommend a competitor when asked for advice from a shopper. They could mistakenly say you don’t carry a product, or a product doesn’t have certain features when it actually does. Or, they could just be rude or disrespectful. Either way, customers will likely leave without buying anything or stop visiting that store. 

Focus on the In-Store Problems That Matter 

You’ve heard these issues before. The real challenge is knowing where to focus your efforts to increase customer satisfaction and drive the most sales.  

One of the best solutions is to ask your shoppers directly. While it’d be great if you could be on-the-ground to ask questions on site, that isn’t a reality for many retailers who have multiple locations. Instead, consider crowdsourced data. Wiser’s network of smartphone-enabled shoppers spans hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. You can turn any one of these shoppers into your data collector, shopping your stores and answering questions relevant to the issues above. 

For example, you can measure: 

  • Product stock levels 
  • Merchandising compliance 
  • Store associate knowledge 
  • Promotions and displays 
  • And more! 

Then, compare this data across your locations to identify under-performing stores. This will help you know exactly where to act. You can see where the most issues are—with on-the-ground images—and how those problems affect shopper behavior. You can’t act on what you can’t see, and crowdsourced data is a great way to see more clearly into your brick-and-mortar stores. 

Sound good? We’re happy to discuss more! Let us know and we can set up a meeting to explore your in-store needs in more detail. Connect with us today

Matt Ellsworth

Matt is the Content Marketing Manager at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions. He holds a BA from Salem State University.

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