Consumers may believe they are purchasing only products, but silently, they are also purchasing the shopping experience. The shopping experience is highly influenced by visual merchandising. But it is surprising to know that visual merchandising execution compliance is as low as 40%. In a survey of 180 global merchandising decision-makers, 38% quoted completion and accuracy as the biggest challenge in this activity. With our decades of experience and exposure to best retail practices, we have developed a five-step process to ensure accuracy in visual merchandising execution.
Step 1 – Communicate it visually
If it is a visual merchandising guideline, draft it visually too. Your visual guidelines should not be text-heavy documents. Add pictures of planograms, store elevations, window designs, model store execution pictures, and videos in your visual dockets and make your communication simple, self-learnable, and effective.
Step 2 – Break it into actionable tasks
If you want accurate execution, don’t leave anything open to interpretation. Divide the whole strategy into small actionable tasks with the required time and effort attached to each. Assign these tasks to stores and provide visibility to ensure completion.
Step 3 – Drive it in real-time
Informal communication is more effective when you want to drive execution in real-time. Engage with your stores informally through chat groups to share best practices, establish personal contacts, build relationships, motivate others, resolve conflicts, celebrate successes, solve real-time doubts, and ensure right execution.
Step 4 – Maintain it daily
The real challenge of visual merchandising is not only accurate execution, but also maintaining that execution daily. To guarantee that stores are always visually maintained, provide your field leadership teams with customized visual store audit tools, followed by actionable points.
Step 5 – Measure it effectively
If it is not measured, it is half done. Visual strategies are formed centrally at the brand level but the feedback needs to be decentralized at the store level. Check with your stores individually about what worked well and what did not through surveys. This way, you are measuring the impact and making your store staff co-owners of your strategies. A sense of ownership is the best tool to drive accurate execution.
These five steps, when combined with an in-store execution platform, can assist retailers in closing the gap between merchandising intent and actual implementation. StoreForce has designed an integrated retail execution solution for communication, task management, discussion groups, store visits, and surveys in one single platform. To know more about how StoreForce can help you with accurate and consistent execution, watch a quick demo video, download our visual merchandising datasheet, or get in touch with us for a quick 15-minute call.
Dhwani Swaminarayan is StoreForce’s Content Strategist and a published author by Tata McGraw Hill. Dhwani understands the global retail industry in its totality, with more than 13 years of experience spent across all major functions of retail, including operations, visual merchandising, business excellence, and learning strategies. She has more than 25 publications, with complete focus on adding value, improving, and transforming retail and business functions. In her role at StoreForce, Dhwani curates content which adds value to various functions of retail by analyzing the business, challenges, solutions, and latest trends. Her objective is to solve the problem, simplify the solution and drive results.
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