To run a successful retail store it is important to focus on retail strategies. For this, the retail managers need to be very particular about presenting the products in an accurate manner which grabs the attention of the consumer. Regularly paying attention to the retail activities will help the store manager to know whether their performance matches with the standards or not. These are basically called visual merchandising audits. Merchandising audits have become an important aspect these days to know the actual performance and on such a basis, the retailers can take some corrective measures.
Now when it comes to visual merchandising audit, it can be classified as self-audits and seasonal audits. In self-audits, the manager should be aware of the products being located, how the different products match with each other displayed, implementing strategies while displaying the product, stock of the required product, etc. In case of a seasonal audit, the managers keep into notice that the customer is aware of the sale and they are aware of the location, etc. The retail managers can even prepare a checklist to record all the visual merchandising activities. The checklist can be prepared with the help of any app where you can digitally record all the activities and the performances.
So the purpose of visual merchandising is to help the customers to locate the products in the store. This indirectly manipulates the customers to buy the product as the way they are displayed and presented attracts them. The products are displayed in such a manner which shows the features and look of the products which steal the attention of the customers. Many of the big organizations even have a separate team base for the same. Their main goal is to display the product in a proper manner and this can be efficiently achieved with the help of a visual merchandising audit checklist. For a successful visual merchandising audit, the following are the best practices you can follow:
- Smart planning
- Stockout audits
- Product condition
- An eye on the competition
- Maintaining visual records
- Consistent data collection
The best part of having a digital checklist is that you can record the daily activities and you can customize it even if using a template. You can add all the necessary things you want to add. To master in building an appropriate visual merchandising checklist, you need to ass everything which can directly impact the working and productivity of the retail store.
Following are some of the points you can consider while preparing your checklist. Make sure to start from the entrance and then carry on as you enter the store to cover everything.
- Windows- At looking at the windows, the customer gets their first impression of the store. So make sure to add points like the theme, color scheme, signage, type of display, picking out unnecessary things, etc. Checking on such things will keep your front window maintained and will attract customers. As many companies have a policy of changing the front theme regularly to show the variety to the customers. So a checklist will remind you to do so. Repairing signage, broken window, props in bad condition, etc can also be added in the checklist to maintain them as well.
- In-store displays- When the customer enters, everything at their assigned place makes it easy for the customer to locate the product. Also, pay attention to the lights and bulbs in the store. All such things can be added in the retail store checklist to ensure proper working of the equipment. This will add clear visibility. Also, consider the proper position of the mannequins which actually represents your product. Other things like wall displays, clean surfaces, floors, walls, etc, update layout after a specific period of time, etc. Preparing a checklist on these points will make sure that you have accessibility to the products and also they are clean.
- Shelves and racks- If it is a clothing retail store make sure you have all the clothes laid in a particular manner depending upon the size. Questions like are the shelves full, are they damaged, is a product in a good condition, are they priced correctly, are they separated into categories, are the sold items restocked, etc. These questions in the checklist will help you to keep a regular eye on the condition of the racks.
- Floor plans- While preparing the checklist, don’t forget to add things like any obstacles in the way which hinders the walking of the shoppers, signboards of upcoming or the present sales and new arrivals, are bins properly installed at their placed, and are they cleaned, etc.
- Staff- To know the condition and performance of staff, you can add questions like are they wearing their uniform and looking professional, do they have knowledge about the training, do they know how to assist customers, how well they are talking to customers and dealing with them, are they capable of inducing customers, etc. This will help the store manager to know about the performance of the staff and can recognize who require product training.
So above are some of the points you need to add while preparing your visual merchandising audit checklist. Make sure that your entire checklist has overall coverage which mainly includes store interior and exterior, staff, shelves and racks, layout, promotions, etc. This also helps in recognizing the potential employees and also the ones who require training. This will help in cutting down the costs and improve operational efficiency. Before preparing any checklist, make sure you are clear with set standards. You can also record on the count of visit in a day. Visual merchandise audit will make it easy to know about all the factors that are important for the manager to know. By using a digital checklist, one does not need to store the data in the physical form as it will be stored in the cloud system thus it does not require any physical storage. You can have access over it anytime you want.