Transforming your store into a retail experience begins by asking and answering, honestly, two important questions.

Those two questions are:

1. Why does your store exist?

2. Who is your store designed for today? These questions apply to brick and mortar stores and websites.

The answer to the first question should be that your store exists for the bottom line and is there to make sales and be profitable. If that is not your answer, this is the wrong article for you and you should probably be reading, “My Store as a Not for Profit Machine”.

Although I kid about the “wrong article”, the truth is that over time, many retailers tend to forget their purpose and as a result are not proactive at taking the steps needed to mitigate revenue and profit loss. In turn they find it difficult to identify corrective actions when the numbers begin to decline. The good news is that staying focused on the two questions discussed here will help you to identify course corrections in order to continue achieving results while organizations around you may struggle. Constantly ask – “Why does my store exist?” Your answer to this question will help you stay ahead of the competition.

Now, for the second question – “Who is your store designed for today?” There’s a good chance that if you answered honestly, your response may no longer be the answer that will make you the most money.

This is because your store should be designed strictly with today’s customer in mind and, more importantly, through their eyes. Your store may have been this way at one point, but over time customers change and the competitive landscape changes, so in response your store should change too.

Unfortunately, we often decide on our store’s product layout, fixtures and in-case collateral based on what we like, what others in our industry are doing or, worst of all, because we’ve always done it that way. A true retail experience is designed using the customer’s perspective as the effective lens and considers every detail like displays, relevant in store media, customer traffic flow and more. At this stage, ask “What does my customer want and for what are they willing to pay?”

When designing your store, staying true to what your customers want it to look and feel like (while maintaining brand integrity – hey, I didn’t say it would be easy) is critical. That being said, if the store you’re in now isn’t a Retail Experience yet, don’t despair. There are steps you can take to turn that around.

Look at your store from the outside – in, using what you believe would be your customer’s discerning eye (don’t be afraid to ask a few real customers for their opinions). The outside includes not only your store front. It also includes your advertising and any associated collateral. After all, those are often a customer’s first introduction to your store. On the inside consider where the customer is greeted, how your staff presents your value proposition and themselves, if the displays are relevant, clean and if they tell a story.

It’s a top to bottom, front to back assessment that needs to be conducted. Once you’ve assessed your store, address the low hanging fruit such as, how your staff presents your value, display freshness and clutter. As you move through the easier changes, plan your next steps, always keeping in mind why your store exists in the first place and who it is you’re designing the store for. If you stay the course, your results will continue to improve and equally important, you’ll develop a “habit of evolution” that will continue to serve you well while going forward. SSA

Cordova HeadshotJohn Cordova, VP Sales and Business Development at Leo Frank & Sons is a successful business operator with almost 30 years of experience across all aspects of both retail and wholesale business environments. John’s forte includes developing sales systems, recruiting and training the best teams and creating innovative, revenue producing solutions. Leo Frank & Sons is a 3rd Generation, Family Owned Diamond Wholesale business that thinks like a retailer and offers a unique suite of values that help its retail partners achieve their goals. or contact John directly at [email protected]