How can virtual retail audit help improve visual merchandising and customer experience?

Technology | 2 minutes to read

18th May, 2021

A virtual retail audit enables retail intelligence to drive correct decision making. We take a look at different areas that can be improved using this type of audit.

Snapshot 

 By employing rigorous virtual audits, retailers can identify risks and find better revenue enablement opportunities

They can also align internal & cross functional teams and maintain better leverage throughout the retail lifecycle

Customer Experience or CX – this seems to be a buzzword among forward-looking online retail stores. But only a few can actually accomplish anything concrete on this front. And most of them who successfully sway customer experience in their favor count virtual retail audits as one of the key enablers for their success.

It is a time of tumult for retailers, and they need to weigh a lot of high-scale and performance factors. A virtual retail audit seeks to imbibe the various feedbacks provided by customers. These insights can provide guidance to the company to improve itself and grow in a competitive landscape.

Undertaking such retail audits has many benefits. It verifies the conformance of retail processes for key strategic issues that have the potential to be counterproductive against each other. It also adds a layer of trust to your customers’ minds. You can reassure them that yours is a compliant business and they can trust you.

Quick read – During the lockdown, retailers got experts in adapting, and so, now we have entered a new world of commerce based on digital tools and better ways of selling. Read our blog Retail Playbook 2021: Step Back to Surge Ahead Powerfully

Here are some ways in which virtual retail audit can help in merchandizing compliance:

A retail audit will evaluate if the store maintains consistent branding. Such consistency should not be only across all marketing and advertising mediums. It should also seek to offer uniform customer experience across offline and online stores. It will comprise of:

Merchandizing compliance:

Inspecting the POSM display hygiene to confirm if it radiates the right marketing message. It also verifies planogram compliance as per the set standards of business promotion and overall marketing strategies. Every single marketing element is inspected to ensure that it radiates a unified and consistent marketing message that resonates with the universal brand appeal of the organization.

Demo display:

A virtual audit will evaluate the demo display and ensure that it is providing the most up-to-date and accurate information to help prospective customers. This step ensures that displays are executed properly in terms of pricing, general appearance, presentation, and overall hygiene. An audit of this factor ensures that your in-store shopper engagement remains high. The aim of this factor is simple – to convert more browsers to customers. We also have POSM as a visual merchandising tool. A retail audit will ensure that the display is changed every few weeks to lend a fresh look. It will also suggest the right products that shoppers are most likely to pick up at the time of checking out their products. The audit will bring out maximum efficacy from different design and visual elements like shop fittings, signage, display solutions & accessories.

Outshop branding:

The audit will not only check in-shop advertising but also outshop branding. It will assess overall conformance of the external branding presence in-terms of position, cleanliness, condition, etc. The audit will tell if your brand value is easily radiated to target customers through appreciate design elements like flanges, glow signs, banners and standees. Be it the website, the app, its offline stores, or other online marketing creatives, this design is sure to be there on all assets.

Launch creatives:

Raising awareness among customers and generating buzz post-launch is tremendously challenging for any new product. But with an audit, launching out of the box creatives becomes easy. A virtual audit will assess the overall branding changeover as per the new product category or SKU. Take, for instance, planograms. It is no longer feasible to go with Excel or PowerPoint based design schematics for retail space. Tools like planogram automation tool help in generating multiple store planograms that can be shared among designers and decision-makers. Such tools enable the quick rollout of store design and showcase the right product placement at the right place as per the shopper psychology. Such automation tools reduce rollout times by 50% and operational cost by as much as 80%.

Manpower hygiene:

Checking the promoter/ sales team’s presence and hygiene at stores. These grooming compliances ensure that they build a positive image about the brand and carry forward the brand ethos. Be it well groomed personality, fluency in product knowledge, or ability to resolve customer queries with valuable answers, a lot of pointers go into inspecting manpower hygiene.

A successful audit of this space means that you appeal to your audience’s emotions and help the marketing message resonate across. Compliance merchandizing also ensures that you stay true at all times to the brand-defining traits that your customers can instantly recognize.

To conclude

Conducting timely virtual retail audits empower the brands to accelerate overall customer experience. It also allows retailers get actionable market intelligence like the share of visibility, new marketing opportunities, competition information, etc., to spin retail success. These points should come in handy during the retail audit.

Visit our Retail Audits and Visual Merchandising page to deep dive into the various services we provide.

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