The basics of retail

By Andrew Pattinson, General Manager of instigo 

Retail is detail. Mastering the customer experience should be the centre of your business and the key for a successful operation. Understanding and knowing your customer, therefore, requires getting the detail right most of the time and understanding the important elements.

The retail pentagon

It is not just one element, but the successful implementation of the retail pentagon: place, product, value, people and communication.

Product: to be a successful retail operation your products and professional services must satisfy customer needs, wants and desires, as well as deliver a profit to your store. What is your product assortment and strategy? Are the product and ranges aligned to this? Invest in a quality point-of-sale system that can give you the data to manage stock and, in turn, free up cashflow.

Value: this is comparing your value proposition in relation to the competition and encompasses price versus quality. When we look at the retail pentagon, the concept of value and the complex relationship it has with price is imperative to review for any business. A high service model and the professional services you provide returns long-term value to customers and your business. Building rapport and understanding is key to customer value.

Place: this is more than just your location: it is your store appearance, fit-out and ambience. If your store is poorly branded with no clearly defined categories or stock weight, you are communicating the wrong message to your customers. Fifty percent of customers have avoided a business because it looked dirty from the outside and an overwhelming 95 per cent of customers say that the external appearance of a store is extremely important. Consider a store refresh every five years to stay relevant and ensure the changes are aligned with your business strategy.

Promotion: communicating regularly with customers is important for raising your brand awareness, generating sales and creating loyalty. Use your loyalty data to understand customer behaviour and deliver a tailored promotion strategy. If you can understand your customers’ different needs by analysing demographic and transactional data to personalise your communication accordingly, it will lead to a more positive customer response and a long-term relationship.

People: your staff are the representation of your brand and vital to the growth of your business. Investing in staff is important, as knowledgeable and engaging staff will always consider the right solutions for customers. Review if your team are in the right roles, based on their work preferences and strengths. The most important role is that of the retail floor pharmacist. Customer access to a pharmacist will drive professional services and long-term solutions. Ensure your team has KPIs and goals and celebrate the wins.

The retail pentagon is the basic foundation of any successful retail store. The five points of the pentagon are the key to helping you consolidate your store offer, deliver your strategy and grow your business.