Retailers Need To Focus On The Basics

greg sleterA retail revolution is happening before our eyes as the ever-changing purchase habits of consumers continue to rattle the cages of many brick-and-mortar retailers.

With Amazon’s presence and impact on retailing continuing to grow seemingly minute-by-minute, the likes of Walmart, Target, Macy’s, JC Penney and others continue working to find ways to better compete with the e-commerce giant.

But while these and other retailers work to develop new strategies that further integrate stores with their respective websites, find new ways to engage with shoppers and possibly offer new experiences to drive store traffic, there are some easy to execute initiatives they can implement now and that could have a positive impact on sales.

In the self-service, big-box retail environment, executing the basics such as proper housekeeping or maintaining a high-level of customer service would go a long way to keeping shoppers satisfied.

Nothing is more frustrating for shoppers than finding the item they want only to see the shelf beneath the display model without stock. The frustrated consumer is likely to fire up their smart phone, buy the same item on Amazon and head home having made a purchase, but not from the retailer they visited.

Properly stocked shelves also overlap with the need to maintain a high level of housekeeping. Something as simple as keeping aisles neatly stacked gives shoppers a positive impression and also allows store associates to see which items are in need of replenishment.

I’ve also heard numerous stories of frustration from friends who shop— or at least used to shop— a certain national big-box chain just after the store opens. Their biggest complaint has been of rows of shopping carts blocking aisles, preventing them from accessing the products they needed.

I can understand using aisles as a temporary parking spot for carts, but shouldn’t it be a daily priority to get those carts out of the aisle before the doors are unlocked? Seems rather basic.

So before reinventing the retail wheel, perhaps the big-box chains should focus first on patching the holes and fixing the basics that may be leaving sales flat.