In retail, you will notice at a moment’s notice your business expand and contract. How do you combat the ever changing scope of the retail world? You have to be well versed in departmental tours. As a manager or supervisor within your retail organization, you probably have toured your store. Touring consists of identifying opportunities or obstacles which inhibit your department from being clean, presentable, and organized. These are the three components of a well executed departmental tour.
To see your departmental tour come to life, I will provide you with a detailed description of a departmental tour as it relates to a common retail department. For this case study, the department will be the garden center. The garden center in retail organization is no longer a summer department. This department is active in different capacities throughout the entire year.
Your assortment and presentation will mean nothing if the department isn’t clean. During your departmental tour, look for the noticeable first. Items such as the cleanliness of the floors are the first step. Your next item to review would be what you think your customers can’t see, such as dirt in corners. Look underneath shelves and behind displays. Just because these items may not be on the service doesn’t mean you shouldn’t assign someone to clean in those areas.
What will your customers expect before they step into your business? Do you want your customers to be repeat shoppers? How will your customers judge their overall customer experience? All of these questions should be asked prior to your departmental tour and answered after your departmental tour. Let’s apply what we have learned so far to your garden center.
When entering the department to start your departmental tour, pay attention to seasonality of the merchandise. If it is the beginning of planting season, the department should be merchandised with seeds, seed starters and fertilizer. Now during the summer months, you want to merchandise outdoor furniture, grills, and cultivating supplies. There should be a clear separation between the two. If not, the customer will be confused.
Are the items easy to find within the department? Will you have to move the lawn chemicals near fertilizers since they are used during the same time frame? These are items to take action during your departmental tour. An organized department provides clarity to your customers. One thing to remember during a departmental tour is not to try and correct discrepancies yourself. Utilize your team to assist you.
The three components of a departmental tour will generate the results needed to be successful. Success leads to market share. Market share leads to increased revenues. A departmental tour, if executed properly, will deliver the results needed on a consistent and daily basis. Any item not aligned with your three components noted during your departmental tour will need an immediate action plan.