They say, “Hope is not a management strategy”. Let’s find out how meaningful this really is and why program and standards execution is essential to retail and hospitality brands.
Vision vs. Reality
The vision is what head office envisions.
The vision hopes to deploy merchandising initiatives and seasonal programs to produce a certain outcome such as higher sales, lower costs and/or higher customer satisfaction.
The vision is the new signage that marketing has developed, training that “ought to be delivered” and operations/merchandising/health & safety/cash handling standards that “need to be followed”.
The vision is the combination of all those things that retail brands work hard, and spend considerable time and money, to develop.
Reality is what actually happens at the store.
In reality, signage is not always put up, staff is not always trained and seasonal programs are not always executed consistently and on time.
What is in-store execution?
In-store execution reconciles the vision with reality. In-store execution makes it happen.
With it, you have a store environment that delivers on the brand’s vision and promise. Without it, you have wishful thinking and a false sense of achievement.
Execution Aligns the Vision with Reality
Assuming you have more than a handful of stores to manage, you do not know how stores really execute unless you have processes and auditing software to help you with this. Operators execute differently. District managers may have different inclinations and priorities based on their own experience and sensibilities.
There is nothing wrong with that, but you need to make sure that the core standards and programs that are the backbone of the brand’s strategy are implemented in full, everywhere and every time.
Execution aligns the vision and expectations of head office with the reality on the ground.
Execution Makes Business Sense
Research tells us that improper or incomplete merchandising execution costs retailers 1%+ of sales annually.
You then need to factor-in “shrink” (often caused by errors and lapses in execution), which costs retailers, on average, 1.5% of sales annually.
Lastly, you need to account for other costs and missed opportunities such as substandard customer service and health & safety, which are costly and can affect a brand’s reputation and goodwill.
No retailer wants to leave 2.5% + of gross sales on the table, not when brick and mortar retail margins are so thin.
Protect the Brand
Creating a strong, recognizable retail or hospitality brand takes a lot of work. It is important to maintain brand consistency and brand standards, especially if you’re running multiple stores, hotels or sites.
Take signage and components that project the brand’s image onto customers and guests for example. Is the right signage used, from the right vendor? It is current, is is properly placed and functioning?
Retailers have a sizeable opportunity to do more with less by focusing on in-store execution for programs they already pay for.
Get the right processes and the right tool in place, protect the brand and do more with less by focusing on store execution.
OTHER RETAIL EXECUTION RESOURCES
Refer to Retail Execution category for how-tos and best practices for retail and hospitality execution of brand standards and programs.