We get asked why we think store profiling is essential for companies to do every year. People also ask how it will impact on their business, both in the short and long terms. The answer is easy; you need to know what is happening in the field. Unfortunately, a lot of companies don't have a good or accurate idea about their stores.
We don't think this is intentional either. Just with the day to day operations of the business, things get in the way. We recently had a client come to us with over 600 locations they needed to profile; as it had been more than five years since anyone had seen most of these stores. They were a small management team who had spent all of their time focused on growth and a great product from the corporate office. When corporate had called their stores in the past asking questions, store employees would answer with very generic terms. This generality was confusing and didn't give them the data they needed. Upon deploying EasyCheck, they found they had three major problems.
Problem 1: Ghost Stores
When they deployed the EasyCheck solution, they found that 6% of these locations were no longer there. They defined them as "Ghost Stores". To say they were embarrassed and mortified would be an understatement. They had been sending 100s of clients a month to stores that didn't exist, and they had not known it was a problem. They had single-handedly been pushing away customers without a whisper. This wasn't the only problem they found in profiling their stores.
Problem 2: Wasted Marketing Spend
Store profiling also found a money pit that no one had realized in the marketing department. Every month they were sending out over $1,200 in graphics and point of purchase displays to each of these stores. Upon reviewing the results of the store profiles, it was discovered that more than 30% of the stores couldn't use any of the materials sent to them. In their speedy growth, someone had decided to change the sizing for the menu boards and stanchion signs for all of their stores. The problem was that no one thought to change out the first 180 stores with the new frames or order the old size for the original stores. Plus, the stores didn't bother to tell corporate there was a problem. So every month more than $200,000 in marketing materials was thrown out without ever seeing a customer's.
Problem 3: Missed Promotions and Sales
Along with throwing out all those materials, their stores missed the opportunity to sell items customers were looking to buy. When potential customers heard about sales and promotions but didn't find them in store, they probably left. Corporate couldn't understand why some of their stores never did well in promotional periods until they ran a complete store profile.
The Solution: Store Profiling
With the updated store profiles, corporate has been able to make some significant changes. They started by removing the "Ghost Stores" from their website. Then they upgraded the 180 stores that were not using the standardized menu boards and stanchion sign holders. Finally, they started a monthly audit of their stores to ensure they are executing correctly on their promotional rollouts. They are quick to point out that mistakes happen, but that they can be easily avoided.
Has it been a while since you did a complete store profile? We can help. Click here to schedule a quick call to discuss how EasyCheck can solve your field team challenges.