Qvalon Blog article content
As mentioned at the start, the process of buying clothes isn’t just a transaction, it’s an experience that’s highly emotional, and that has a lot of touchpoints. The in-store purchase journey starts with a first impression at the display window, moves to browsing, selection, fitting, and finally checkout. Every touchpoint counts, and in this article, we’ll look at the 3 of the most important touchpoints: the display, the fitting room, and the cashier. Keeping your processes and standards organized and functioning well in these 3 areas will improve your customer experience and sales conversion. This doesn’t happen by accident, so let’s take a closer look below.
Display (Shop Window)
Once again returning to the emotional component of fashion shopping, it should be noted that the first impressions about the store, the desire to enter and get acquainted with the products and services, are formed by the customer when they see the display windows. The showcase is the face of the store and this face should distinguish your store from competitors, both with decorative design and tastefully selected images. At the same time, you can’t lose sight of the basic standards of window dressing that exist in each company.
Using Qvalon, we check and fix:
- The cleanliness of shop windows, the space behind the shop window, podiums, mannequins.
- Lighting of displays, mannequins, showcase posters.
- Grouping of mannequins according to the standards and types of displays.
- Product presentation standards on mannequins.
- Availability of up-to-date display posters.
Operational processes + standards in the fitting room area
The fitting room area is the part of the store where the customer makes the final decision on the purchase, as well as the number of items that they will buy. Sellers should not miss the chance to complete a sale and increase the average check because their dressing room isn’t in order. For the purchase to take place, the store needs to implement and monitor all processes and standards in the dressing room area. More specifically:
- Customer service: the presence of a trained store employee in the dressing room area to direct customers to their fitting room and help them select the right size, product model, advise on product quality, composition, style, and upsells/cross-sells.
- Control and monitor the preservation of goods: giving customers a marker with the number of items that were taken into the fitting room and ensuring that all items have an anti-theft sensor.
- Order in the fitting room area, and functionality of the fitting room equipment: rug, mirror, shoehorn, etc.
- Organization of the material and goods in the fitting room area: hanging items on hangers, stacking items neatly in piles, taking goods out of the dressing room area, and hanging items in the sales area.
Cashier operating processes
Cash Area — this is a strategically important area, a high touchpoint between the customer and the brand, and that means that everything needs to transact smoothly. All processes and customer experience when transacting should leave the customer with a feeling of trust and care, as this creates a lasting impression and engenders customer loyalty.
Qvalon system helps implement, maintain and measure the Cashier Operating standards:
- Order must be maintained in the checkout area.
- Correctly displaying impulse purchase goods in the checkout area.
- The checkout area should always be equipped with sufficient work inventory: receipt tape, packages, discount cards, questionnaires for discount cards, questionnaires for applicants, change, etc.
- Cash records must be filled out regularly, without errors, according to standards.
- Cash transactions should also be carried out according to standards: transacting with the buyer, registration of returns, withdrawal reports, making deposits, withdrawals from the cash register, and so on.
- All cashiers using unified scripts and sets of actions related to the buyer when communicating.
Now it’s time to talk about the forms of operational audit in fashion retail
The most widespread and popular form of audit is a check of the store by a senior manager, usually a supervisor or regional director.
The verification formula is simple and straightforward:
- The manager plans to advance a check of his/her stores in the calendar of the Qvalon system. On the selected date he/she checks using an electronic checklist, fixes deviations from standards, forms a list of tasks to address, and sends the results of the check including a list of tasks to all of the relevant company contacts (including the responsible employees). After that, the manager can monitor the status and quality of task execution, and conduct a final analysis using the Qvalon analytical module.
- The second popular form is the use of third-party auditors, “mystery shoppers”, to assess how well standards are being implemented. The verification formula is almost identical to the previous one, only in this case, there can be one additional stage — analyzing and coordinating the results of the audit, which is usually done by a specialist from the company. In practice, the same cluster of directors, territorial directors, and managers are authorized to change the final report.
- The third, and least common, but effective form of observing the performance, quality, and execution of operational processes, are "self-tests"of a store by the store director/manager. This form of audit has plenty of positives:
- Store director/manager gets a list of standards, processes, and requirements and can evaluate them through multiple loops of self-tests. This prevents him/her from missing anything important in the work.
- When standards change or new standards are implemented, the director/manager will be aware of the updates, since all of the changes are immediately reflected in the electronic self-test checklist template.
- If the director/manager is new, then this form of observation will help to quickly get acquainted with the company’s standards and go through the adaptation process.
- The self-checks by director/manager will help to identify in advance errors that could be recorded by managers or representatives of city/state authorities and to prevent consequences such as fines, or the suspension of licenses.
- The self-checks by the director/manager allows the store to be at their best when they meet customers, and to create a comfortable shopping atmosphere.
In this series, we’ve now explored the areas that are most relevant, and impactful, to any Fashion Retail business. These areas make up not just the critical customer-facing touchpoints, but also the warehouse as the “unseen” focal point of the back of house operations. Keeping your operations processes and standards successfully implemented, organized, and executed in all of these areas create holistically successful operations for the entire business. In order to do that, consistent and well-executed operations audits are key, and Qvalon is a great tool to help your team carry these out. After all, fashion isn’t all style and glamour — if you’d like more information on operational audit, we’d love to hear from you.