Today’s consumer brands have come to realize that quite literally every moment of every interaction they have with their customers is essential to building their brands, growing sales, and laying the groundwork for repeat business, from the moment a prospective shopper arrives to the moment they depart. Mature customer experience (CX) programs now impact virtually every aspect of a business, online and off, pre-sale and post.
Yet even as the practice of customer experience management expands its reach, for most consumer-facing businesses, one particular CX discipline will always be the most essential: the visual styling of their physical stores.
Merchandising Has Come To The Front Lines of Customer Experience Management
Merchandising — the design and structure of the displays that present the products the business sells — has long been an established part of how customer facing businesses, especially in the retail industry, adapt to, communicate with, and persuade their customers. The atmosphere of every retail environment today is the outcome of hundreds, if not thousands, of merchandising decisions large and small — from what brands take the center shelf and which categories are given featured space, all the way down to which items will be stocked up front to promote impulse purchases.
However, managing the visual styling of a large organization is far more complicated than filling out a floor plan.
Today’s customers have come to expect consistency whenever they walk into their favorite brands’ stores, and whether they’ve walked into your location in downtown San Francisco or in rural Tennessee, they want to be able to navigate your stores as though they are a truly familiar environment.
For customer experience and merchandising professionals, that expectation creates a challenge — because while designing an individual brand block or product section may be easy, ensuring front line employees at each and every location can quickly understand and accurately replicate your merchandising plans is often anything but.
Communicating Merchandising Plans — A Better Option
In the past, communicating merchandising expectations required brands to invest heavily in one of two options, either:
- Creating a lengthy and complex diagram of each new layout, delivered as memo from corporate, and/or
- Paying to send a member of the merchandising team to travel in person to key stores and ensure their store appearances were up to spec.
But memos were hard to follow and easy to misinterpret. And sending a team member has become a practical impossibility as travel costs spiral upwards and many brands now update in-store displays several times each season.
Fortunately, a better option exists: video.
Video Training Makes Merchandising Communication Simple and Scalable
As leading organizations increasingly adopt video to scale learning and development initiatives big and small, more and more companies are finding that simple on-demand video can help make major improvements in how employees share information.
For retailers and other businesses with physical customer services locations, video can help to radically simplify merchandising communications. With even just a few frames, a short video walk-through of a sample display can make clear the instructional diagrams that page after page of text memos so often can’t. Today’s video technologies can even enable multi-camera recording, making it possible for merchandising teams to fully present each new plan for each store. It’s the next best thing to sending a team member in person, with a significantly improved ROI.
Best of all, whereas even only a few years ago the prospect of regularly producing and sharing this type of instructional content would have required extensive coordination with dedicated AV professionals and still would have been difficult for on-location staff to view, today’s modern enterprise video platforms have made virtually every aspect of recording and watching video much easier. Merchandising teams can record sample displays on location right from their laptop or mobile device, recording multiple angles with any camera they choose. And retail staff can watch those tutorials with ease on their personal smartphones or in-store tablets — even taking those devices right to the displays in question and following along step by step.
With something as important to your brand as the appearance of your stores, video merchandising communications are a smart, simple way to be sure your customers see your stores exactly the way you want them to.
This article was originally published on Panopto’s blog