You can generate some powerful insights for B2C businesses by taking the customer perspective:
This involves paying an unannounced visit to a store and recording the experience from a customer point-of view
- Prepare a detailed checklist, covering everything about the experience form the shoppers point of view. How easy is the store to find, what was your impression from the outside, was there a greeting, how did they say goodbye?
- Take photos from your phone to record the point-of-sale material, merchandising and store standards.
- If you go once to one store, you will acquire qualitative, anecdotal insights. Several visits to multiple stores on different days. will enable you to generalise your findings.
- You can mystery shop competitors stores, this can be a great assignment to your own staff to broaden them and open their eyes to competitor innovations.
A retail audit involves mapping in depth how retailers present their offer to customers. To go to this depth, you usually need to focus on a single category:
- Pricing – of individual SKUs for comparison and also the pricing hierarchy
- Range – depth of SKUs, number of brands
- Shelf space and racking style
- Location in store and adjacencies
- Merchandising – do they order by brand first or function first? What is eye level, what is on the bottom shelf?
- POS – what is their Point-of-Sale material?
- Promotions – what deals are available?
- Store Standards – are the facing squared up? any damage visible? Any out-of-stocks?
Taking a photo will reduce the time you spend writing notes in front of the shelf.
On pricing, if the retailer has an e-commerce site you can record prices from here, and just confirm with a sample that they are pricing in-store the same as online.
This involves assigning a customer a shopping mission and then observing meticulously how they carry it out:
- Record everything, even if it does not seem important at the time. This is where the most surprising insights come from!
- Have a map to note their movements in the store – which aisles do they go down, where do they pause, what do they look at?
- Interrupt to ask them to explain what they are thinking at key moments – e.g. when they first arrive at the shelf
Online Accompanied Use Cases
This involves assigning a customer an online mission and then observing meticulously how they carry it out. You could assign different types of mission: Search, Purchase, Download, Sign up, other use cases
- Record every click. The insights may lie in the detail!
- Interrupt and ask the customer what they are doing at critical moments – e.g. when they are trying to work out where on the screen to click
- Draw a detailed map of the customer experience, use screen capture software to play it back.
- Test the ease of use on the main online missions for your client’s site and their main competition
- Try both at a PC and mobile
Google provides a number of tools that will help you plan online marketing:
- Google Adwords – How much does each phrase cost in different locations? It is cheap to run a test to find out the conversion rate for your site.
- Google Analytics – Add to sites to generate tracking data
- Google Trends – What words are trending up in searches?
Online/Social Visibility Audit
Getting vivbility in the digital world is increasingly important for every B2C business. Conduct a competitive benchmarking of how your client is doing. Examples of some of the metrics you might use are:
- Rank in search queries of relevent words
- Number of likes on Facebook
- Number of followers and re-tweets in Twitter
By watching stores for a day, you can estimate the key sales drivers over the hours. You can even compare to competitor stores. You can do the same analysis more easily for internet sites using click through rates at different parts of the site.
- Footfall – how many people walk past the store
- Traffic rate – what % of people who walk past the store come in. If you want to be more ambitious, you can try to separate impulse purchase – see the store and decide vs planned purchase – they were coming directly to the shop.
- Conversion rate – what % of people who come in buy
- Average transaction size