When assigning staff responsibilities for visual merchandising it is important to set clear and measurable guidelines for each task. Ensuring each task is directly related to the visual merchandising plan anchors those to business objectives and helps staff understand their importance.
Building the tasks into daily, weekly and monthly visual merchandising housekeeping schedules helps staff keep track of what must be done when and to which tasks to prioritise when time is short.
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Establish VM rosters and schedules
Retail businesses come in all shapes and sizes, as do the physical bricks-and-mortar stores they build to host their product and offer a tangible customer shopping experience. Rosters and schedules for visual merchandising housekeeping and maintenance will therefore vary greatly in both format and content. However, it can be helpful to consider some of the potential elements and the frequency with which they might be included.
A high priority for all retailers, stock replenishment is generally done after or before store opening hours to ensure the ideal store offer is presented to customers at the start of each day. At a store level, stock replenishment involves taking product from the storeroom either directly to the shop floor or to storage on the shop floor to replace stock that has been sold.
Whether stock replenishment reporting is completed automatically or manually, it still needs to be physically taken from boxes or a storeroom and appropriately displayed on the shop floor and this needs to be included on daily VM housekeeping schedules.
Stock displayed on the floor may also need to be replenished throughout the day. Ideally this is done from shelving or drawers on the shop floor as this has already been allocated to the floor and is unlikely then to impact stock replenishment reporting.
Generally scheduled for the start or end of the day outside store opening hours, maintenance of the store exterior may involve checking the following:
- External signage lighting is in full working order
- Front entrance and pavement is clear of leaves, dirt, dust, rubbish and papers
- Exterior garbage bins hidden away from customer view and all garbage including cardboard boxes disposed of appropriately
As the biggest visual draw cards for prospective customers windows are a high priority and need to be maintained daily.
An often forgotten element of the visual merchandising housekeeping schedule is lighting maintenance.
Point of sale
A clear and clean point of sale desk is an essential element of any professional retail operation benefiting both the staff and customer experience.
Often a magnet for little children and their sticky fingers, mirrors must be kept sparkling clean to reflect customers and products at their best.
Fixtures & fittings
Part of any general daily cleaning schedule is a check of fixtures and fittings. As customers are encouraged to look through merchandise to select their preferred items, tidying throughout the day is a must and a final tidy before store close allows morning staff to arrive to a fresh and tidy store minimising their morning housekeeping routine.
A check of change / fitting rooms is an important part of the daily routine. Before store opening make sure change rooms are clear and clean, lighting is in working order and doors tops have been dusted.
Vacuuming or sweeping either at the beginning or end of the day is essential remembering to reach under raised fixtures and tables.
Stock rotation & consolidation
Retail stores benefits from frequent changes to visual merchandising. Stock is often moved from location to location within the store and consolidated as it nears sell through or withdrawal.
Communicate VM schedules
Once visual merchandising rosters and schedules are created, evaluated for their alignment with business objectives and balanced with other responsibilities of relevant staff it is time to implement them.
This requires three stages:
- Decide which staff are to be allocated VM housekeeping responsibilities i.e. all or specific floor staff, supervisors, product specialists
- Ensure all staff required to take on VM housekeeping responsibilities are trained and have access to the appropriate resources to support their tasks
- Build the VM housekeeping responsibilities into staff rosters
Throughout the three stages communication is key. Checklists can support efficiency and allocated timing on daily rosters with the buy-in of store management can make clear that the tasks are role requirement rather than an option if the time is available.
About ARA Retail Institute
ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au