Developing Commercial Awareness

Raising commercial awareness in Retail has become a huge focus.

On a daily basis sound decisions need to be made on layout, stock levels, as well as managing controllable costs – such as payroll budgets. This of course, is in addition to reducing waste, loss prevention, managing people and keeping a close eye on competition.

So how do we apply commercial awareness to our day-to-day activities?

1.      Analyse your data

This is a priority. Before going ahead with any layout changes, you should check where your money is coming from. This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised to know how many managers or visual merchandisers overlook this simple task.

2.     Failure to plan, is a plan to fail

As tempting as it is to go straight in and start making changes instantly, time should be taken to plan. Who will support the changes? Will these team members also be expected to serve customers whilst carrying out the layout changes? When will it be carried out – during trading or out of hours? Do you have enough stock to maintain your new initiative or is the sole purpose to drive down stock levels on specific items?

3.     Implementation

The plan is complete, the team are raring to go…… do you have all the equipment and tools you need to complete the task effectively? This should have been included as part of your planning – and should also include a diagram of the new layout of fixtures/mannequins etc, if applicable.

4.     Evaluation

Once deciding how long the changes will be left for – evaluation must take place. The most important question you should be asking at this stage is – was there an improvement? Whatever the performance is – improvement or not – you should have an idea of what caused it to perform the way it did. Then the next thing to consider is – do I keep it for another week or do I change it again?

The cycle begins – repeat step 1

For ideas on identifying operational ways to improve the profitability of your business, or to develop further understanding of commercial awareness click here

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