The retail store has changed greatly in recent years with the growth of online shopping. The role of the retail stores for many businesses is completely different than what it has been in the past. Steve Jobs helped redefine retail with the opening of his Apple stores. And other retailers have been following his lead. A very competitive environment has made the retail experience critical for brands that are trying to lure in new customers and then keep them. GoCanvas has seen this change first-hand as more and more retailers have come to GoCanvas for customized inspection apps, quality control apps, merchandising apps, and more.
I was listening to “All Things Considered” on NPR (National Public Radio) recently and they did a 3-part series on the past, present, and future of retail. The piece on the present really struck me with some of the work we have been doing here at GoCanvas. It is titled “More Shoppers Gravitate Toward ‘Brand Stories'”. You can read a transcript of the piece and/or listen to it on the NPR website.
Basically the piece concludes that retail stores today are trying to tell a story about their brand when you are in their stores. It is about the brand as a lifestyle. Think about Starbucks. Or Apple. Those brands illicit certain images and feelings and their retail stores play a huge role in defining those. And brands are even setting up these experiences within other stores. Think about Apple products sold at a Best Buy store. Or Martha Stewart products sold within a JC Penney store. So not only are stores trying to tell a story, but brands within stores are trying to tell a story, too. And if we’re talking about major brands with multiple locations then all locations have to tell the same story.
GoCanvas has worked with retailers and companies that sell their products via retailers to create customized store inspection apps that allow retailers and brands to inspect their stores and displays within stores to make sure they adhere to their strict branding guidelines. You might be selling a sprinkler system through Home Depot and want to make sure that that display is set-up properly and stocked properly. If it isn’t, your story is not being told correctly and the consumer walks away with a bad taste in their mouth.
GoCanvas has a lot of great functionality for these retail store inspections. Pictures are easy to capture with GoCanvas. And pictures very clearly can illustrate a problem in a retail store. A user of GoCanvas can snap a picture and insert it directly into their report without having to go back to the office, pull the image file off of her phone, and then insert it into a Word or Excel document. Barcodes can be scanned with GoCanvas. A user could scan a barcode on a display and the GoCanvas app could automatically display the store number, store name, and address of that display. Or maybe it displays the amount of inventory that should be stocked in that particular display. Using our Reference Data feature, it is very easy to auto-populate data in an app for a user in the field. The user’s location could be captured via our GPS feature, too.
Want another idea? Outfit all of your employees with a GoCanvas store inspection app customized for your business and whenever they are in a store (on their own time) and see a problem then encourage them to quickly fill out a GoCanvas app and send it in! Your employees know how your stores should look so if they are out an about in a store they don’t work in, they could provide excellent feedback for you. Run an internal contest for the person that turns in the most inspections.
All of the information can be captured and transmitted to a store manager or the home office right away. Problems can be identified sooner and therefore resolved sooner. In this competitive market, you want as few negative experiences for your customers as possible. One negative experience can become a social media sensation within a matter of minutes. The smartphone has turned every shopper into an inspector of sorts!
Get started today! Contact Canvas with questions about how we can streamline (Or create!) your retail store inspection process.