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Why Visual Merchandising is More Important than You Think

A myriad of brands are fighting with one another to gain customers’ attention. What is one of the crucial elements for deciding their success or failure at this attempt? Visual Merchandising (VM) could be the answer. Undeniably, impeccable visual merchandising is a great way for retail stores to increase their footfall and gain a competitive advantage.  Stimulating the consumers is no longer a matter of just displaying the goods but focusing on the quality and aesthetics of the displays has become imperative for brands and stores alike. Visual merchandising is a retail strategy that is important in enhancing aesthetics of a product with the intent to increase customer attention and maximize sales. Still not convinced on why VM should be a part and parcel of retail stores?Request Proposal

 Here’s why visual merchandising is important, and you should not ignore it:

Positive shopping experience

Let’s face it, the more effort you put into your display, the more are your chances of getting customers’ attention. By displaying and promoting the products in a manner that encourages higher sales, retail stores will create a more enjoyable shopping experience for the customers. Shoppers tend to appreciate the attention to detail that goes into window displays and other visual merchandising materials because it’s the small things such as this that will make a store stand out from the rest.

Easier to locate products

Put yourselves in the shoes of the customer and think of the frustration you would go through if you have to spend 5-10 minutes just searching different aisles in retail stores to locate a product? visual merchandising is the solution to combat this problem. When a product is properly displayed, it will catch shoppers’ attention, guiding them towards it. For instance, displaying a new arrival in clothing on a mannequin will make it easier for customers to locate the product.

Helps introduce new products

In case of a new product launch, there is nothing that works better for retail stores than visual merchandising. It is obvious that customers will be discouraged to buy your product if they do not understand its utility or how it functions. Though some may purchase it merely out of curiosity, the majority will choose to pass. Visual merchandising can help retail stores explain new products to shoppers.

Enhanced brand identity

Brand identity in simple terms refers to something that the customers identify the brand with. The right type of visual merchandising can help build an identity around your brand. For instance, when Victoria’s Secret developed their new brand PINK, they stepped away from the more mature and provocative nature of visual merchandising and went with a more playful vibe. This has helped them build a brand identity that appeals to their target audiences of young adults and teenagers.

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5 Big Challenges Facing the Retail Industry

The retail industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. With more number of retailers slowly expanding their business from brick and mortar to online retail stores, there is no looking back for players in this industry. But on the flip side, the retail industry is not entirely a bed of roses. Companies in the retail industry constantly endure various hindrances to improve their profits and simultaneously stay relevant in the market. One of the major challenges for players in the retail industry is to adapt themselves to the constant shifts and twists in the market.  Furthermore, savvy shoppers even tend to spend a lot of time researching their purchases – and consider the entire customer experience before actually making a purchase. With increased exposure to the internet and social media, retail customers are not gullible anymore and are spoilt for choice. This puts retailers in a ‘do or die’ position to survive in the market. But the hurdles for retail stores does not end here. We have curated five of the biggest challenges that companies in the retail industry need to pay heed to right now:Request Proposal

Top retail industry challenges

Digital disruption

Customer behavior is changing rapidly. While ecommerce has its effect on brick-and-mortar stores, the market trends indicate that customers prefer purchasing most products in-store. However, customers are using the Internet to do reconnaissance work – that is, search online for product information, compare the best prices, and identify complementary products. While e-commerce now accounts for approximately 10% of all retail sales, estimates by various industry experts suggest that web-influenced physical store sales are about 5X online sales.

In-store experience

Modern customers are extremely choosy owing to a large number of options they have in hand. What could differentiate companies in the retail industry from one another is the in-store experience that they provide the customers. Shoppers want remarkable experiences when they enter a store. They want to enjoy personalized experiences, interact with products, and engage their senses with creative sights, smells, tastes, and touch. Virtual reality, showrooming, and other experiential retail strategies can position companies in the retail industry at the top of their category when experiential retail is done well. Trailblazers like Sephora, Nordstrom, and Anthropologie serve as great examples for retail industry players to improve their customers’ in-store experience.

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Top KPI Metrics to Squeeze More Dollars From Your Retail Store

For a long time, retail stores have been using pretty straightforward KPI metrics to measure their performance. The performance was usually measured in terms of physical transactions, including costs, margins, stock turnover, and like-for-like sales. Such KPI metrics typically omit the customer relationship side of the business or individual segment potential. At a time when the retail industry is highly competitive, they have to look at various facets of their operations to improve themselves and deliver superior results. So what are the top KPI metrics retail stores shouldIR_Brochure focus on to improve their productivity?

Sale per square foot

Total sales/total surface area in sq.ft.

Real estate expenses are one of the most significant spend areas for retail stores. Retail stores usually pay out large sums of money for the lease, rent, or purchase of prime real estate locations. Thereby, it is crucial for them to generate maximum revenue from the available space. Sale per square foot is an essential retail KPI as it can benchmark performance of small retail stores against larger ones. Additionally, the metrics also tells a lot about the effectiveness of the store layout and the performance of the sales personnel.

Average customer spend

Total sales/number of transactions

One of the most obvious goals of a retail store is to get customers to spend more. Average customer spend calculates the average amount customers are spending during each purchase. Average number of units per transaction (UPT) is another form of this KPI metrics. These metrics depend on the type of retail stores as customers’ spend will be higher in an electronics store, whereas UPT will be higher in grocery stores. Average customer spend can be helpful for retailers to segment their customers in order to plan their sales and marketing efforts accordingly.

Conversion rate

(total transactions/total shopper traffic) *100%

The conversion rate is a simple metrics which calculates how many visitors have been converted into a shopper. For data capturing purpose, sensors from the door counter can keep track of total number of visitors and number of transactions can be retrieved from the POS system. Analyzing conversion rates can provide insights into staffing requirements and promotional efficiency. Retailers can gauge their promotional campaigns based on the conversion rate. A low conversion rate usually signifies poor marketing effort or inadequate performance from sales associates.

Year over year (YoY) percentage change in sales

((sales for time period this year/sales for time period last year)-1) *100%

Financial goal or wealth maximization is the goal of every business in existence. The same holds true for retail stores as well, since retailers measure year over year percentage change in sales to assess the growth rate. However, retailers should be careful while using this KPI metrics for performance measurement as it does not take into account shopper behavior changes, economic fluctuations, or other external factors.

Sell through rate

Number of units sold (time period)/starting on-hand inventory for the period

Sell through rate is the ratio between the number of units sold in a particular period and the starting on-hand inventory for that period. This KPI metrics gives an overview of the amount of inventory a retail store is able to sell in a given period. A higher sell-through rate indicates better performance as the retailer is able to sell most of its stock and maintain an optimum level of inventory. Sell through rate becomes even more critical for seasonal merchandizes as retailers want to sell most of the stock before the season ends.

Year over year (YoY) percent change in shopper traffic by time period

((traffic for time period this year/traffic for time period last year)-1) *100%

YoY change in shopper traffic provides an insight into the reasons why shopper traffic is fluctuating. For instance, a positive change in the local economy can steer shoppers towards the retail store. Additionally, it can also help retailers plan inventory and sales personnel to cater to the demand of the changing shopper traffic.

For more information on the top KPI metrics in the retail industry, retail metrics, KPI reporting, and KPI analysis:

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Counting Down the Pioneers of the eCommerce Business

The shopping habits of the consumers across the world has changed significantly. Today, they prefer to make purchases from the comfort of their home. Online shopping is rapidly replacing traditional store shopping. Although traditional retailing still accounts for a significant portion of the retail sales, the trend has been shifting with digital retail growing at an unprecedented rate. The increasing use of internet and smartphone has also fueled the growth of the e commerce business. In order to attain further growth prospects and provide the best possible customer IR_Brochureexperience, top players have been continually tinkering with the e commerce business models.

Top players in the global e commerce business

#5 – Alibaba

Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce giant which executes about 80% of China’s e-commerce transactions. The company was founded by Jack Ma in 1999 as a business-to-business (B2B) sales platform. Today however, they offer a wide range of products and services including electronic payment services, shopping search engines, and data-centric cloud computing services. The company also runs a business to consumer marketplace under the brand name Tmall and a consumer to consumer marketplace similar to eBay called Taobao. The company also pioneered the concept of Single’s day which generated record sales of $25 billion in 2017.

#4 – Walmart

Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, makes it to number four on the list. The presence of the American retailer signifies the growing importance of the e commerce business. Walmart’s focus on e commerce business was even more solidified by the fact that it shut 154 stores in the US and another 115 across the globe in 2016. In order to fight its competitor Amazon, Walmart has invested heavily in their e commerce business and introduced Walmart Pay and OpenOps, a cloud administration service. However, the online business of Walmart currently accounts for 3% of their total revenue.

#3 –  Macy’s

Macy’s is an American department store chain owned by Macy’s Inc. The company owns more than 780 retail establishments across the US, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam. In 2017, Macy’s restructured their retail business to focus on their digital business as they poured in $550 million of investment and also closed down about 68 store locations. The retailers also used services from SAP to gain better insight into customer behavior with predictive analytics.

#2 –, previously known as 360buy, is a Chinese B2C e-commerce company headquartered in Beijing. The company is a member of the Fortune Global 500 and had 266.3 million active users as of September 2017. The company also possess the largest drone delivery system along with superior technology for robotic delivery services, drone delivery airports, and autonomous trucks.

#1 – Amazon

It comes as no surprise that Amazon tops the list of the biggest e commerce business. The company started out as an online book delivery service in 1994 by Jeff Bezos. The company now provides a host of products and services including Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Prime Music, Amazon Web Services, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Alexa, and Amazon Echo. In 2017, the company generated revenues of $178 billion with 566,400 employees across the world. The company owns multiple subsidiaries including Zappos,, Audible, Goodreads, IMDb, and Kiva Systems.

For more information on the top e commerce business, e-retailer, ecommerce solutions, and retail industry:

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Supplier Identification and Profiling for a European Retail Store Helps Reduce Supply Disruptions and Inefficiencies

Currently, innovations in the retail industry have brought about a transformation in the shopping patterns of the customers with the majority of the shopping activities happening through online channels. With the prominent retail stores shifting toward an omnichannel strategy, businesses have started streamlining their efforts to increase store activity, improve retailer profitability, and boost online sales. To improve profitability and achieve greater business efficiency, supplier selection becomes a major concern for retail stores. Supplier selection involves choosing the right suppliers from a pool of suppliers by considering factors such as the value for money, quality, and reliability. In this competitive supplier landscape, targeting the right suppliers involves building an understanding the business requirements and flaws in the supplier selection process to curb instances of poor supplier performance, supply disruption, and inefficiencies. Moreover, an efficient supplier selection process can help retail stores reduce the cost and time-to-market of the products offered and promise better quality products to the customers.

To identify the right supplier from a pool of suppliers and build an effective strategy for promoting the sale of products, leading retail stores are approaching renowned solution providers such as Infiniti. With years of expertise in offering a plethora of solutions, Infiniti’s supplier selection process focuses on lowering costs while delivering better quality in the products offered by the retail stores.

The Business Challenge

A leading retail store with a considerable number of outlets spread across Europe wanted to measure their supplier performance and understand the supplier’s strengths and weaknesses. With the help of a supplier selection process, the client wanted to categorize the level of risks and identify performance gaps to maximize product performance. Furthermore, the client wanted to maintain a stronger business partnership with the suppliers and limit production availability. The primary aim of the European retail client was to streamline their supplier selection process and communicate production delays in times of downtime. With the advent of new retail stores in the market, the client wanted to develop an effective quality management program to build a strong relationship with reliable suppliers.

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Our Approach

To meet the demand for better quality products and regulatory standards, Infiniti’s supplier selection experts carried out extensive interviews and discussions with leading stakeholders in the retail industry. To help the client boost efficiency in their supplier selection process, Infiniti’s retail industry experts also compiled information from a wide array of proprietary sources such industry forums, paid industry databases, and company presentation.

Benefits of Supplier Selection Process

With the help of Infiniti’s scrupulous supplier selection process, the retail store was able to profile the most suitable supplier and assess the performance of the suppliers through useful metrics. The engagement also focused on delivering an accurate and actionable understanding of the suppliers’ behavior and monitored the suppliers’ standards. The engagement also focused on offering strategic insights that would help the client develop a better relationship with the suppliers and promote their business outcomes in Europe. The client was also able to invest sufficient time and refine their existing strategies to gain better visibility into the supply chain process.

Additional Benefits Offered by Infiniti Include:

  • Maintained consistent quality of the products offered and improved reliability and quality from the suppliers
  • Optimized their communication channels and met the deliverables of the consumers
  • Built a strong partnership with the suppliers and curtailed the time-to-market for the products offered

A must-read case study for strategy specialists and decision makers looking to develop an understanding of the growth prospects of retail stores


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