Drive Sales By Understanding Your Competition: Store Tours

 In Be The Leader, How To

How does your business compare to your competition when it comes to customer service? What about your product & service offerings? What about the general appearance of your location?

Often we “think” we know what the competition is doing, but do we really know? How can you drive sales by “beating” your competition when you don’t know how or what they are doing?

The best way to know what your competition is doing (and not doing) is to experience it first-hand by touring. Be a secret shopper of your competition!

Here are the basic steps for conducting a successful Store Tour:

1. Select Your Topics- What do you want to explore? Customer service? In-store signage? Product offerings? The world (or, at least your neighborhood) is your oyster.

2. Store Tour Key Steps – Divide your employees or leadership into teams, and visit various locations. Each team should (stealthily) take notes, prepare a casual presentation and share findings with the other teams. Next, use the information from all your teams to drive change in your business!

3. What to Look For – Based on your industry and the topics you’re looking for, you need to make a list of specific items to look for. For example,  how many types of cupcakes do they offer? Is there an open kitchen? How helpful are the sales associates? How does their location look, feel, and smell? How does this differ from your location?

4. Details – At every business you visit, you should be looking for certain details that you can compare across industry (What’s your first impression? How is the product presented? What signage do they use in store?)

5. Back at the Office – On the same day as the tour, each team should share their assigned topics, where they went and their key findings. Next, think about what your business should start doing, stop doing and continue doing based on the neighborhood tours.

All of these “small” things add up to one big thing – the customer experience. And how a customer feels when they are in your location might make them always decide to come back to you for what they need, or check out the competition because they are dissatisfied.

Have you ever been a secret shopper of your competition? How did it go? What did you learn? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!

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