It is important, from time to time, to physically look at what your competition is doing and to visit stores you hear good things about, even if they are out of your area. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of a ‘comp shop’ experience.
- Identify why a particular store is worth a ‘comp shop’. Do you share the same product lines, have similar price points, share similar values or have a common aesthetic.
- Determine what you want to accomplish from the visit. Your goals should always include finding positive things you would like to incorporate into your store. If you only focus on things your store already does better, your trip will not be beneficial.
- Pay attention to customers shopping the comp store. If you choose to ‘comp shop’ a store similar to your own, the two stores’ customers will share similar characteristics. How are customers responding to the store’s merchandising? Are customers familiar with store programs?
- Pretend to be a customer. Ask clerks questions or for assistance regarding something not easily understood by a typical customer.
- Walk the entire store, not just the produce department. Flow through the store as if you were shopping for your family’s groceries, and take notes on any positive things you notice. When you return to your store, share your notes with the relevant department managers.
- When possible, take pictures for easy future reference. When you return to your store, having photos will provide a physical reminder of the ideas you gained.
By following these guidelines, you will get the most out of your comparison shopping experience. Ultimately each visit should result in identifying new ideas with potential for your store.