EMG Perspective – Spring 2017

Ron’s Corner

Reinventing the Customer Experience

Make it exceptional. Make it memorable.


Convenience. Speed. Price. Today’s consumers demand these attributes, which are easily delivered by e-tailers with a few clicks of the mouse. Amazon Prime is a great example of a brand that offers all three. So, what are traditional retailers grounded in physical locations to do?

To better compete and thrive, bricks and mortar stores need to draw in Ron Stupicustomers by delivering exceptional, memorable customer experiences that begin before the in-store visit. Retailers, especially those in technology, must continually reinvent themselves to avoid the meteoric hit of extinction that we’ve seen in a vast number of store closings across the retail landscape (Sears, Kmart, Rue21, Payless ShoeSource, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, and more) and align their brands with current and future consumer preferences.

Based on our remodel, branding rollout, building upgrade, planned capital program, and project management experience with a variety of retailers across the country, we’ve compiled a few ideas for your consideration that all involve selling more than just products on a shelf. Here’s how your retail brand can reimagine the customer experience without losing its original identity.

Customer Experience: Understand Preferences. Adapt. Sell it!

  • Determine what compels a customer to visit your store.
  • How fresh is your store environment?
    • Typically,  remodels of “paint, flooring, merchandising, and lighting” are no longer enough.
  • What can your employees do to personalize the experience and delight your customers? Exemplary service should be synonymous with your brand.
  • Are you always asking your customers what they like best and least about their shopping experience, and listening to their guidance? Creating operational brand standards and measuring against those standards should be happening continuously.
    • Customer experience management (CEM or CXM) is the collection of processes a company uses to track, oversee, and organize every interaction between a customer and the organization throughout the customer lifecycle.

Technology Pre-Visit: Are you leveraging technology in advance of a store visit?

  • Technology should always be user-friendly across multiple devices and touchpoints.
  • It’s a digital world. Maximize ways to reach your audience before they visit your physical location. Consumers most likely began their experience with your brand via a mobile digital encounter.
  • Align with your executive team, marketing team, store managers and more to provide the maximum benefit of a digital experience that leads consumers to the physical location. Here’s how Tesco makes its ads “helpful”:

“One of our key marketing objectives is to make Tesco advertising ‘helpful’ for our customers. Local awareness ads allow us to show people relevant products and offers at the Tesco stores convenient to them, which is key to delivering on the promise of ‘helpfulness.’ The new store locator functionality builds on this capability and stands out as a great example of how advertising formats can adapt to how people are using their mobile devices.” – Alicia Howard, Head of Social Media and Digital Content, Tesco

Technology In-Store: How are you leveraging technology in-store? Pay attention to what the competition is doing.

Remodels: Gear your remodels toward more experimental areas of the store.

  • We’re all aware of the store within a store concept. This can be done even within a small space. You don’t have to be a department store to benefit from a pop-up shop feel. Reinvent by:
    • Offering wider selections with multiple shopping experiences.
    • Offering rotating goods, unique space planning, and updated signage.

Curb Appeal: Ease of Use and ADA Compliance (always)

No matter which approach to brand reinvention you choose, always consider ADA compliance. Avoid Top ADA Violations while keeping your brand relevant.

  • From parking lots, entrances, lighting, restrooms, service counters, and dressing rooms to employee interactions make sure you appeal to every consumer who could come through your door.

Assets and Conditions: Understand what you have and begin to develop a plan (Capital Plan).

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment and gather real time and real word feedback. Stay relevant and communicate with your consumers and employees.
  • Will your store footprint requirements change? Bigger, smaller, more space for store within a store or pop-up concept, etc.
  • Gather the data and move toward a comprehensive plan.

Start now!

EMG’s Webinar, Remodeling the Customer Experience, delves into actual case studies from top brands demonstrating how we’ve seen future-thinking companies leverage technology, use smaller formats in remodels and renovations all while adhering to project management best practices, and maintain their original brand identity.

Ready to reinvent your brand’s customer experience? EMG can consult with you on branding rollouts, renovations, open store remodels, planned capital programs, and more. Contact Chris Varney, Principal and Senior Vice President to move forward.

The Sheriff: Cliff Stout, Professional Land Surveyor (PLS)

Cliff StoutCliff joined EMG via the May 2016 acquisition of Smith-Roberts National (SRN), an ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey firm based in Oklahoma City, OK. Cliff and the entire SRN team stayed on board to coordinate and review land surveys for EMG clients across the nation.

Glitz and Glamour of Surveys

Survey work can be glamorous, really. It’s not all about Table A Items (a little survey humor). One of Cliff’s favorite projects was surveying The Atlantis…in the EMG ALTA Survey The AtlantisBahamas. The process took several months to complete, resulting in a whopping 112 page survey. This allowed plenty of island exploration, or rather hard work. But, it wasn’t all fun and games. Two of the biggest hurdles were: 1) Weather (aka hurricane season) and 2) Understanding “Island Time.” It was a bit of a learning curve adjusting to local surveyors, the title company, and government officials who worked on their own timeline.

The Sheriff’s in Town

Married to Kelly for 24 years, they share four sons ranging in age from 14 to 21; two in high school and two in college. When not running to track meets and football games, Cliff and his family enjoy water skiing, wake boarding, and involvement with their local church. If you’re ever driving through OKC watch your speed, Cliff is a reserve deputy sheriff. Since 2002, he’s worked three to four shifts per month in the patrol division, parades, special events (President Obama trip to the El Reno Prison), and disaster recovery. He’s always had a passion for law enforcement but didn’t pursue it until after he started his surveying career. Cliff reminds us it’s #nevertoolate to pursue your dreams.

Featured Project: HVAC Asset Management for a National Retail Chain

1,804 Properties in 49 States over 90 days!

EMG was tasked to provide a full chain asset management inventory of all HVAC and refrigeration equipment for a national retailer. To meet the program velocity of a 90-day timeframe, EMG quickly assembled and trained a team of 100 project managers and support staff. All personnel was trained extensively through video documentation created by EMG subject matter experts, followed by a mandated test to validate their HVAC and refrigeration knowledge.

Prior to EMG’s engagement, the client experienced difficulty collecting and managing the data internally, a task further complexed with ongoing installation of new equipment in remodeled stores and new builds. EMG’s proprietary asset management software, AssetCALC™, was able to capture, organize, and share the real-time details of each asset in a comprehensive and customizable format to match their current systems.

EMG delivered all reports within the 90-day timeframe, enabling the Client to make informed and sound decisions extending beyond the 2017 fiscal year for their capital budget. It will continue to benefit from the evergreen management process, as the Client is now equipped with a scalable process to track each asset throughout its life span.

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