Report and a blueprint

  • Category:
    Marketing
  • Document type:
    Assignment
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
  • Page:
    4
  • Words:
    2700

Introduction

Service blueprint refer to visual or graphical representation of processes involved in providing service in a business. It’s intended to provide clear and objective understanding of service process involved in provision of services to all people (Seyring and Dornberger, 2009). For this assignment, clothing retail store was chosen (Appendix). It involves sale of clothing through various channels of distribution. Management, customer service, organization structure, and retail store reputation are some of services of this organization that will be blueprinted. The reasons for choosing these services follow the need for identifying areas to improve in service delivery. These services provide means for service recovery strategies such as service problem identification, root courses analysis and even process modification. Analysing clothing retail store blueprint will enhance understanding of how service blue printing works and it’s designed.

Section A: Three key front customer actions and why they are critical to a successful service experience.

In service blue printing, customer actions refer to choices, steps, interactions or activities that customers perform while purchasing, evaluating or consuming a service (Singh, 2014). The blueprint details various customer actions. First, the action of browsing that allows the customers to select their preferred choice. Additionally, fitting action whereby customers try out their preferred choice to justify the selection that best suits them. Lastly, inquiring action where customers interact with sale representatives within the store. The following actions are very critical to the success of service experience.

Fitting provides customer with an informed choice regarding purchase clothes. According to Laney (2009), 71% of people who use fitting rooms to try out clothes they wish to buy have high chances of purchase compared to those who just browse on sale floor. Further, she argued that customers who are provided with fitting room purchase three times of what browsers buy. Fitting services not only increase probability to buy but also reduce product return due to fit issues. It provides customers with decisions which are profitable to the store and also efficient and enjoyable to the customers (Laney, 2009). It acts as a means of building customer loyalty.

Browsing refer to customers to the act of customer searching available products as presented in store. It’s a critical action that offers the customer different options to choose from. Apart from aiding customers to make different selection, browsing provide means by which management use to observe its customers. Through browsing, the management can learn specific customer behaviours (BenhamzaNsairi, 2012). It provides means of determining consumer needs as well as aiding in decision making. Moreover, it aids the management to determine shopping behaviours for its customers (Grewal, Levy and Kumar, 2009).

Enquiries are critical to service delivery in retails stores. They are form of customer satisfaction indicators that help retail store to turn first time regulars. Through enquiring, management gathers feedback actions which aid them in providing better services and products to customers (BenhamzaNsairi, 2012). Further, through enquiring, sales representatives find root causes of customer challenges, repeated problems and hence take actions to resolve them. Additionally, enquiring enhances customer relationship which creates bond of repeated business. Consequently, the store benefits with more sales, profits and better reputation.

Section B: Three key front-stage contact employee and why they are critical to successful service experience of a customer

Customer service

The blueprint depicts various contact employees actions. Customer service is a major contact employee action in the blueprint. According to Clottey, Collier and Stodnick (2011), customer service refers to support offered to customers that enables them to have easy and enjoyable moments with an organisation. It is noted that customer service is intended to provide professional, helpful and quality services before, during and after meeting customer requirements. Greeting of customers, taking their questions and guiding customers to fitting rooms are elaborate examples of customer service from the blueprint (Clottey, Collier and Stodnick, 2011). Customer service is critical to success of service experience of the customer. It serves an important purpose in business success. Better customer service entails understanding different customers need, keeping customer promises as well as delivering high standards consistently (Gallon et al., 2008). Offering customer service creates the impression of care toward customers. Customers who are offered sense of care have likelihood of referring other people to purchase good from that place. This in the long run builds a better business reputation.

Store management

Store management by store managers is another critical contact employee action for successful service experience of customer. It refers to the aspect of overseeing activities such as sales performance and staff supervision in retail stores. According to Netemeye et al, (2010) store manager performance and satisfaction are necessary to enhance customer satisfaction and experience in retail stores. They note that managers are on the forefront in creating climate for service delivery within retail stores. They are in frequent contact with customers where they follow outlined norms that positively influence the customers. When managers serve customers well, they positively impact them as they perceive that someone in senior role takes effort and time to serve them in pleasant manner (Bitner et al, 2008). Additionally, they create climate that shape retail store experiences which affect customer satisfaction.

Promotion activity

Promotion activity is another front stage contact employee action that is critical to successful service experience of a customer. Promotion refers to communicating to target market with the attempts of influencing them towards purchase of products or service. According to Kamaladevi (2009), for businesses to compete successfully in business lifetime, retailers must focus on buying experiences of their customers. Retail stores engage in sales promotions as means of customer motivation. Promotional services not only motivate customers to purchase but also turn buyers into loyalty customers. Additionally, since customers have to select from a wide range of similar products, promotions act as decision making tool for purchasing (Andajani, 2015).

Section C: Three key elements of physical evidence and discussion of how they influence customer experience

Physical evidence refer to all tangible items that customers are exposed to which influence their quality perception. They are representation of environment where services are delivered; where the business and customers interact (Bitner et al. 2008). In retail stores, tangible evidence include Point of Sale (POS), display, sales representatives in uniform, price tags, fitting room and parking lot. Among these, the major physical evidence includes display, sales representatives in uniform and fitting rooms (Bitner et al, 2008).

Display, normally termed as visual merchandising refers to everything customers see that creates positive business image. It’s aimed at creating attention, desire, interest and action towards customer. Displays are vital for retails store. Attractive retail display not only draws customers to the business but also create awareness thus increasing retail brand loyalty to consumers. According to Rayner and Molson (2010), visual merchandising acts as a form of engaging and inspiring customers. It encourages them to buy products the retail business wants them to buy. Retail business display should be appealing to the eyes of customers. Rayner and Molson noted that customers are attracted to displays that catch their eyes. They further argue that the more they linger on a product, the more chances they will purchase a product. Hence, retail business should invest in attractive displays that influence customers.

Being in uniform in workplace not only makes workers to stand out but also to distinguish them from the cloud. It makes them easy to notice. Having workers in uniform increases customer service. It enables customers to determine who to turn to for help. Moreover, it makes easier for customers to locate them and get what they desire (Heysham, 2004). Additionally, sales representatives in uniform influence customer experience by demonstrating the business image and brand. Retail organizations should invest in employee uniform with the intention of creating first impression to customers.

Fitting rooms

According to Laney (2015), customers must try their selection in order to make purchasing decisions. She argues that fitting rooms are crucial for success of retail business. Fitting room enhance customer influence by the fact that those who enter fitting room are 3 times likely to purchase a product from the store. Customers who do not use fitting room have the double likelihood of returning part of their purchase. Fitting rooms are important piece of customer experience and can act as sales driver for the business. According to Laney (2015), customers who use fitting room are 7 times more likely to purchase a product. Further, they improve customer experience by boosting real world connection whereby store attendants communicate directly with the customers. In this note, customers who are assisted by sales representatives /attendants while using the fitting rooms purchase twice the amount of products purchased by not assisted customers (Ayalp et al., 2016). Retail store have to utilize fitting rooms to influence their customer decisions.

Section D: Description of three fail points/bottlenecks

Retail stores operate on simple concepts of buying goods, placing them on shelves and then selling to make profit. However, they face numerous challenges in their operations ranging from expenses in running the stores, competition for customers or even unforeseen obstacles. The blueprint depicts several fail points within the retail store industry. These include; technology, economic factors, management/leadership problems, security, or even price sensitive consumers.

Technology

Currently, technology has made tremendous changed customer’s expectations and how things operate. Technology evolution has seen shift in how businesses operate. Shoppers can now purchase products from anywhere, whenever they feel like and from whomever they choose (Mehra, 2012). It has brought up the idea of show room whereby customers use brick and mortar store to view products from one store, compare prices with the competitors while online and later buy them online (Rayner and Molson, 2010). In the long run, this affects business by reducing sales.

Report and a blueprint

Management

Additionally, retail stores face the fail point of management/ leadership problems. Even though retail stores with many outlets enjoy economies of scale resulting from selling high volumes at lower prices, managing them is challenging (Waksman, 2016). The retail store may overreach its limits thus getting too big to manage. Having many outlets too quickly can lead to business bankruptcy. This results to logistic problems, staffing issues, or even supplies problems. Further, retail stores leaders may be entrepreneur from the start of the business but some are not ready to face management issues when the business matures (Di, 2012).

Report and a blueprint 1

Economic factors

Economic factors are yet another fail point for retail store. By economy being cyclical, retail business periodically undergo through low economic times. Retail industry may faces uncertainties such as terror attacks, natural disasters in the future (Waksman, 2016). When economy of a nation prospers, people spend more thus increasing retail industry revenues. However, recession periods exhibit declined or slow retail growth rates. During this period, consumers lose confidence; stop buying products thus forcing businesses to go to defensive mood. Following this, unemployment levels increase following mass layoff. During hard economic times, retail industry faces potential breakdown (Di, 2012).

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Section E: Possible solutions/alternatives

To address the challenge of technology, retailers need to search for new means that engage customers in all channels. According to Gahran (2012), retailers can counter show-rooming phenomena by providing great customer services to its customers and strengthening product availability. She noted that a high percentage of shoppers are more likely to buy what they find in stores if they are assisted by knowledgeable and trustworthy store associates. Moreover, Gahran notes that retail business can offer competitive prices and free shipping services to its customers as a means of countering show-rooming incidents. For example, Walmart struck a deal with Facebook that will allow customers to connect with the retail chain stores (Di, 2012). For the retail stores with online services, shoppers are able to use their phones and analyse product ratings and reviews prior to making a purchase. This leads to the need for the online stores to regularly monitor their online reviews. Being given a positive review works in favour of the online store (Gahran, 2012).

To counter management/ leadership problems retail business need to employ people with experience and ability to identify and handle problems before they get out of hand. Problems associated with overexpansion can be reduced through retail adequate preparation as well as balancing company long term need with short term challenges (Vasumathi and Subashini, 2015). Additionally, retail firms build their own logistic systems to manage the logistic issues. According to Gupta and Bijlani (2012), developing proper logistics has substantial impacts on profit, provides business with substantial competitive advantage over competitors as well opening new business opportunity. For example, Fipkart and Yebhi of India offer free shipping and flexible return policies with the aim of making their online service more palatable (Gupta and Bijlani, 2012). Even though it’s hard for retail business to predict economy change, management need to prepare for unpredicted situations through financial planning or even scenario training(Srividya, 2016). Srividya further noted that retail business opt diversify their market reach not only on physical stores but also on online markets. Further, retail stores need to search for other markets in established nations which have limited chances of economic down turn or political unrest(Gupta and Bijlani, 2012). Additionally, retail store should work towards building their reputation advertising more and providing essential services to their customers (Srividya, 2016).

Conclusion

Service blueprint is an important business tool that enables potential business organizations to identify potential failures and make the required decisions to prevent from happening. It provides important technique of examining service delivery within an organization. Additionally, service blueprint flow chart is important to business organizations. They isolate fail points in service delivery as well as facilitating in problem solving and creative thinking. Further, analysing retail store blueprint has enabled in understanding how service blue printing works and designed

References

Andajani, E. (2015). Understanding Customer Experience Management in Retailing.Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 211, pp.629-633.

Ayalp, N., Yildirim, K., Bozdayi, M. and Cagatay, K. (2016).Consumers’ evaluations of fitting rooms in retail clothing stores.International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 44(5), pp.524-539.

BenhamzaNsairi, Z. (2012). Managing browsing experience in retail stores through perceived value: implications for retailers. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 40(9), pp.676-698.

Bitner, M., Ostrom, A. and Morgan, F. (2008). Service Blueprinting: A Practical Technique for Service Innovation. California Management Review, 50(3), pp.66-94.

Clottey, T., Collier, D. and Stodnick, M. (2011). Drivers Of Customer Loyalty In A Retail Store Environment. JSS, 1(1), p.35.

Di, M. (2012).Challenges Facing Today’s Retail Industry. [online] OPEN Forum. Available at: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/challenges- facing-todays-retail-industry/. Accessed 13 Oct. 2016.

Gahran, A. (2012). How to Get Mobile ‘Showrooming’ Shoppers to Buy More In-Store. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225143 Accessed 13 Oct. 2016.

Gallon, A., Silva, T., Hein, N. and Olinquevitch, J. (2008).Evaluation of the Importance of Attributes in Customer Satisfaction with Supermarkets in the Mid-Valley Region of Itajaí — SC. Review of Business Management, pp.150-160.

Grewal, D., Levy, M. and Kumar, V. (2009). Customer Experience Management in Retailing: An Organizing Framework. Journal of Retailing, 85(1), pp.1-14.

Gupta, S. and Bijlani, T.(2012). E-commerce in Asia: challenges and opportunities. Asia Business Insights.

Heysham, F. (2004). Keep the uniform in the workplace. Nursing Standard, 18(51), pp.31-31.

Laney, M. (2009).Are retailers under-valuing the importance of fitting rooms? Available at: http://www.retailcustomerexperience.com/articles/are-retailers-under-valuing-the- importance-of-fitting-rooms/ Accessed 11 Oct. 2016.

Mehra, A., Kumar, S. and Raju, J.S., 2013. ‘Showrooming’and the Competition between Store and Online Retailers. Available at SSRN 2200420.

Netemeyer, R., Maxham, J. and Lichtenstein, D. (2010). Store manager performance and satisfaction: Effects on store employee performance and satisfaction, store customer satisfaction, and store customer spending growth. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(3), pp.530-545.

Rayner, C. and Molson, K. (2010).Why is visual merchandising important?. [online] Retail Acumen: Delivering Excellence in Retail. Available at: https://retailacumen.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/why-is-visual-merchandising- important/Accessed 12 Oct. 2016.

Singh, R. (2014). India’s Service Sector – Shaping Future of Indian Retail Industry.Procedia Economics and Finance, 11, pp.314-322.

Srividya, N. (2016). Retail Online Kirana Stores. Indian Journal of Science and Technology, 9(21).

Vasumathi, A. and Subashini, R. (2015). Issues and challenges faced by organised and unorganised retail outlets of food and grocery in India — an empirical study. International Journal of Services and Operations Management, 22(3), p.336.

Waksman, K. (2016). Retail Industry Problems: Top 10 Reasons Some Wholesale Stores Fail. [online] The Balance. Available at: https://www.thebalance.com/retail-industry- problems-10-reasons-wholesalers-fail-3502288 [Accessed 13 Oct. 2016].

Appendix

Retail store service blueprint

Report and a blueprint 3