Walk the Store


Walking a Walmart Supercenter never gets old. If you want to know your business well, you have to read your stores, and that is exactly what Sam Walton did.

What is Walking the Store?

Successful brick and mortar retailers follow a best practice called “walking the store.” Store walks provide mission critical insights that answers questions like,

  1. How are we presenting our products, services and our brand to our customers?
  2. Is our store signage clearly visible and understandable?
  3. Are our products presented correctly?
  4. Are our shelves fully stocked or are we missing key items?
  5. Does placement of marked-down merchandise detract from higher-priced new arrivals?
  6. Is the store clean and well maintained?
Walk the Store Aisle

To give customers the best possible in-store experience, many retailers walk the floor multiple times per day to ensure these questions, and more like them, are efficiently asked and answered. Performing walk-through audits is such an important part of managing a physical store that you commonly find it referenced as a mandatory requirement for Merchants and Store Managers in job postings .

Does Walking the Store Apply to Online Retailers?

Yes, walking the store is just as important in a web context! Unfortunately, there are many ecommerce teams who fail to consistently do it. Some argue that online is simply different; offering up examples like, “there is nothing to physically inspect for cleanliness on the web!” This mindset leads to all kinds of problems.

There are valid online use cases for each of the in-store questions listed above. Even the question, “Is the store clean and well maintained?” has an online version: “Is the site’s user experience clean and well maintained?” Bugs or a confusing user interface leave customers with a negative feeling just like a poorly maintained facility.

Bottom line, walking your online store helps ensure you are presenting everything to customers in the best light. You might be surprised by how often even great retailers can go astray if they lose focus on this practice. Recite is not a substitute for regularly browsing your online store but it can help you be more efficient and will help you identify sources of problems. Let’s look at a few examples.

Recite can automatically walk your store and archive your site using a wide variety of user agents so you can see if there are problems with specific browsers. In this example, the retailer is not compatible with older browsers and provides a warning.

Kmart and Old Browsers

Recite can also automatically walk your store and archive your site emulating mobile devices. Back in 2015, CDW’s mobile experience used non-standard UI elements but today they have a clean, modern experience. Recite’s archiving feature allows you to track and see how your site experience evolved so you can tie improvements (and failures!) to your analytics. CDW must have seen conversion improvements with this user experience upgrade.

CDW’s Mobile Experience

Recite can help you identify subtle changes that you might miss when walking your store. In the example below, Hanna Andersson made a small but meaningful change in their site navigation. Can you detect the change they made in these snippets from their header?

Hanna Andersson's Header

Some pages may be dependent on JavaScript which can cause problems with usability and negatively impacts SEO. A Recite customer had this issue and displayed the error below.

JavaScript Disabled
JavaScript Disabled Error

With the help of Fearless Technology Group (FTG) the retailer upgraded to a universal react application so the issue is now resolved.

These are just a few examples where Recite can make a huge difference when you walk the floor of your ecommerce business.

Recommendations

  1. Each merchant in your organization performs a one-time configuration of Recite to automatically walk their portion of your online store every day.
  2. Each merchant can then, at their leisure, review key pages from today, from yesterday, or from the more distant past.
  3. If problems are identified, the merchant can address them by sharing the archived page (each Recite archive has an image to make it easy to share) with appropriate colleagues so issues can be resolved.
  4. If your analytics show conversion problems with specific products, if customer browsing characteristics change suddenly, or if you are seeing any other problem, you can use Recite to see exactly what the customer experienced when the problem began to occur.

We hope you walk your store on a regular basis and believe that Recite can enhance your experience and provide a robust history. If you’d like to give Recite a try, you can sign up for a free trial here.