The Making of a Great Retail Store: Cleaning for Brand Newness? (Case Study Great Store or Restaurant – Part 15)

It has  been a while since I wrote on these series. Objectives have changed hence subjects change but something came up and since I won’t write an article intended this is a good place to share one idea.

Bad business climate and unstable business plans have led the place I work to seek all kinds of exotic solutions for better business. Remodeling has been one such solution. One of the actions with high expectation for results was the remodeling of active retail stores. This remodeling changed the traditional displays of many years in service to new and advanced displays. That is besides our topic.

The topic is how remodeling built a new business but in time this remodeled stores will turn into another group of used retail stores until certain action has been taken. Maintenance is obviously a top priority to fight the effects of use and time. One solution found was the possibility to man the stores after closing with one or more maintenance persons whom spent the closing hours in cleaning, polishing, fixing, and even stocking of stores. As a side effect this polishing up was emphasized through all stores remodeled or not.

Personally I continued the periodic fixing up of our store which was part of an earlier remodel and since weeks have passed and I still actively work on these activities the process has become an inside joke. Obviously the new culture is not understood nor accepted by many employees and managers of previous culture. In the old culture cleaning is a store process hence things get cleaned periodically. There is no need to clean unless needs to clean and that is subjective. Naturally cleaning happens when happens and again is not our topic.

What is topic is how in following new procedure created for the sake of remodel store preservation we came across an interesting thing. The old culture accepts cleaning and has its own definition what it means to clean,  when to clean etc. The kind of cleaning required after the remodel is not general cleaning. I would say has its own purpose. The remodeling offers new as in brand new set up. In addition to traditional cleaning specific cleaning, polishing and maintenance is needed to preserve this “brand newness” of setup. That is the purpose of this type of clean and maintenance. What does that mean in practical sense?  Let’s say a low traffic store needs cleaning once a week overall. However if we clean for the purpose of maintaining the brand new state some parts of store such as close to the front door need cleaning all the time even several times daily to remain brand new. This is a side effect of the new culture which old culture employees and managers do not understand. Cleaning does not intend to clean always. Cleaning can aim at keep what is clean brand new hence pleasing the customer. They appreciate presentation and don’t care something needs wiping three times daily or gets dusty and after a few days will have a smog film built on. They don’t understand anything about processes and just appreciate or dislike how things are. The old culture also does not understand the difference.

My finding? In order to fight old culture constantly and make cleaning and polishing of areas an automatic process I came across a practical solution. General cleaning requires equipment and supplies. They are somewhere.  This type of cleaning to keep brand new demand action too often and conflicts with the lengthy general cleaning procedure. In response I found that if each station has its own necessary supplies etc right there and dedicated to that station the cleaning to keep brand new becomes super easy and automated. For instance a cabinet close to the front door now has its own supply of wet wipes, gloves, paper towels and so on. Even additional brooms can increase effectiveness and are on order. They hide somewhere in the area eventually. The effect? As soon as an area needs a polish it gets done within seconds or minutes regardless how often needed. This results in consistent maintenance of a brand new state for displays and areas a long time after remodel has died out and forgotten. The old culture naturally will never embrace new solutions but action moves us ahead and closer to achieving our goals such as consistent brand new state regardless of situations, resources or timing. Eventually a new culture will be formed and our end is better results which brand newness supports heavily in retail. I believe this approach can be universally applied.

Photography and Content Composed on Samsung Galaxy Note 3 if you read this


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