Free Store Audit Essay Sample
Walgreens Company is the number one drugstore chain operating in the United States of America. It operates over five thousand self-supporting stores in all fifty states. Its headquarters are situated in Deerfield, Illinois. The company deals with stocking of prescription drugs, cosmetics, groceries, and over the counter medications as well as general merchandise. These stores acts as a one-stop shopping destination for a wide array of customers willing to purchase different kinds of drugs. Bacon (2004) states that the company operates a number of online stores, which increases efficiency of the company as far as meeting the customer needs and demands are concerned. Besides, the strategy is appropriate due to augmented conveniences for customers to access any retail store that is available in the nearest location. Due to its resilience in the market, the company hopes to make several changes in its structure through various strategic ventures such as acquisitions. This move will help the company capture a wide range of customers and make its branches the best retail drugstores worldwide.
Type of Customer
The company endeavors to target a wide range of individual households as their primary customers, who are in search of health, wellness, and beauty products. The company will do it through its wide assortment of products aimed to make customer experience in the store more convenient. A wide variety of products makes the store to be a one-stop shopping destination, where various household essentials are offered to fit customers’ choice and preference. In addition, Bacon (2004) informs that strategic location of a store makes it easier for customers to access it and do their shopping there. This has certainly taken the company a notch higher by making customers experience unique and enticing them to come back again and do their drug shopping at the same store. However, despite the fact that most daily sales are attributed to individual household shopping, the store could still increase its sales if it considered attracting other small retail stores and pharmaceuticals to get used to shopping at this store. This would make company's sales increase and it will realize higher profits due to bulk purchases.
The store stocks a wide variety of products and provides a wide merchandise assortment that makes the store one of the best retail drugstore destinations in Deerfield. In addition, the existence of line continuity, as far as making sure that all legally recognized drugs are available in the store is concerned, makes the store to be one of the most competitive in town. That is, a person, who needs cosmetic products can also shop for other related products inside the store without having to go to another store to look for the same products because they are all available at one spot. This makes merchandise store make sense not only to the management but also to customers, who do their shopping at the store. However, the store does not have enough physicians to provide prescriptions to sell over the counter drugs to individual household. Hellriegel & Slocum (2009) agree that there is a need for the store to hire a bigger number of physicians to provide prescriptions to customers, who may not know the steps required to administer the drug in question.
Merchandise handling is a critical step that the store treats with caution. This means that careful handling of products is ensured all the way from the time the purchase is made to the time the products are safely loaded in customer’s car. Specifically trained personnel are instructed by store's management to carefully load drugs ensuring this through safe packaging, packing, and loading the products. This helps avoid damages, which could lead to losses, thus increasing costs and undesired expenses. Extremely appealing packing equipments are used to ensure the safety of products and minimize damages. Additionally, there exist various electronic checkpoints strategically positioned to avoid any malpractice in the store and maintain order at a desirable level. Pricing strategy used by store's management is designed in a way so that any customer walking into the store could afford the drug he/she needs because there is a variety of products available at various prices to suit customers' abilities and preferences at any given point. Despite all these endeavors, the store could still improve handling of its merchandise by simply creating a delivery team to make deliveries without customers having to be physically present.
Location of the Store
Store’s strategic location encourages almost all people to make impulse purchases because of its corner location. The store is located at the corner, where the traffic flow is intense and this position favors most of its sales. This means that during traffic snarl up, people stop by to do their shopping in the store, which makes its sales to increase during these times. Besides, strategic positioning of the store makes it possible to attract a large number of customers. The store also has various inherent features of attraction that easily attract customers to do their shopping in the store. This was designed purposely so that the store could suit the target market and could satisfy the needs of target customers in the most effective way. The store operates on 24-hour basis providing both services and products. This is made possible by having several shifts of employees in the store. Notably, this strategy has helped the company thrive among other competitors in town and helped it grow and become more and more successful. According to Michman & Mazze (2001), the company could still attract more customers and grow further if it considers the possibility to provide an ample parking space in a bid to accommodate a large number of customers. Currently, the available parking space can only accommodate a few vehicles.
Store’s atmospherics is very conducive and accommodating. That is, the store looks appealing from the outside, which is also a marketing strategy that attracts visitors and helps retain potential and existing customers. Lighting equipment installed in the store helps save energy. Special motion sensor lighting system is installed in all rooms to make the environment and experience of customers memorable and pleasant. Additionally, quite and pleasant music is played in the store to sooth the atmosphere and welcome the customers in the most appealing manner. Air conditioning system installed in the store are harmless to customers and to the nature, thus making the store environment and customer friendly. Apart from the aforementioned atmospherics, the overall appearance of the store from the inside as well as from the outside is attractive and appealing to the customers due to the neatness of all the areas including the pavement, parking area, carpets, and the ceiling of the whole store. These factors have an impact on store’s customers. They play a role both in retaining old customers and attracting new ones. However, I would suggest that significant improvement would be achieved by the use of experiential marketing strategy, which will help retain as well as attract more new customers into the store.
Store Layout, Display, and Visual Merchandising
The store utilizes both the grid and free flow display of its products, where customers can conveniently do their shopping. Store’s layouts are also designed in a way that is appealing to customers and helps the latter to easily find the desired product. The store has made it a priority to combine display for its products as a measure to attract customers and make it easy for customers to access products from the shelves. However, the store can also use a unique method of displaying its products in the most appealing way that is able minimize the time spent by the customer in search for a single product. Additionally, the store could consider using large direction signs in its stores to provide directions to customers to help them easily find the products. The store uses limited promotional areas since it has never done it in its history to attract their customers. Nevertheless, the company has a record of many sales over the years due to its strategic position in the market. The overall display and minimal visual merchandising of the store is undoubtedly neat, clean, and fresh. All these elements, in one way or the other, improve the image of the store, and customers are easily enticed into making purchases at this particular store rather than elsewhere. Hellriegel & Slocum (2009) opine that effective display contributes to store’s goals and objectives geared towards contributing to the success of the company. Therefore, I would recommend that the company utilizes more promotional areas and windows to improve the overall image of the store. This can contribute significantly to the goals of the store and eventually lead to its success in the market.
Pricing and Promotional Strategy
The pricing strategy used by store's management is designed in a way that any individual walking in the store can afford to buy the kind of drug he/she needs because there is a wide variety of products available at various prices to suit customer’s abilities and preferences at any given point. Different products have different price tags on them, which enables the customer to compare prices and make informed decisions. Besides, store’s products are affordable due to their low prices compared to those of competitors in the market. These psychological pricing strategies used by store’s management help the store make huge sales at the end of the year. The store has a high average gross margin compared to its competitors in the market. It also uses prestige-pricing strategy in pricing its products. Gross margin analysis is also performed yearly in a bid to determine overall performance of the store. Michman & Mazze (2001) affirm that to improve its operations, the company can also use penetration pricing in a bid to attract new customers in new areas where they sell their products depending on market characteristics. The store makes use of media and online advertising techniques in order to attract potential customers. This form of product promotion has worked for the store for quite some time and has bore many fruits. This explains why the store has constantly used media and online advertisement for long due to minimum cost incurred. Despite numerous and rigorous advertisements of store's competitors, the company still hails with more sales yearly and a higher gross margin compared to its rivals. However, I would recommend that the company should also embrace vigorous advertising in order to maintain its existing customers as well as attract new potential ones. This is because information is power and people tend to settle for products that they have a vast knowledge of.
Personnel and Customer Service
Staff members of the store are well organized and everybody is well equipped with the knowledge and expertise in his or her field of work. The store has adapted a new structure and a payscale that reflects overall goals of the company as it strives to minimize costs and increase sales. Recently, the company unveiled its interest to employ the physically challenged personnel in its stores. This will improve the reputation of the store to both among the customers and the society as a whole. Since the company does not provide training facilities to its personnel, this is a weakness of the store, which threatens its endeavors to meet its goals. Therefore, it will be wise for the company to implement training programs in a bid to improve performance of its employees. Any store is committed to ensuring maximum customer satisfaction. Therefore, the store must create good customer relationships in a bid to ensure that company’s profile is kept clean as far as customer experience is concerned. Accordingly, the company has old customer service policies that help establish good customer relation with the store. These policies have been used for a long time in order to provide good customer service. However, Hellriegel & Slocum (2009) are of the view that store’s customer service policies need to be reviewed and improved to accommodate new changes that will ensure a long-lasting relationship and help address customer complaints.
Technology and Security
Technological impacts have been felt in the store, especially due to implementation of various electronic gadgets within store’s premises to improve overall performance of the store. That is, technology has been embraced in various areas of the store such as point of sale, receiving of stock, and ordering. The same case applies in the area of security, where merchandise security sensors and security cameras have been installed in the store in a bid to minimize theft and other forms of malpractices. Cash control unit is another crucial unit, which therefore, means that it is closely monitored by undercover security guards. Front-end controls are also implemented to deal with any form of theft. Despite all of these, the company could issue smart cards and avoid cash, which could easily jeopardize the security of the store in time of burglary.
It is evident that store's employees understand and widely utilize marketing concepts because of the way the staff interacts with their customers. Selling process is carried out in a friendly manner where employees are taught to treat their customers as kings and handle their complaints with a lot of care.
The future of the store heavily depends on its present operations, which indeed seems brighter due to store’s aggressive measures to outdo their competitors. This is because the store is focused on delivering good customer experience and treat visitors like kings and queens. This strategy will help the store retain its potential customers as well as attract new ones.
No doubt, the store is performing according to its capability and endeavors to work under its limits. Therefore, Bacon (2004) reiterates that it is possible for the company to do better should it consider implementing some of the recommendations, which will help improve its operations. This will require the company to go a notch higher and seek expertise in a bid to ensure proper implementation of various suggestions made.
- Bacon, J. U. (2004). America's corner store: Walgreen's prescription for success. Chicago:
- John Wiley & Sons.
- Hellriegel, D., & Slocum, J. W. (2009). Organizational behavior. Boston: Cengage Learning.
- Michman, R. D., & Mazze, E. M. (2001). Specialty retailers: Marketing triumphs and
- blunders. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group.