Retailers today face many challenges to survive in the era of omnichannel and changing customer behaviour and preferences. Old concepts don’t work anymore. Customers demand novelty, excitement, convenience and value. Once you are able to deliver all that – you stay on top of the game.
So, you have your customers flocking into your brick and mortar store. Now, you need to make sure your customer service staff and the store itself functions without a hitch. Customer service standards are surely deep in your strategy and brand image development. But, what about the technical condition of your store?
With your store network expanding in number and across international markets, providing proper store maintenance in-house is becoming quite an operation. This is when an experienced, ‘hands-on’ maintenance partner comes in handy. And, they might save you time and money.
Expanding our offer to retailers with retail maintenance across Europe
CAPS have been working with retailers for over 15 years. Our team continuously challenge ourselves to provide better and relevant services to our customers. We understand that brands growing intensively want to focus on their core operations. That’s why we have decided, inspired by a customer, to introduce store maintenance services to our ‘one stop shop’ offer. For the last 4 years we have been improving and expanding our competitive retail maintenance across Europe.
Retail maintenance services to one of the biggest sports fashion retailers in Europe
For over 3 years our client, Sports Direct.com has, step-by-step made us their maintenance supplier for all of their stores in continental Europe.
Our goal from the very beginning was to make this cooperation run like clockwork. Before agreeing the final co-operation model with the client, we paid a lot of attention to collecting relevant and good quality input data. Next we fully audited the stores to be serviced and discussed a lot of nitty-gritty with the store managers. This quite exhausting yet critical process enabled us to define goals, identify local differences and finally – propel our ‘operational machine’.
We set up unified maintenance standards practically from scratch. Then we implemented them across the SD stores. Only 6 months after the kick-off with the client, CAPS were servicing all the health and safety revisions required by law in Central Europe. This brought the client to the decision to hand us responsibility for maintenance services covering their stores in the next seven markets. Another 150+ stores! We are proud of such a dynamic partnership and the deep cooperation we have developed with the client.
Retailers’ expectations from store maintenance suppliers
CAPS have been gradually expanding our client portfolio in the retail maintenance business. We have learned a lot about what retailers want. Finding the best technical solutions and making necessary adjustments and repairs on time is a crucial part of this service. We have to be very specific and concrete. And diagnose problems and propose proven solutions very quickly, especially when it comes to reactive repairs and emergency situations. Fixing immediate problems is very important to retail clients. Because every hour of store downtime costs them a lot of money.
Helping retailers to optimise resources and costs with retail maintenance services
Optimising resources and costs is also key. Not to mention the fact that for some retail managers, especially at the beginning of the cooperation, it can be the main factor of success. We understand that. The most cost-effective solution requires not only outstanding operational and organisational skills. It is critical to develope repeatable practices to standardise workflow. Plus, we need to have a great understanding of the market, available solutions and access to potential partners and contractors.
And about the money: retail chains are well aware that reactive and emergency visits are the most expensive ones. Prevention is always cheaper than cure. That’s why big retailers need our strong expertise and knowledge on preventive visits and visits required by the law in the countries they have their stores.
Additionally, being pro-active is something that retailers expect. And we happen to have it in our company DNA. A worry-free service from the team of committed specialists, reflected in a hands-on, can-do attitude. This is something that we are determined to provide. Such an attitude is also fuel for learning new things for all the stakeholders. Because yes, in this sector, even after solving thousands of issues there is always some completely new situation that can pop up.
All in all – the maintenance service for retailers should be all about convenience and security. They should feel confident that no maintenance issues come in the way of their core operations.
The main challenges in overseeing retail maintenance across Europe
This business requires a high level of hard skills. However, what is equally important is very good communication between maintenance managers or specialists and store managers. With a business growing in many countries, it becomes even more challenging. This is why at CAPS we have a team of specialists with a solid customer service background coupled with strong foreign language skills. We believe that communicating in a local language is something that makes store managers feel comfortable. And is a weight off their shoulders.
We work at a fast pace, but we always try to find time for sharing knowledge and best practice outcomes to make us grow. Our customers need a confident store maintenance team that makes things happen.
The future of store maintenance services
We can observe a growing influence of digitalisation and automation in retail maintenance services. All the businesses and services must keep up with these global trends. If something can be done easier and more precisely why wouldn’t we make use of it?
Well customised analytical software support is a must-have already today. And we’ve got it. The system that highlights important metrics so that both client and provider are on the same page and go in the same direction creates a common language. Our system allows us to observe large scale changes that can’t be observed otherwise on a daily basis. And prompt us to come up with new solutions.
The support of tools that speed up our reaction, decision making and reporting helps to save time and money. Mobile tools should be developed accordingly so that reporting issues can be done in even more live, real time by store staff.
Relying more on systems and allocating saved time to deepen human relations is the other thing that will make the business successful. Video conferences and communicators are helpful in getting things done. But, reserving more time for face to face meetings can bring durable and long-term benefits. And elicit the most creativity and innovation. This can bring the business to a higher level. In the end it is all about people.
You might also like to read “When outsourcing store maintenance services makes sense”