Here are the steps to putting together a Store Tour.
The overall flow is as follows:
- Individuals or Teams visit locations,
- Take notes,
- Prepare casual presentation,
- Share findings with rest of team,
- Team discusses,
- Leadership uses the information to drive change.
Before you head out the door, here are things to prepare.
- Determine what topics/categories you want to explore.
- Create a list of appropriate locations.
- Map a logical path to visit. Use Google Maps to take screen shots of your neighborhood, and also the PowerPoint template we’ve provided to make team maps.
Use the LSMGuide Trade Area Mapping Tool to find businesses in and around an area.
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Use our suggestions below to create your own questions and lists of things the teams should look for and experience within each location.
- Visit locations / take notes.
- Teams return to your meeting point and spend time discussing findings. Each team should prepare a 5 to 10-minute presentation to share with to the entire group.
- Regroup post-tour and discuss findings.
Putting It Into Action
Of course, the most important part is applying what you learn to improve your business!
- If you have a large group (more than 20 people), break your team up into business types (burger places, pizza places, etc.) or “category” types (service, marketing, signage, etc.) to visit.
- If you have a smaller group, you should still visit different types of locations.
- Don’t together all visit the same location. 15 people coming in and snooping around will be awkward and obvious.
- If possible and practical – buy something. Especially if it is a quick-service type business and definitely if it is a direct competitor. If direct competition – and you (for example) are a cupcake place… You’ve got to try products similar to yours at every other bakery and cupcakery.
- If you plan to take pictures, be aware that some concepts don’t allow picture taking.
- Be respectful of the business owner, manager and customers.
- Consider touring your own location(s) with the same critical eye.