As non-essential retailers reopen their doors and head office staff return from furlough, we are seeing Store Development teams reviewing how they will manage essential store refurbishment projects in the light of COVID19.
Since the tills haven’t been ringing for over 12 weeks, the focus will be on minimising operational costs while maintaining staff safety and this is where VR technology really adds value.
Creating an enjoyable physical shopping experience is now more critical than ever in encouraging customers back in to store. This means that refresh and refurbishment programmes, put on hold 3 months ago, are back on the priority list again.
Finding ways to minimise travel while implementing change is one easy win and as the virtual team meeting has become standard practice in recent weeks, adopting the virtual store site meeting, is a very natural next step. CADS StoreView® virtual tours are being adopted by several retail clients for just this purpose. When you consider that a single surveyor on-site can replace visits from 20 or more project team members before construction begins. It is a no-brainer!
A recent article on chargedretail.co.uk stated that adopting new technologies is essential for retailers wanting to combat the impact of the retail crisis caused by COVID, according to GlobalData’s Retail Analyst Hrishabh Kashyap.
What are the benefits of virtual site visits to store?
Whether cost reduction or collaboration are the motivating factors, a pre-project StoreView® can be used for the initial meetings to agree on the necessary extent of works and define the project specification. An added advantage found by one client is that the project scope can be scaled back if work isn’t needed saving costs, but also where required scaled up to ensuring work that is needed is dealt with cost-effectively when contractors are on site.
Once the project is in development, the various stakeholders, including contractors, can be given access to the StoreView®, as a reference tool, to double-check existing layouts, locations and signage. This avoids additional costly visits to site to check small decisions and also ensures that everyone is using the same information to base decisions on.
And then when the refurbished store is set to open a post-project StoreView gives all stakeholders the chance to see the new site and understand the value of the investment without the cost, time and importantly H&S concerns. Asda uses pre and post StoreView® now as an integral part of the annual capital investment programme because of the savings of time and costs in visiting project sites.