Managing International Retail Survey Projects
A recent trend in the office is the increase in requests for a measured survey from retailers who are opening stores across Europe. Although the physical process of surveying and drawing is the same, the geographic spread can bring with it a number of challenges of international project management. And the danger being that inefficient planning can dramatically affect your cost base.
However, nothing is insurmountable and you can avert a number of potential issues by following our top 5 tips for success:
1. Give your survey supplier as much warning as possible
Flights and hotels are a major part of the overall fee and you can achieve significant savings on a programme when these are booked in advance.
2. Allocate site surveys in batches wherever possible
Grouping by country is one way of planning, but you will achieve greater efficiency if a survey team can hit the South of France and Northern Italy in one go, whilst another team deals with Southern Italy and Greece for example. Applications like Microsoft AutoRoute can really help to cut down on travel time – it’s all about proximity!
3. Work with your survey supplier and let them know the bigger picture
Negotiations are always a complex process, but if you are 90% sure you will be taking a lease on the Continent, it can often work out cheaper in the long run to have it surveyed whilst the team are in the area; rather than paying for a dedicated visit later.
4. Ensure that all the agents and store managers know that the survey team is coming
European retail survey programmes are planned as time-efficiently as possible, waiting times do escalate if an access issue can’t quickly be resolved.
5. Be flexible on the drawing return date
Wherever possible, we try to draw up surveys in the evenings when surveying in Europe. However, where there are a lot of surveys to get through, or where the site is very large, it is invariably more cost-effective to draw up surveys back in the UK than in a hotel.
Obviously it’s not always about cost, but we believe it is important that our clients don’t pay any more than they need to, so if you are considering expansion into Europe and want to use a survey company you can trust us to manage your international projects.
Read this an example of a rolling project programme delivered for Polo Ralph Lauren, where we surveyed 255 store-in-store concessions in 25 European countries in 18 months, delivering the survey data packs in two weeks from receipt of the initial brief.