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Tag: Management

Empowering Your Staff

Brick-and-mortar stores may as well throw in the towel if they’re not going to take advantage of one of their most valuable resources: their staff. Your sales associates can tip the scales. They are the key differentiating factor that websites don’t have. And while internet shopping sites offer pop-up chat sessions with “live” people, interacting while typing on a keypad is just not the same as speaking with someone in person. People go to...

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The Workplace: Retail Staffers See Practice of On-Call Scheduling Diminish….Slowly

You can’t get away from it or ignore it. Customer service is the backbone of any good brick-and-mortar retail environment. There has been much written about and discussed regarding employee satisfaction and how integral it is to the overall performance of retail, but there’s still some work to be done. One of the hot-button issues has been employee scheduling practices—especially in apparel and footwear businesses. Software advances and programs have helped retailers lower costs...

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Engaging Your Retail Staff

Too often retail staff and associates have no idea how to convey their store’s brand to the customer and why it’s important. According
to the Gallup State of the American Workplace report, “When organizations successfully engage their customers and their employees, they experience a 240 percent boost in performance-related business outcomes compared to an organization with neither engaged employees nor engaged customers.” This study is one of many reporting that employee engagement is critical to...

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Delivering the Best Customer Experience

You can’t say it enough. Offering personalized customer experience is key in delivering retail sales and satisfaction. The world of brick-and-mortar is aware of this, but often the ability to improve on interaction and the will to do it are two different things. The benefits of online shopping have been publicized before: Variety and depth of assortment, offering millions of SKUs In-stock availability vs. physical stores Lower prices online The ability to shop anywhere, anytime 24/7 Pre-printed return forms...

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Is It Time to Upgrade Your POS System?

Are traditional point-of-sale (POS) systems still your best bet? Inventory management, loyalty program administration, basic analytics and of course, payment processing are all viable functions of current expensive fixed-line network terminals, which still make up most of the POS systems in retail. A traditional POS system could cost more than $1,000, not counting added expenses, like networking requirements, software licenses and security measures. The daily cost of a store running five POS terminals can be considerable. Tablet-based POS solutions are usually...

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Wal-Mart Follows the Lead of Some Notable Retailers

Wal-Mart recently made headlines as it announced plans to spend over $1 billion to offer higher wages for workers and a better path of promotion through the company and even higher pay. About 500,000 employees (40% of Wal-Mart’s workforce) will get a pay raise over the next six months. Entry-level wages at Wal-Mart will increase to $9.00 an hour by April, the company says, increasing to $10 an hour by February 2016. Managers will get a pay raise to a $13 and then $15 hourly...

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How Return Fraud Erodes Your Bottom Line

The National Retail Federation reported a staggering $10.9 billion loss in 2014 in retail income due to return fraud. This is based on numbers from 60 retailers surveyed. The holiday alone accounted for $3.8 billion of that amount. This is an increase of over $1 billion from last year. Much of this is caused by organized retail crime. Most retailers aren’t even aware of how prevalent this is. Roughly 38% of those polled said they’ve seen an increase in credit card fraud...

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Cultivating the Well-Trained Staff

The first step in acquiring an accomplished staff is their hire, in the first place. Retail Staffing Firms are already equipped with the necessary knowledge of store operations. These firms can integrate with your company so they can quickly find the right people. They also have the experience and expertise to help stores think strategically about their hiring, as far as the type of people being sought, where to source them, and how to hire the best people for the...

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Recipe for Success - Warehouse Clubs’ Broad Appeal

A study done by market research firm Mintel finds that high-income shoppers feel warehouse club brands are on equal footing with leading national brands. In fact, 38% believe store brand or private label brands at warehouse clubs are comparable to name-brand items in terms of quality—a number that increases to 44% of households earning $150K+. That’s the highest percentage of all income groups surveyed, compared to 27% of those earning less than $25K, 36% of those earning $50-$74.9K and 41%...

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Building on Sales from Vacation Travel

With summer in full swing and vacationers flying and driving to their destinations, the last thing on most travelers’ minds is going great distances to find a favorite brand. A study done by location marketing automation provider Placeable shows that proximity is the most important factor in a traveler’s buying preference. And mobile devices are the most-used for searching out retailers for their needs. 76% of travelers report that they search for local retailers rather than a national...

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Why Lousy Customer Service Costs Millions Every Year

Technological advances in retailing—the systems, software, data collection—are changing at such an exponential rate and peoples’ senses are forced to adapt to so much at once, that the only one thing that remains constant is customer service. In a 2011 report done by Right Now Technologies, 89% (or nine out of every 10 customers) stopped doing business with companies with which they had bad experiences, and sought out the competition. The cost of losing customers is pretty staggering....

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One Small Step at a Time

Whether we’re small retail business owners, store managers, or multi-unit field managers, we always seem to be under pressure to handle multiple things all at the same time. Sometimes more than any human being is capable of. It’s called multitasking. I won’t argue that being good at this can be very helpful, and often, just plain necessary. In today’s business world, it’s just the way life is. However, the best...

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Being a Thief!

I admit it. I am a thief. You should be, too! No, we shouldn’t steal money or merchandise, or copyrighted material. That’s against the law. However, processes (what to do and how to do it) are fair game. I learned this many years ago from a gentleman named Sam Walton. Yes, the same one we all think about if we’re seriously contemplating Walmart or Sam’s Club. He was in a meeting with...

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Christmas Present/Holiday Recap

Both pure online retailers and brick-and-mortar websites guaranteeing receipt of gifts in time for Christmas had to eat crow, when thousands of packages were delayed at UPS and FedEx because of the crush of last-minute orders. While online sales account for only around 6% of total sales, the last shopping weekend before Christmas illustrated the power of the web, when internet sales jumped 37% from the year before, according to IBM Digital Analytics. Market research firm Forrester Research expects online sales to...

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Peer Training & Partner Training

There are a number of ways we can try to train our people. Some are more effective than others, and some are more appropriate for one group than for another group. For example, some companies do a great job with on-line training courses. Others don’t. If your company offers on-line training courses and all of your people in all of your teams aren’t up to date with the courses that are appropriate to them, shame on...

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MUM’s the Word!

So you’re a MUM (Multi Unit Manager). In various companies you could be referred to as: District Manager (DM) Regional Manager (RM) District or Regional Sales Manager (DSM or RSM) District or Regional Operations Manager (DOM or ROM) Multi Unit Manager (MUM) In many cases where the MUM terminology is used, it’s because we’re actually the Manager of one store, and also oversee two or more other stores. In most such cases, the company...

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Independent Retailers: Listening to Consumer Demand and Ringing Up Profits

Independent retailers contribute to the local and national U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Economic Census and Walmart Annual Reports, they are defined as businesses with less than 10 outlets. But these savvy business professionals understand the impact of a satisfied customer and they leverage their years of experience, passion and arsenal of good business practices to create a unique niche.  Job Description Retail business operations vary widely. With the explosion of the Internet, online retail operations have...

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Electrifying Retail

Sales of electronics are expected to be up for the first time in 3 years, according to NPD Group, which provides market research analysis for the consumer and retail industries. But even though real wages and personal income is up, consumers remain cautious, and the fight to win shopper traffic and sales has intensified in a market that in recent years has seen Circuit City go belly up and Radio Shack fairly decimated. Most retail CMO’s expect consumer electronics...

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People Skills – The Rest of the Story

So we’ve got the “Processes” thing down. We’re working on and maybe even doing a good job with “Customer Experience”, “Customer Satisfaction”, and “Customers For Life”. We’re all done and can expect things to be good – right? Maybe not. Here’s the rest of the story, and it concerns the people that work with us, but also report to us. Our “Store Teams...

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3 Tenets of Customer Exposure

When I’m working with my teams (District Managers, Store Managers, Associates), I try to break the “working with customers” issue into three separate parts. For the sake of this article, we’ll call them the “3 Tenets of Customer Exposure”. A “tenet” is a creed, doctrine, or code of belief (according to MicroSoft’s thesaurus). In other words, these are the three things we must always have in mind when we...

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The 80 / 20 Rule

There’s an old saying that 80% of your results come from 20% of what you do (or 20% of your customers, or whatever it is someone happens to be soap-boxing about at the time). However, in my retail experience, 90% of my results (as a store manager, district manager, or regional manager) have come from 80% of what I focus my attention on: Processes and People Skills. Let’s cover the Process issue first because it’s less detailed, AND, is...

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Teaching Seasonal Retail Employees How to Sell

If you’re a small retailer ramping up to hire season employees you’re a small retailer who is going to need to train most of these employees how to approach a sale.  More than that, as surprising as this may sound, you need to inform your seasonal employees that selling is a part of their job and their continued employment depends on their sales ability. Wow – that sounds harsh.   It also sounds obvious....

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And Baby Makes Four - Managing at Retail

As much as we may love our families, let’s face it, coming together on holidays and special occasions can be challenging.  You may even take bets on how long it’s going to take Great Grandpa (Veteran generation) to deliver his “During the Great Depression we knew what work meant” stories.  You expect you’ll have to put up with your wife (Boomer generation) taking a call as she’s dishing...

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There is No Such Thing as a Dead End Job in Retail

Coaching front-line retail employees can be challenging.  Take Suzy Q. for example. Suzy used to be one of your best employees.  A full-time college student intent on maintaining honor level grades, she demonstrated this same level of ambition and initiative every time she walked through the door of your store.  Whenever she was on the floor you breathed a heavy sigh of relief because you knew you could expect she’d exceed her goals – which...

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