Reposted from SMS Storetraffic.com
Reposted from SMS Storetraffic.com
Providing customers in-store experiences that are unique, fun and yet still profitable is the challenge retailers with physical stores continue to face. The cornerstone to providing that vision to shoppers are employees.
Good employees keep a retailer running; great employees are its heart and soul. They believe in the product, brand or mission of the company. And they are customers themselves, so the know how to make shoppers feel special, convert browsers into buyers and cultivate loyalty.
But too many retailers underestimate the value of trained employees.
Just 35% of employers trained low-skill workers and hired them for high-skill jobs in 2015, and slightly fewer — 33% — plan to do the same this year, according to CareerBuilder. And while 68% of firms say they offer training programs, 50% say the budgets have not changed and 11% say budgets have decreased.
Here are 2 things retailers forfeit when they do no invest in training.
1. Cost Savings
Training can save retailers money. It reduces turnover, and staff retention reduces costs. It’s expensive to hire staff. It also provides the worker with the precise skills needed for his or her current position. It’s obvious that higher-end retailers, such as Nordstrom’s, think of service as a culture and use training to reinforce that ethic.
But smaller and lower-margin retailers are also embracing training for employees.
For example, Dollar General this month announced its full-year sales rose nearly 8%, and noted part of the reason for the sales bump were its managers.
During a conference call, CEO Todd Vasos said: “To strengthen our position for the long-term, we are making significant investments, primarily in compensation and training for our store managers given the critical role this position plays in our customer experience, as well as strategic initiatives.”
Dollar General saw a nearly 1% increase in same-store sales in 2016, and the discounter plans to open 1,000 more outlets this year. “In fiscal 2017, these investments will be focused on an increased compensation structure and additional training for our store managers, as they play a critical role in our customers’ experience and the profitability of each store.”
2. Staff Loyalty
Investing in employee training is a great way to improve your in-store service and get employees “on the same page” about what is expected, desirable, etc. In addition, employees expect some sort of training – Accenture found that 80% of 2016 college graduates expect some formal training from their employers.
Unfortunately, only 14% of employees would grade their company an “A” for the availability of training resources, according to another study from Spherion.
Training can make workers feel more marketable, which is appealing to staff but is often the reason employers shy away from it. Too many are concerned about training staff who will leave for a competitor. Given the high turnover rate at some retailers, it’s a valid concern.
However, while we think of providing high-quality service as driving customer loyalty, offering relevant employee training as a central benefit of a customer-service driven, flexible and creative work culture may be just the way to increase staff loyalty as well.
This month, Retail Pro went to St. Gallen, Switzerland to hold an on-site training class for tech staff at Akris, an internationally-recognized luxury fashion house.
Founded 90 years ago, Akris remains a family-owned business with strong local ties. Its clothing creations are known as much for comfort and wearability as for high fashion.
Today, third generation brothers Albert and Peter Kriemler manage the business, which grew from its humble beginnings into a global fashion label available via their brand stores, as well as in over 300 high-end department stores throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States.
Akris has been using Retail Pro POS and retail management software in its 17 brand stores since 2000, and is looking forward to growing deeper in its use of robust Retail Pro functionality.
Recently, Akris began thinking of additional ways that Retail Pro could be used to streamline company operations, so they contacted Retail Pro University, Retail Pro International’s training department, to discuss training options.
Retail Pro worked closely with the IT staff at Akris to develop a custom training solution to address the company’s current and future needs. A class was held on-site over a five day period in March at the company’s headquarters in St. Gallen. Attendees included representatives from the Akris IT department, software development team, and operations staff.
Retail Pro Training Spurs Creative Thought for Solving Business Challenges
Akris already had a strong background in Retail Pro and did not need a basic training in how to use the software. Instead, they wanted to gain an in-depth understanding of how particular features could be leveraged in their current environment, and their impact on future operations.
To accommodate their unique requirements, the training process moved fluidly between product demonstrations, discussions, and consulting on how to best use Retail Pro features within the Akris IT system.
At one point, the team, inspired by a key feature, paused training to actually test drive it. They developed new tools and reports in their test environment on the spot to ensure it could be easily implemented.
Multi-Subsidiary Deployment & ERP Integration
Akris team members also collaborated on system configuration in a multi-subsidiary deployment to determine how to achieve the best results for stores across geographies. Akris has stores in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and flexibility in Retail Pro enabled them to navigate through complex regional requirements for functions like merchandise transfers.
As a manufacturer, Akris uses an ERP system to manage product development. Through tight integration between Retail Pro and the Akris ERP, merchandise is introduced into the system through vouchers and transfers between stores and subsidiaries.
Plans for Growth & Deeper Use of Retail Pro
Many of the features they would like to implement have long existed in Retail Pro 9, and simply had not been leveraged. During the training session, the team developed a strategy to begin phasing in the use of strong features like commissions and markdowns. Akris is looking to expand on the current Retail Pro deployment as it grows and will possibly add new stores in the future.
Want to Increase ROI in Your Retail Pro?
Retail Pro University offers training courses and videos, as well as custom and on-site training options to help your retail and IT teams become Retail Pro experts. These training options can be a cost-effective solution for retailers experiencing high turnover or rolling out new functionality.
To discuss solutions for your training needs, contact us at email@example.com.
As a retailer in a competitive marketplace, a major focus should be monitoring the health of your business. For most retailers this means getting a handle on your Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs.
A KPI is a metric that is designed to give you a quick snapshot of some aspect of your business. A KPI might be a measure of sales, customer activity, or financial strength.
More than simply a bottom line number, a KPI is usually expressed as a comparison with some other factor. For example, looking at the average sale per customer gives you an understanding of the potential value of each customer.
There are hundreds of KPIs that a retail business owner could be using at any one time. If an activity can be tracked and measured in your store, a KPI can be developed to provide you with business intelligence. One of the challenges is to decide on a handful of KPIs that provide you with the most valuable information based on the goals and objectives of your operation.
Every retailer will have a different set of KPIs. For example, a business that uses commissioned sales associates to sell to customers may place a heavy emphasis on KPIs that track the effectiveness of an individual sales associate while these KPIs may be irrelevant for another retail business.
You may want to track KPIs related to your customers. Simply knowing the number of customers who enter the store each day may not be enough for you. You may want to gain a deeper understanding about your customer’s shopping patterns and what converts them from a casual shopper into a dedicated, returning customer. To do this, you need to carefully consider what data you should collect and analyze.
Data, by itself, is not a KPI until it’s arranged in a meaningful way. A list of sales transactions throughout the day is good data to have but it’s not the whole picture. The next step might be to calculate the total dollar amount of sales for the day. You can arrange the data in any number of ways: sales by department, sales by item, or sales by cashier. At this point, you still only have data to analyze.
The strength of KPIs is knowing how to use data to gain a competitive advantage. It all comes down to the goals and objectives you set for your business.
For each goal you establish, you must also create the metric that will determine if you are successful in reaching that goal. Your KPIs become the method by which you track your progress. If your key performance indicators do not reflect progress toward your goal, you must change the tactics you are using in your business.
Let’s look at one simple example of how your goals and KPIs come together to give you a competitive advantage.
Marlene runs a small clothing store in a mid-size urban market. Lately things have been going good but the business has leveled off. She would like to increase her business over the next year. She creates a goal to increase her sales by 10%.
Marlene realizes that an obvious KPI is her total sales. She can also break down her sales on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis to compare with the previous year. This gives her the maximum degree of flexibility especially since her sales tend to fluctuate according to well-defined fashion seasons.
Marlene decides that a good strategy would be to do more advertising on radio and television during the coming year. To find out if the advertising is bring customers into the store, she decides to track footfall, the number of people coming into the store. Fortunately, she tracked her traffic last year but if she didn’t, she could use the new data by correlating store traffic with the dates and times that advertising is running to see if the ads have an immediate effect.
If she notices that store traffic increases for a few days after a television ad appears, she may make more strategic choices about when to run television ads. Or she may be sure to have a special sale during the weekend following a big flood of advertising.
By tracking average customer spend, Marlene can determine how much the average customer spends during each purchase transaction. In order to increase sales, she decides to place some displays with accessories – scarves and jewelry – close to the cash registers. The strategy works and she notices that her average customer spend amount increases due to impulse purchases while customers are waiting in line.
Although her total sales KPI indicates some overall growth, Marlene is not satisfied with the progress she is making. She begins to track her conversion rate, the number of transactions throughout the day divided by the number of people who enter the store. This seems to indicate that a lot of people are coming into the store but not many are making purchases.
To combat this, she could implement a number of new strategies. Perhaps she should take a look at rotating her inventory more frequently so the styles are kept fresh. She might decide that she needs to add new merchandise. Eventually, Marlene decides to hire additional staff to take more time with the customers and help them pick out merchandise.
To maximize the effectiveness of her new employees, she tracks shopper to staff ratio. This KPI lets Marlene determine if she has the appropriate number of employees on the sales floor to handle the volume of shoppers. Monitoring her wage costs, which is wages paid divided by the total sales will also help her monitor her costs.
As her business grows, Marlene may decide to implement different strategies or develop completely new goals for her business. These goals and strategies may necessitate new KPIs to help her determine if they are effective. As her needs change, so will her data collection requirements and so will the way she analyses that data.
Retailers using Retail Pro have several built-in tools to help them track important KPIs easily and automatically including 160+ pre-designed reports that can be accessed using the Retail Report Viewer tool.
Filters allow you to easily report on different aspects of your operation and break down your data into different segments to allow you to take a bird’s-eye view or get down into the weeds.
Retail Pro reports can also be completely customized using an ODBC-compliant report writer like Crystal Reports. This allows you to save time and money by adapting an existing report to show exactly the information you need without a lot of work and effort.
From inside Retail Pro, you can use customer or inventory statistics to gain more perspective.
X-Out and graphical reports allows you to look at sales activity throughout the day and get instant analysis.
See how Retail Pro can help you improve visibility into your data using KPIs.
Each new year comes with new excitement, new potential, new initiatives – like mobile in your stores!
Start 2017 off right – see how one fashion retailer uses mobile in their stores. Then, book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you go mobile!
Technology empowers efficiency in your retail operations, so building a solid tech strategy is critical to effective execution.
See how Earthbound Trading Co is increasing operational efficiency by building their tech strategy with Retail Pro.
Then – book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you optimize your retail tech strategy.
See how one Retail Pro retailer is growing their operations and the 4 must-haves for retail expansion today.
Then – book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you optimize your retail as you grow.
Last week we invited you to meet with us at NRF to discover optimized retail with Retail Pro.
Let’s count down the final weeks before NRF with tips on HOW to optimize your retail operations, in step with market trends and proven strategies of retailers using Retail Pro.
Then – book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you optimize and unify your commerce profitably.
As 2017 quickly approaches, here are 7 New Year’s resolutions for retailers to consider.
I will think of and connect all our digital and physical channels as one whole so we can unify commerce.
I will use our retail data to plan inventory better so customers always get what they want and I always sell down to zero.
I will reach higher to grow my business, whether that’s expanding my merchandise, my team, my tech, or my operations – globally.
I will use my retail management tech to its full capacity to automate more and operate more efficiently.
I will leverage mobile POS to liberate my sales staff from bondage to the cash register, and empower them to better engage our customers and sell more with hyper-relevant data insights.
I will attend to my most important customers better and create a smooth and consistent experience however they choose to shop with our brand.
I will optimize retail.
For retailers, much of the work that goes into making a sale is done before your customer ever sets foot in your store. Here are 3 tips for using your retail data to attract more customers.
Fresh, high-quality content is available to sales prospects 24/7. Whether it’s on the web, in stores, or via email, information is out there, waiting to be consumed by eager customers. Savvy retailers are using their content assets to attract customers, and it’s working: Interesting, relevant material attracts leads to a business’ site, social media presence and/or store. That content must position your company as a market leader. Valuable content that informs the customer is key. The more specific your content, the more focused you can be.
To really provide such highly focused, relevant content, you must understand customers’ interests and tastes, as well as their demographic information. Only then can you tailor both your content, which attracts customers, and the message, which will be used to close the sale. Outbound marketing only succeeds when it reaches the appropriate audience. Personalized campaigns can go a long way when you are courting a customer. Let the data you gather help inform the way you engage with customers.
Look back and use past performance to gauge future sales. Predictive analytics examines a variety of data and then systematically offers the makeup of the best leads. Big data crunching can help find those sweet spots invisible to the naked eye. In addition, sales teams knowledgeable in the science of data analytics can gain insight into purchasing triggers. Paying attention to small triggers can get your retail marketing campaigns out ahead of the competition’s.