Uniformity and Brand Recognition

Fact: Top notch follow up mechanisms promote uniformity and strong brand recognition.

It takes a lot of effort and energy to follow up on all of the tasks and directives that we, as leaders, assign to our subordinates on a daily basis.

If we fail to follow up, then much of what we expected to be taken care of will not be. We may insist this should not be the case…but it is.

There are reasons for this. We can’t just call it human nature and forget about it, or accept it.

Perhaps our subordinates…

Don’t agree with what is being asked of them or don’t think it’s very important and will have no impact one way or the other.

Maybe they don’t think their boss really cares whether it gets done or not, or sees that there are no consequences for not getting it done.

(Free gift for you – collection of Word to the RetailWise essays … below.)

They may even feel justified because they think they are just too busy completing other, seemingly more important, tasks and they don’t take directions from the boss seriously.

All of the above are unacceptable, of course.

If you are a leader, you may want to give this topic a few moments thought. Here are some questions to guide you.

1) Are most of my instructions actually – demonstrably – followed? If not, why?

2) Am I often frustrated and angry – even embarrassed – when I discover that something important has not been done?

3) Are my instructions being ignored due to lack of respect for me?

4) How much more effective and successful would I be if my subordinates were to do what I ask with little or no follow up?

In our experience, we find that leaders who fail to follow up will not excel in their position.

They will spend a lot of time being frustrated, embarrassed and angry until they have a majority of employees who do not require follow up…employees who take care of business!

CLICK HERE for Retail Performance Pacs: Store, District or Region…and Company Levels

We’ve told you, before, about a study by Bain & Co., which pointed out that while 80% of CEO’s involved in the study declared that their companies provided a superb level of service, only 8% of their customers felt the same.

This is very likely because the CEO’s gave, or approved, directives that were never properly carried out and, of course, there was insufficient follow up to ensure the directives had been properly executed.

In retail organizations, where you have several levels of individuals issuing directives and assigning projects and tasks which have to filter down through the ranks and into the field to get to the customer facing personnel, you have to have top notch follow up mechanisms in place if you expect uniformity and brand recognition to get stronger, rather than be degraded.

All the Success!
DMSRetail

PS: There are tons of stories, tips and practical advice in Word to the RetailWise. Download your free copy today. And, share it with friends and colleagues.

PPS: Here is that link again – Retail Performance Pacs

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This Week’s Online Training for Retail Managers

DMSRetail is holding 5 modules on various topics for Retail Managers. – Retail Online Training

Here are the topics of Online Training for Retail Managers:

1. Retail Category Management (Tuesday September 25, 1:00 PM EST) for details go to: dmsretail.com/RetailOnlineTraining/category-management-online/

2. Retail Math (Wednesday September 26, 1:00 PM EST) for details go to: dmsretail.com/RetailMath/retail-math-online-training/

3. Online Marketing for Retailers (Thursday September 27, 1:00 PM EST) for details go to: dmsretail.com/RetailOnlineTraining/online-marketing-for-retailers/

4. Open-to-Buy Planning (Friday September 28, 10:00 AM EST) for details go to: dmsretail.com/RetailOnlineTraining/open-to-buy-planning-online/

5. 33% Increase Formula (Friday September 28, 1:00 PM EST) for details go to: dmsretail.com/RetailOnlineTraining/33-increase-formula/

Is it fair to treat un-equals as equals?

Some managers believe that fairness means all employees must be treated the same, or equally. I suggest that this belief represents a misguided understanding of fairness.
In fact, there is nothing more unfair than treating un-equals as equals. In the retail environment you will seriously, and adversely, affect the morale and performance in the store by applying this old idea of being fair.
Performance of sales associates depends on many, many things. Some of those things are out of the Managers control.

Things such as emotional problems, personal life issues and health concerns – things which tend to weigh heavily on an individual and could affect their ability to perform in their work – are out of a Store Managers control.

That is why it is so important to capitalize on the things that are within a Managers control. They include incentives, recognition, treatment, scheduling and training, among other things.
High performers deserve to be treated differently than mediocre or poor performers.

This is not to say that fairness suffers. On the contrary, it supports the meaning of fairness.

Is it not fair that those who achieve great results receive greater rewards?

Is it not fair that those who achieve great results receive the ‘fruits of their labor’ in other ways also?

Of course it is.

Not providing greater rewards and recognition to these individuals would be very unfair.
Now let’s look at some of the ways in which the high performer can be fairly treated, recognized or compensated in the retail environment.
First, and foremost, is compensation. You do not need to follow guidelines which treat all individuals the same. Just as experience and length of time with a company count, level of performance must also count.

When all other things are equal, performance must be the differentiator. Performance must be taken into account when looking at compensation packages and promotions.
Beyond compensation, the high performer should reap other, non-monetary rewards.

For example, if a particular shift is coveted by employees then the high performer should get that shift. If a particular day off or, perhaps, a special assignment is desirable then the high performer should receive it.

Some would say that this is unfair but it is not. High performance is what we want, what we strive for, what we talk about, what we pay for, what we expect, what delivers the best ROI and what we need to build, or maintain, a thriving business.

How could it possibly be unfair to provide good things for those who are clearly and consistently delivering high performance?
Management who claim that it is only fair to treat un-equals equally are probably unsure as to how to deal with things any other way. They believe that everyone should be treated the same.

They don’t know how to tell the staff that the high performer for the week does not have to clean the stock room or the wash room.

They don’t know how to deal with the complaints of the mediocre or poor performers. They take the path of least resistance and treat everyone the same.
High performers who are treated the same as everyone else will look for a place where they are recognized for who and what they are.

All the Success!
DMSRetail

PS. The Super Retail Success Bundle comes with a bonus exclusive Retail Managers DVD (digital) Collection and it has been an international bestseller for years.
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PPS. Find out about these proven Performance Pacs for Store, District, Region and Company
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Some Stats on State of Retail

With so many changes in the world of retail and the ways consumers shop, here are some interesting statistics on the state of retail today.

1) More than half (54%) of retailers said the customer experience is their most important area of focus, way ahead of cross-channel marketing (16%), data-driven marketing (14%), mobile (11%), and programmatic buying/optimization (4%). (Adobe)

2) When asked about the extent to which digital permeates their marketing activities, 13% of retailers described themselves as “digital-first.” The majority are still primarily led by brick-and-mortar operations and traditional marketing activities. (Adobe)

3) One-third (33%) of retailers cited “targeting and personalization” among their top three tactical priorities for the year ahead, higher than for any other marketing tactic. (Adobe)

4) 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, OR knows their purchase history. (Accenture)

5) 53% of buyers say Facebook informs their purchase decisions. (VWO)

6) Over 60% of consumers take the time to review a return policy before making a buying decision. (ReadyCloud)

7) 49% cite not being able to touch, feel or try a product as one of their least favorite aspects of online shopping. (Big Commerce)

8) 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours. (Nectafy)

9) The top reason consumers shop online is the ability to shop 24/7 (KPMG)

10) The top reason consumers prefer to shop instore versus online is to see, feel and experience the product in person. (KPMG)

11) Millennials have a much higher demand for instant gratification than older generations. Although younger consumers are increasingly comfortable with buying products online without seeing them first, they are almost twice as likely to say they’d rather visit shops to get their product right away, rather than buy online and await delivery. (KPMG)

12) Parents spend more of their budget online in comparison to non-parents (40% vs. 34%) and spend 75% more time online shopping each week (7 hours vs. 4 hours for non-parents). Parents spend 61% more online than non-parents ($1,071 vs. $664). (Big Commerce)

13) 64% consumers want personalized offers from retail brands. (Salesforce)

14) 56% consumers willing to share data to receive faster and more convenient service. (Salesforce)

15) 29% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Facebook; 21% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Pinterest; 21% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Instagram; 18% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Twitter; and 13% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Snapchat. (Big Commerce)

Step up your Online Marketing Efforts with DMSRetail’s “Retailer’s Guide to Online Marketing, CLICK HERE

 

Why Don’t You Want The Sale?

Maybe the question should be ‘why don’t your teams know that you want the sale’?

Or, how about ‘why aren’t your teams, on the sales floor, motivated to sell your products’?

These are serious questions that should make retailers wonder.

A sales associate in a large furniture retail store is much more inclined to ‘sell’ products to customers than a floor/service/sales associate in many other types of retail stores.

If you agree with this statement, why do you suppose it is?

Is it the Pay for Performance compensation plan? Probably.

Anyway, suffice to say opportunities are being missed in many types of retail stores that do not engage in active selling to customers.

In fact, huge opportunities.

We looked at the possibility that a retailer who has no one who actually sells, wants to sell, or is expected to sell might think the products will eventually sell anyway so there is no need to be active in the sales process.

To many of you that is laughable but, honestly, it does have some merit.

If you are completely product driven with absolute perfection in your buying, visual merchandising, marketing and management then it could work for you. Could…it is not a given.

But, if you are not quite perfect, your products will need a spokesperson and that would be a sales associate – call it what you will.

Here’s a story to illustrate that a lack of motivation to sell – or ignorance, or indifference, or whatever it takes to lose a sale that was already in the bag – costs you sales dollars…

The customer is in need of two counter stools. She has been searching for just the right ones and she comes across them at a familiar home decor store – part of a very, very large chain of different types of retail…apparel for men, women, children, plus, footwear, housewares, home decor, etc.

She flags a ‘person’ down and mentions that she wants these two stools but they are both scratched. She asked if they had anymore.

No, they did not have anymore and probably wouldn’t get anymore. They are a once in and once out retailer. They get fresh goods all the time and rarely get replenished on the same item.

The customer asked if they would offer any type of discount if she bought them, even with the scratches. The ‘person’ said she would go and find another ‘person’ who might be able to help.

A couple of moments later, along comes ‘person 2’. She looks at the damaged stools and says “oh, we would just fix these up with furniture marker”.

The customer said that she would leave them as she didn’t want to pay full price for clearly damaged merchandise.

‘Person 2’ said “ok, bye”.

The stools were $129 each so the total of the sale would be $258 if they were in perfect condition. With a small discount – say 10% – the sale would have been $232.

In our area, as in most we imagine, it is a certainty that no reasonable person would buy these scratched stools for full price. Doing so would be what we would call ‘dumb’.

No one does it (unless forced in some unimaginable way).

And, make no mistake, no furniture marker was going to make the scratches go away, or even disappear to the naked eye.

‘Person 2’ will realize this when she tries to cover the imperfection in the attempt to dupe the next customer.

So, a sale…a sale of two imperfect items to a customer who really wanted them…two pieces of merchandise moved out…floor space freed up for something else…two large items that would, eventually have to be marked down, red stickered and moved to a clearance area…none of that mattered to ‘person 2’ who said “oh, we would just fix these up with furniture marker”.

The customer could have pushed the issue or asked for the manager but she did neither.

Some people are just tired of having to fight retailers.

But here is the icing on the cake, so to speak!!

The next day, the customer visited the same store in a different town – about 30 miles away – and guess what? The REGULAR price of the identical stool was $99. (This was not a fluke. Other stools were also priced lower than they were in the first store.)

Anyway…that’s 25% less than the other store was selling them for. (fyi: this story is completely verified for accuracy)

Draw whatever conclusions you would like regarding their pricing strategy, but realize that if the retail company, the DM, the Store Manager, and/or the Sales Associates in this chain were motivated to make sales – this ‘furniture marker’ thing would not have happened.

A small discount would have been offered and accepted.

A true win/win.

We would be remiss if we failed to point out the value of missed opportunities based on this example. So, here you go…

Now, remember the slightly discounted price of the imperfect stools in the first store would have been higher than the regular price for the identical stools in the second store.

$ 232 lost in one store in one day
$ 6,960 lost in one store in one month
$20,880 lost in one store in one quarter
$83,520 lost in one store in one year

If you own a 100 store chain…$83,520 x 100 = $8,352,000…that’s a lot of money to leave on the table.

It’s more than a ‘missed opportunity’, it’s an outright disaster for a retailer trying to stay in the game.

Maybe ‘Person 2’ and her superiors could use some motivation to sell…perhaps, some training on how to do it, as well.

You can stop the opportunity leak and we can help you do it – DMSRetail.com

 

Importance of Communications in Retail

It is widely recognized that good communication skills are important in any business; in any endeavour, really.

But, it is particularly important for a retail manager to be an effective communicator because they have to communicate with people at all different levels of the organization on a regular basis and many of those people have a direct impact on the customer and on store employees.

Often, there won’t be an opportunity for a second chance at getting it right, just due to the nature of retail. When employees are in various different locations, more complications are introduced.

Communication breakdowns – particularly retail H.O. to field communication – can have immediate, negative implications for the business.

In other industries there are more opportunities for colleagues to meet and to take more time to ask questions, mull things over and clarify misunderstandings before any impact at the customer level.

In retail, things are not so straight forward and miscommunication can quickly create chaos.

Often instructions, directions and planned actions take place on the fly, making it difficult to correct or clarify after the fact.

Retail managers move around a lot!

Think about why the person handling a life or death emergency gives directives like this…
“Go and do X (whatever it is that needs to be done) and come right back to me.”

Retail managers need to hone their skills in many areas if their goal is excellence in execution at store level and, of course, it should be. Communication is at, or near the top of the list of skills to be fully developed for success.

When communicating with employees, in particular, there must be an exchange of information, not just a download. People need to be given the opportunity to ask questions for clarification and to share their own ideas, if warranted.

Yet another reason retail managers need to be highly effective communicators is to be able to get the very best out of their people.

Subordinates who actively participate in the exchange of information – meaning they are not just told to do this or do that – are far more likely to achieve objectives; far more likely to be motivated to bring energy to their work.

That means the retail manager has to know how to ensure an exchange of information occurs and that involves sensing, or picking up, the communication style of those involved.

This is particularly important when discussing standards and expectations.

One of the biggest reasons why employees often do not meet performance standards and expectations is simply because they were not made clear enough to them.

Here’s an example where a managers’ communication skills may be called into question: an employee takes a directive – let’s say a directive to perform a certain task – and then proceeds with the task with nothing else in mind.

As far as they’re concerned the task they have been given by their superior is the most important thing they have to do.

Now, if the managers expectations were clear all along, that employee would understand that the task must be done ONLY if there were no customers to look after.

But let’s say customers come into the store while the employee is totally engrossed in his task and the customers are ignored – which, in reality, happens all the time.

In this example, the manager did not make expectations clear – the task to be performed was clear but this employee did not understand that the task was to be done only after customers were taken care of.

The employee did not have the ‘customer first’ understanding which should have been instilled early on in his or her employment.

Can this happen in your company?

While checking out my Facebook page, a ‘Sponsored’ box showed up on my screen.

It was about 4” by 6”… quite a sizeable ad, wouldn’t you agree? It was definitely designed to get the reader’s attention and it worked.

Scored!!

Pipa’s Pizza (name changed) ran a Facebook ad that was clearly successful in getting positive reaction.

The ad was so perfectly timed, and it was such a great offer, I went for it immediately.

Yes, I would be ordering a Pipa’s pizza for dinner.

Although no one in our family had tried Pipa’s pizza before, this offer was a no brainer…it was an irresistible offer. And those are the winning offers, almost every time.

So, armed with my credit card and having agreed on the toppings with the rest of the family, I hit the ‘Shop Now’ button. I was directed to a place to input my address.

Of course, they need the address for a couple of reasons like knowing which store should produce the pizza and then where it should be delivered to.

After entering all of my details, I saw a message saying ‘Online Ordering is Temporarily Unavailable’.

I tried it a couple of times thinking I’d give them the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes little things happen but they get fixed quickly so no harm done.

But, no.

No Pipa’s for us.

I checked it again the next day and got the same message.

One important thing I haven’t mentioned yet…

The special offer was ONLY applicable for orders placed online.

No telephone orders.

No walk-in orders.

Also, there were no asterisked items such as time of day this special would be available, or participating dealers or anything else.

So, no one was going to be able to take advantage of the offer being made on Facebook.

Does this not seem somewhat unproductive?

I don’t think it’s too harsh to ask, “Who is running this operation?”
Why make an offer if no one can use it?

Why bother designing the ad? Why pay for an ad to run?

Of course, mistakes happen. Of course, we must be reasonable but, come on now. How much understanding should there be for people who haven’t tested their ad…for people who went to the expense of creating and placing an ad that is doomed?

That ad cannot be successful…it is impossible.

Pipa’s Pizza very likely has a whole lot of other problems, as well.

So…make sure that you always follow up, check and double check when your money and reputation are at stake. Better still, ensure you have trusted people to do that for you.

All the Success!

PS. More articles at DMSRetail.com/RetailArticles

 


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