Archive for November, 2010

Holiday Tips #1

Regardless of the economic outlook, you can rest assured that many people will be in your stores this holiday season. They may be working with a tighter budget, or they may not. They may be more discerning, or they may not. Whatever happens you still need to be prepared. There are things you need to do to have your store, your staff, your management team and your merchandise ready.

Here are some Holiday Season Tips – the first of our Holiday Season Tips Series, to help you make sure you’re doing everything you can to make the most of the holiday traffic that comes into your store:

Study History – Get out last year’s sales records, promotional calendar and staff schedules. Study them to see if there is anything you might do differently this year. If you were the Manager last year, try to remember the things that really caused things to breakdown. Learn from those things and safeguard against those same things happening again this year. Hint: If you do not already do this, make a point of noting all of the things that work really well and the things that don’t so you you’ll have the benefit of that information next holiday season.

Schedules – The Backbone of your Store -Make schedules for the 11 weeks (w/e November 13, 2010 to w/e January 22, 2011). Based on your sales targets, you need to figure out what kind of floor coverage you will need for each of the 11 weeks. These can be mock schedules but they should fairly represent what your actual schedule should look like. It is during the making of these mock schedules that you will come up with your plan for the holiday season with regard to floor coverage, stock replenishment, shipping/receiving, cashiers, greeters, fitting room coverage, recovery of the store throughout the day and at night, etc. You’ll get a very good idea of how many temporary employees you should hire. Hint: Once you know how many temporary employees you will need, hire 4 more.

The reason you will want to schedule well into January 2011 is because of the trend toward the purchase of gift cards. After the main holiday event, many customers will come into your store to spend their gift card. You need to be as ready for them as you were for the pre-holiday gift buyers. So, whatever you do, don’t become complacent in January.

Employee Illness – Try to recall from last year: Did a lot of employees call in sick? Were there certain days where you were left without proper coverage? How did that affect your business? Were the temporary employees trained well enough to really add value to your business? What can you do to avoid the pitfalls of last year? Hints: 1) hire more temporary workers and train them better 2)make sure your regular staff are considered when making the schedule – the needs of the business comes first, of course, but your regular employees will have some particular dates that they really need to have off for family gatherings and holiday preparation 3) send sick workers home so as not to spread illness to customers and other staff members 4) make sure you are not working certain employees so hard that they become exhausted or disillusioned.

Staff Meetings – Don’t forget to schedule time for management team meetings and staff meetings. Some of the meetings will be short touch base meetings and others may be educational. Still others should be for fun and celebration. Remember, everyone is stressed during the holidays and anything you can do to make your employees’ lives a little better during this busy time will probably pay dividends. Hint: Appoint someone to organize a pot luck luncheon for some of your busiest days. This accomplishes two things. 1) it promotes a sense of camaraderie among regular and temporary employees and 2) it saves them from having to fight the line ups at the food courts; giving them more time off of their feet.

Maintenance – Always important but now is the time to make certain that all of your light fixtures are working; your exit signs are lit, your fire extinguishers have been checked, your flooring and carpets have no turned up edges that can trip people, your POS and printers are working properly, your doors or door grills are in good repair, ceiling ducts are clean and dust free, fitting rooms are clean and welcoming, shelves are firmly in place to avoid accidents, no chipped glass anywhere, no rough edges on sign holders, the back room is well organized, the plumbing (if any) and any illuminated store signage is working properly. You won’t want to be spending valuable on floor and customer time taking care of pesky maintenance issues that could be taken care of in advance. Emergencies aside, your concentration needs to be elsewhere so…get it done now.

Watch for the Holiday Season Tips #2, coming soon.

All the Success!

DMSRetail Team  

PS. To make the most out of the upcoming holiday season, utilize the tips, techniques and tools that are in DMSRetail’s Super Retail Success Bundle – go here:


Motivation and KPI’s

As any retail professional knows, KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) provide valuable information about the retail operation as a whole, and about individual business units – stores, for instance.

Often, store performance is quickly evaluated on the basis of a few select KPI’s. Those are usually the KPI’s that store management can have a direct and immediate impact on. For example, sales compared to target and prior year, sales per hour, average sale per customer/ transaction, average units per customer/transaction, conversion and wage cost.

It is extremely important, for the motivation and well being of the management and staff, that all of the KPI’s be looked at relative to one another. It simply does not work to single out one KPI and rush to judgment. It’s just not a very smart thing to do. And here’s why.

Let’s take an example of a store that is being managed by a competent and experienced person. This store is achieving sales 25% above the prior year and 100% of target. Already you can see that this store has been planned for a 25% sales increase over the prior year – which is a healthy increase and some would even say unreasonable. However, the store is doing it so we’ll leave it at that.

This store is performing better than chain average for wage cost, sales per hour and conversion. The average units per transaction are considerably higher than chain average. The average sale ($) per transaction/customer is consistently below chain average – but not by much. The District and Regional Managers for this store are very, very concerned about the ASPC (average sale per customer). They are concerned to the point that they talk about nothing else – not the fact that the target is being met, not that UPT’s are high – nothing else except ASPC.

The Store Manager knows the reason but no one seems interested. The reason is this: the store is located in an area that has a low income demographic. This has not always been the case but, in recent years, the more affluent customers have slowly moved away as low income apartment buildings and government subsidized housing have taken over the area. This fact is not in dispute. Everyone is aware of this, and Head Office management readily admits that the area has undergone a significant change.

So, this store is sent thousands of units of clearance merchandise from other stores because it is recognized that much more low priced merchandise can be moved out of this location than any other store in the region (much like a clearance warehouse) and, also, it helps in keeping the other stores ‘clean’ and mostly regular priced; driving up their APSC which is certainly good for the company overall.

For many of you it is probably quite clear, already, why the ASPC might be lower than chain average. The customers in this area buy more units but the units are very low priced. One could make the argument that because the prices are so good, customers should buy enough units to move the average sale up to chain average. However, that would ignore the fact that the majority of customers have less money in their pocket to spend. They can buy more units at low prices but the bottom line is that they will still spend less, in total, than their more affluent counterparts. This is not rocket science and does not require any degree of genius to understand.

 Store Manager's Toolbox

The resistance and unwillingness to understand this on the part of the District and Regional Managers is causing serious motivation issues in the store.

The Manager, the Assistant Manager and all of the Sales Associates cannot possibly feel motivated in a situation like this. No matter how well they do compared to target and last year, and no matter how hard they work to keep the other KPI’s at or above chain average, there is only one thing discussed during store visits – ASPC.

One may say that the District and Regional Managers are simply trying to challenge the management and staff to achieve bigger and better things and that they are focusing on the problem area for that reason. And that would be fine if the problem area could be corrected by working harder, by hiring better people, by training etc. But it cannot. And it makes no sense whatsoever for this conversation to keep taking place.

This is not motivation and it is not challenging. This is nonsense and the only result is frustrated and de-motivated employees who will soon start missing targets and dropping below average in all of their KPI’s. And, then, of course management and staff will begin to leave and the company will have lost a great team.

DMSRetail believes strongly in building a performance culture; in holding people accountable and in monitoring and measuring KPI’s constantly. But to focus on one area that is not doing well while ignoring the realities around that and to minimize the achievements in all of the other areas, is a clear path to poor performance.


All the Success,


Making Retailers Successful

+1 (312) 239-0919

PS. Best Foot Forward Bundle is an affordable compilation of most successful DMSRetail Success Guides and Tools. Get it now! Click on the banner!

Store Manager's Toolbox

Who doesn’t want more success and less stress?

As every retailer knows, the holiday season is the biggest opportunity we get to make things happen in a big way. We have more people in our stores and that provides us with a huge opportunity to work hard to convert them into buying customers. Are your Store Manager’s ready for that challenge? Do they know how to increase their conversion rates to make the most out of all of that extra traffic? The Super Retail Success Bundle includes the Retailer’s Guide to Emotional Hot Buttons. It’s an easy read for all of your people and it will make a huge difference in the conversion rate.

By working hard, we mean doing everything we can, in store, to ensure the customer chooses to buy from us. We have to make our windows and stores attractive to draw them in. We have to have plenty of friendly and knowledgable staff to greet them, build rapport, determine their needs, present the appropriate options and, finally, close the sale. You’ll find the fundamental selling steps in Winning at Store Management…included in the Super Retail Success Bundle. Those open ended questions are critical to your success – let all of your people learn all about them.

Our people have to be well trained and they must know what is expected of them. They have to understand that customers always come first, regardless of the tasks at hand. Do you know how you are going to make sure your management and their teams are ready to make the most of the opportunities ahead? We can help you with that. 22 Ways of Highly Successful Retail Managers gives you so many tips on how to manage your people to achieve higher results than you thought possible. And, yes, it is included in the Super Retail Success Bundle!

The stores need to be exceptionally clean and well maintained at all times; inventory has to be in the right place at the right time; the work schedules have to be well thought out so that the needs of the business and the needs of the employees are all taken care of. Do your Managers have an Organizer/Planner that is designed specifically for them? You get the one and only Store Manager’s Organizer/Planner with the Super Retail Success Bundle.

In short, you and your Store Managers need to be Superheros before, and during, the holidays. We know it’s tough and, because DMSRetail is in the business of ‘making retailers successful’, we are currently offering an incredible promotion on the Super Retail Success Bundle. You and your people can become Superheroes, in retail, by applying the knowledge gained from this giant bundle of retail management information, best practices, success tips and how-to’s.

This is the bundle of Success Guides, Tools & DVD’s that provides all the information needed to succeed and reach Superhero status! So far we have only mentioned 4 of the amazing Success Guides & Tools you’ll get with the Super Retail Success Bundle. There are 4 more – Retail Math Made Simple – 2nd Edition; Retail Customer Service Fundamentals (excellent for your new hires – permanent or temporary); Managing for Higher Retail Success and ‘I Succeed’ Retail Employee Evaluation System (invaluable for quick coaching and performance discussions). And, don’t forget, there is a 6 DVD Collection and 5 Bonuses.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting ..first of all, we have reduced the price of the electronic instant download version of the Super Retail Success Bundle by a whopping $50.00. That means you get the 8 Success Guides and Tools mentioned above PLUS a 6 DVD Collection PLUS 5 professional development bonuses all for only $147.

But, as great as this sounds, that’s not even the end of the savings. There’s more. We are going to ship the DVD Collection, that goes with the electronic instant download version of the Super Retail Success Bundle, at no charge to you. That’s right, free shipping of the DVD’s to anywhere in the world.

The total savings amount to $69.95 off of the regular selling price of the Super Retail Success Bundle – that’s a 32% savings for you. And it’s a savings of 65% off the cost of the individual Success Guides, Tools, DVD’s and Professional Development Bonuses when purchased separately. When you think of how much more business you’ll do as a result of being the owner of a Super Retail Success Bundle…well, the value is unquantifiable. You can manage your stores and your teams with much more success. Achieve those targets! Increase sales and profit! Who doesn’t want to have a lot less stress and a lot more success?

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