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Challenge of RM and DM

The job of a District or Regional Manager is a tough one…no argument here. You have to make the numbers happen and your stores must comply with all of the requirements set out by the organization.

Sales, merchandising, customer service, maintenance, scheduling, special event management… and so much more!

Actually, as a DM or RM, all of that might be easy if you were in the store with the Store Managers and the Associates every day. But, of course, you’re not. Therein lies the difficulty!

Managing remotely requires you to be even better than you were when you were a top performing Store Manager. The difference…as we said…you aren’t there. In fact, it’s probably the single, biggest hurdle for any newly promoted District Manager to overcome.

But, even though you’re not there, you’re still accountable. Not being there is no excuse for non performance. No self-respecting DM or RM will even try to use absence as an excuse. Well…maybe once.

But they’ll soon find out that they’d have to claim that everything that goes wrong is because they weren’t there. You see what we mean…futile.

And it will sound downright silly! The District Manager or Region Manager is accountable for the group of stores (business units). S/he has to get the numbers and operate the stores effectively. That’s it!

Anyway, that’s naming the problem. What’s the solution?

That’s going to take a little more time. We can start by telling you that it’s all about relationships and leadership skills.

The single, most critical thing smart District Manager’s do to get results is….build strong relationships with their teams through excellence in their leadership skills and ability.

Follow up, Uniformity & 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.

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.

As a leader, give this a few moments thought. Here are some questions to guide you.

1) Are most of my instructions actually 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!

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!

Special Pricing Alert – Buy One, Get One at 50% off Expires in 17 Days! Register for Retail Standards, Compliance & Execution Seminar Now.

Retail Standards, Compliance
& Execution Seminar

April 26 & 27, 2016
Kingston, Jamaica

Until March 27th pay $1,495 for one person; 2nd person admitted for $749.

Seminar Outline

* Introducing the Store
and Setting the Scene

* Development of Standards and Expectations

Why Adherence to Standards is a Critical Success Factor

The Effect of Compliance on the Operating Statement

5 Reasons Why Some Employees Don’t Meet Standards

* How to Capitalize on Every Type of
Store Visit & Resulting Action Plans

Reviewing the SVR from a Productivity Point of View

Building the Action Plan

7 Proven Follow up Techniques

* Creating a Road Map to Excellence in Compliance & Execution

Communication
Removing Obstacles

* Scheduling for Wage Cost Compliance
and Productivity

Effective Scheduling

Creating a ‘Happy’ Zero Tolerance Environment

Costing Schedule Adjustments

Spotting the Red Flags

* Loss Prevention through Customer Experience Best Practices

Shrinkage: External, Internal and Paperwork Errors

Awareness of Surroundings – Importance of Positioning

10 Sure Fire Clues to Identify Shoplifters and Internal Theft

Safe Actions to Thwart the Thief

Q & A

Certificate Awards
This seminar is interactive. Participants will have the opportunity to spend time working individually and in groups, to discuss their ideas and to come up with solutions to various issues presented by the Case Study Store.

Exclusive Seminar Fee Structure:
Only Until March 27th – Pay $1,495 for one person; 2nd person admitted for $749 – that’s 50% off.
After March 27 – $1,495 per person

Included in the Fee: Two Days – Case Study, presentations, videos,
practical & relevant exercises, workshop materials, continuous refreshments, full lunch and all take away materials.

Certificate is awarded upon completion.

Please address all inquiries to Josephine
Hill, Events Manager: josephinehill@dmsretail.com

WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING YOU!

Teams and Super Star Performance

There is no denying that working in a team can inspire each team member to do his very best. However, that doesn’t mean it will. And, very often, working in a team can provide a very convenient cover for those who may not be pulling their weight.

Yes, we know about the self policing aspect of teamwork…that the high performers will either help the low performers or try to get rid of them.

Although there is some truth to that…it’s amanagement cop out! You owe it to your business, and to your top performers, to effectively manage poor performers to improve or move on.

In a retail store, all associates need to be assigned individual targets. Without those targets, it is difficult to figure out who really showed up for work and who didn’t. Really… how would you know for sure?

It’s impossible to effectively manage the performance of one individual when you cannot, or do not, measure it.

We want each and every one of our associates to be accountable, right?

So, each associate needs to have their own goal to work towards; they need to be aware of what their personal target is and they need to be aware…at all times…how they are doing compared to that target.

If your associates are not currently working toward their own individual targets, you’re leaving money on the table. You can expect a nice increase in sales when you make the change!

Addressing a concern…
We often hear that managers are hesitant to introduce individual targets for fear that the associates might start fighting for sales; in case it upsets the nice family feeling that exists in the store.

It’s true that a group of individuals, who are all trying to reach their goals, will have their moments and the Store Manager will need to manage through those. But, with the right disciplines and principles in place, it’s not that difficult. It’s just part of the job and Store Managers need to have, or acquire, the skills to do it. 

Driving sales through a group of high performance individuals is not something to be feared. It’s a great challenge to be embraced. And the results are worth it

One last thing…It may be a bit more difficult to assign individual targets in certain retail environments, but if you think hard enough, you can come up with a way to narrow down the team targets and results, that will allow you to measure and manage performance effectively.

Teamwork can be a wonderful thing. But it’s not always the best thing for the store.

January is Not a Slow Month

Every year, right around this time, Store Managers are trying to do the impossible…or very nearly impossible. That is making January schedules with the hours that they are allowed to use as directed by Head Office.

In fairness, I must say that this is not the case with every retailer. Some have learned the ‘right’ way to schedule for January.

Let’s begin by discussing the holiday season of many years ago. In November and December stores were jam packed with shoppers trying to find just the right gift for each of their friends and family members. The momentum built and built right up until the early afternoon of December 24th each year.

And then, a hush came over the stores, malls, parking lots….just about everywhere. People had gone home to their families or other festive seasonal celebrations.

They were finished shopping.

In fact, they were finished shopping for quite a lengthy period of time except for the big bargain hunter rush the few days following the 25th. After that, the stores and malls became so quiet it was barely worth opening the doors.

That’s what January used to look like.

Naturally, retailers reigned in their spending on labor just as customers reigned in spending on just about everything they didn’t need. It was time to pay off their credit card bills and get some money put aside in savings again.

But, gradually, all of that changed. Many shoppers waited until well into December to get out and shop, leaving retailers to wonder and worry if it was going to happen. January changed also. Some retailers have changed with the times, but some still have not.

January is no longer a super quiet month for retailers. They won’t necessarily make record breaking sales but, if they play their cards right, they will manage to hang on to a lot of the sales they made in December and gain some more besides.

This is where the Head Office people who are working with allowable hours have difficulty…particularly those who are not out in stores. What they see are low sales numbers, on paper, that simply don’t warrant high wage expenditures.

And the cycle continues. No hours, no sales. No sales, no hours.

Store Managers have been told that sales achieved in January of the prior year were very low so the Store Manager can only use a skeleton staff this year. The wage cost will be way too high, even at that. But, what those Head Office people do not see is how different things are now.

The stores are not empty. There are lots of people out spending gift cards. There are lots of people trying to return or exchange gifts. And there are many people just out and about to see what kind of bargains they can find.

Some may even say “It’s a zoo!!”

Now, the smart, experienced Store Manager will a) schedule to meet the needs of the business…meaning traffic in this case and b) will make sure that many of those hours are used to turn refunds into exchanges with upsells and add-ons to get even more dollars in the register and c) will make sure that many of those hours are used to actively sell to all of the people who are in the store trying to spend their gift cards or cash from Grandma!

Those people want help… product knowledge, location, sizes, color choices…all of the things that Sales Associates should be all too pleased to help them with.

Using a  small store – say 2500 square feet – as an example, some Managers will only have enough hours to schedule one person to open, another to come in for a three hour shift to cover lunch and then an evening shift. In bigger stores, just scale this up. The result is the same…too few people working in the store and customers are not being looked after.

The staff will be heads down at the cash register, probably processing return after return. Most of the customers might be open to exchanging their item but with no staff on the floor, they’ll just do the easier thing and bring it to the cash desk for a refund.

When the staff member does get out from behind the cash desk, s/he probably has to deal with a trashed store and the spiral just goes down, down, down.

And, all of those people who came in with the gift card or cash from Grandma didn’t have anyone to talk to or to sell to them…so they very likely either did not buy or did not buy as much as they would have if someone were engaged in a conversation with them…actively selling to them.

I experimented with this a few years ago when the trend was changing. I was the Regional Manager and told all of my Store Managers to schedule for nearly double their sales target, coming in at a respectable wage cost. The plan was to have enough floor coverage to beat target by a huge margin and come in with a lower wage cost. It worked.

Our advice to you regarding January is…schedule to have the stores well covered for the expected traffic level and for potential sales.

It’s not a free ticket to go crazy with hours and needs to be watched carefully but, it really does make sense.

All the Success!

Josephine Hill

DMSRetail Inc.

jhill@dmsretail.com

www.dmsretail.com

PS: We are currently giving away a 2016 Store Manager’s Organizer/Planner to everyone who signs up for the 7 day – $1.00 trial of the Retail Business Academy Platinum Membership. Check it out Retail Business Academy

 

 

Holiday Tip (Tips for Retail Sales Managers)

Here are some snippets for you to consider, and expand on, to improve your retail sales management skills:

People are your most important strategic advantage. If you look at other stores, for example, in a chain store environment all stores have similar if not the same layout, merchandise, tools, procedures, etc. The difference is the people.

Capitalize on the activities you can measure; remember the adage “if it can not be measured, it can not be managed.”

Every day put some time aside (commuting time would be ideal) to think about ways and means regarding how to make your people more productive.

Take the best practices of the top sales associates and put them in place for everybody; the best demo, the best objection-handler, the best closer, and transfer those best practices to the whole sales team. Have the owners of these best practices train the others to do the same. You’ll find your 10% + sales increase just from this.

Sales performance is a function of sales skills + people skills + product knowledge + knowledge of the store environment (like knowing the inventory, being able to process customer inquiries and questions with speed and efficiency, etc.).

Your market and customers are constantly changing. Change is the only constant. What made you successful last year, may not work this year – you must constantly reevaluate your effectiveness. Stay ahead of the curve in terms of what’s happening in the retail world, particularly in your niche.

Retail Sales is a marathon, not a sprint… though it feels like a sprint during these days,  you still have to keep your eyes on the first position and want to get up every morning on the run.

Don’t procrastinate if there is a decision to be made – make it. Get the facts and then make the decision. Ultimately a quick decision-maker will be ten decisions ahead of a slow decision-maker and that’s a competitive advantage.

Remember people pay attention to what the boss/head office pays attention to. Make sure you are in tune with business objectives/tactics and that you clearly understand them. If in doubt, this is a great conversation to have with your supervisor.

Listen to customers; learn to read between the lines. Do not assume you know what they are talking about, or complaining about. Look for quick solutions to customer issues. Make this a culture in the store(s).

Look at and examine your whole sales process. What is not working or can be improved drastically? Where can you increase the productivity/efficiency/effectiveness?

Whenever you are inundated with too many things to do (which is almost always) prioritize. What are the three things that provide the most leverage (most important for your sales performance), then forget to-do’s 4-10 because you’ll never get to them and they are not worth it.

Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions to customers or associates because you may not like the answer. Develop an inquisitive mind. You want to know why customers are or are not buying, why a certain process or promotion in the store is not working. Remember that retail business is not a popularity contest. Get to the bottom of all issues affecting your sales performance.

  Sign Up for the Retail Business Academy, where you  find a ton of resources like techniques, advice and training to move you up a few notches in your skill and capability set. Click to Sign Up Here

Good Selling!

DMSRetail Team

www.dmsretail.com 

Word to the RetailWise 2

Today’s ‘Word to the RetailWise’ is: Look at your store –  including windows, cash desk, fitting rooms (if any), displays, etc. – from your customer’s point of view.

Literally…position yourself exactly the way a customer would.

Walk past your windows, stroll around looking at displays and signage, touch the merchandise, if applicable try a garment on and see what the fitting rooms are like, etc.

Many would say that they do all of these things as a routine and they complete a checklist to ensure everything is perfect. But that is not what we’re suggesting. Anything that has become routine enough to be added to a checklist can easily be dismissed, glossed over or taken for granted. You know what we mean, don’t you?

The point here, is to determine what the customer sees and senses, not whether policies and procedures are being followed.

Are the windows too crowded? Is there dust anywhere? Are the lights aimed properly or do they shine in your face? Are they casting an unusual color of light onto the merchandise? Is there room to move around freely? Are the signs clear or confusing? Are there any sharp edges, pointy hooks, loops in the carpet or anything else that could represent a safety hazard? Is there gum stuck to the floor?

Are the employees well groomed? Are they all poised and ready to assist? Do you like the music that’s playing? Is the door to the backroom or receiving area propped open revealing a not so pretty picture? Are the mirrors and glass all crystal clean?

When standing at the cash desk – remember…from the customer’s side – what do you see? A mass of wires coming out of the POS? Merchandise, paperwork or supplies piled high? Dust? Cashier’s notes stuck all over everything?

What the customer sees and senses, while in your store, is really important. There are plenty of other things you can look for when you do your customer walkthrough. Only you can come up with them all for your particular business. This is just a start.

Aim to perform this exercise often, but spontaneously.

All the Success!
DMSRetail Inc.

PS: Check our most definitive resource center for retail managers and enroll! The Retail Business Academy

Word to the RetailWise

Today’s ‘Word to the RetailWise’ is: Make sure your new hires know what is expected of them. And I want to illustrate that with this short, but very telling story.

Here it is…

In a store that is part of a large international retail chain, I recently witnessed something that gave me reason to believe that their new employees simply did not know what what was expected of them. And, here is why I drew that conclusion…

While checking out, I was the customer next in line behind a woman who was purchasing no less than 15 women’s blouses. 15! It was a great sale for the store. The other item the woman was purchasing was something of a carryall bag. The woman wanted the cashier to put the blouses into the bag – very environmentally friendly and all that, right?

So, as the cashier scanned each blouse, she removed the security tag and crumpled it up and put it into the carryall bag. Not folded, not even close to being folded. These blouses were being handled like something one would throw into the trash can. Seriously, I am not exaggerating.

Overcome with a sense of responsibility to defend every customer everywhere, I spoke up.

I said to the cashier “You know, this lady is buying all of these lovely blouses and you are not handling them very carefully. They’re going to be full of wrinkles and they’re brand new. I would be happy to help you fold them up.” Just a note here, the customer in front of me spoke very little English and that made it difficult for her to get involved in the conversation.

Some may say I should mind my own business but, in my line of work, it’s next to impossible to ignore these things.

I was ready for the worst…possibly a scene!

Anyway, to my absolute astonishment, the young cashier said, “You don’t have to help me. I’ll do it. That’s why I have a job.” I had expected a nasty stare, a flippant or sarcastic remark or, at the very least, a miserable attitude. But, no. The cashier – who I have not seen in this store before and am quite certain she is relatively new – proceeded to fold the items and then when it was my turn to be served  she continued to be very pleasant. What an employee…the kind we don’t come across very often anymore.

The moral of this story is: Teach your employees what is expected of them. This young woman; this new cashier simply didn’t know how she was supposed to handle the merchandise. She was very receptive to my ‘training’. I only hope I did not embarrass her. I commend her for her accepting attitude. But I must fault management for not having taught her properly in the first place. They basically set her up to fail.

All the Success!
DMSRetail Inc.

PS. Check out the Retail Business Academy, cashier performance course is in there too.


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