Archive for the 'Tips' Category

Conversion – Know What is Happening

Everyone in Retail Management seems to understand that Conversion is HUGE….so why do I keep having to go searching for a sales associate to sell something to me?
It’s a great question.
Recently, I arranged some focus group meetings, with Regional Managers, of small and medium sized chains, to answer questions about various retail topics.
Before the meetings I had done some ‘shopping’ or, you may call them mystery shops, to get an idea of the way these Regional Managers were running their stores. I wasn’t in any position to judge them, nor did I want to. 
But, I did need to understand a bit about their perspective on retail operations.
I’ve chosen two examples to tell you about today because the importance of Conversion cannot be overstated, particularly during busy times when selling steps often go out the window due to increased traffic.
One Regional Manager went on, at length, singing the praises of a particular store team in his region. He said they were his highest volume store, they never missed target, they functioned like a well-oiled machine and had true team spirit. 
To his mind, they were, indeed, an incredible team.
Well, it just so happens that my visit to that particular store was among the worst I experienced during my work on this project.
The store is about 5,000 sq. feet, free standing, large front entrance with the cash desk situated quite close to the front entrance doors. 
They sell educational materials and toys for children.
I entered the store and spent a full 15 minutes walking around the store, stopping to look at and touch 20 different items in different locations within the store. 
There were three staff members and 3 to 4 customers, including me, at any given time.
As I approached the front of the store, just as I was passing the cash desk…clearly walking in the direction of the doors to leave…a young man at the cash desk said “hello”. 
I said “hello” pleasantly and kept walking.
The other store used in this example was, again, touted as a fine example of the stores in a particular region. 
It is a women’s apparel store serving a target of 35-55 year old women. The price point is moderate. It’s an indoor, covered mall store; about 3,000 sq. feet with the cash desk situated at the very back near the fitting rooms.
On the day of my shop, the store was very clean and well merchandised. It really did look amazing and I can see that plenty of customers would be drawn in.
There were two staff members on duty and both were at the cash desk. I was the only customer. They did not greet me. 
I’m not even sure they saw me enter, although I made no attempt to sneak in.
I began looking around and touching merchandise – taking a couple of items off the racks to look at. I even tried a jacket on and sought out a mirror to have a look.
After 8 minutes, a sales associate approached me, greeted me and began a conversation about current promotions. 
We had a nice chat and then I continued looking around and, after about another 5 minutes, I left the store.
I should mention, at DMSRetail, we do not advocate anyone trying to catch store personnel doing something wrong. In fact, we generally advise against surprise visits altogether.
A planned visit does much more for the morale and professional development of the Manager and team.
However, as a Regional/District Manager you’ve got to be on top of how your stores perform. Clearly, conversion cannot be as high as it should be in these stores in the example. 
Two fairly senior Regional Managers were telling me things that I knew were not completely true. They were generalising and it was surely costing them sales dollars. 
For the sceptics out there, we’ve seen enough to know that these were not isolated incidents.
Conversion is critical.
You won’t convert at a high rate if shoppers are left to wander around by themselves. Well, except in a convenience store or grocery store…
If the shoppers who are left to wander around do convert to buyers, there’s a really good chance that the amount of the sale and the number of units per transaction will not be what it could be.
Focus on conversion and prove that you 
know what is happening. Don’t just think you know.
There’s too much as stake!
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14 Step Time Management Process

Work with To Do Lists – Daily or weekly, a ‘to do’ list must be created. It must include only those things that you have deemed to be priorities based on your top success factors. Others may inadvertently influence your ‘to do’ list unless you are very careful. Just remember whose ‘to do’ list it is.

Why is it important to use a to do list?

We can’t necessarily keep everything in our memory and, even if we could, why waste the brain space when you can jot it down on paper? Seeing the list of things written down on paper helps you to prioritize. Any possible duplication of effort can be seen at a glance. You get the satisfaction of striking things off the list as they are accomplished.

Appointments – Make a plan for your day, week or month as if you are creating appointments. That is to say, if you plan to do something at 9:30 a.m., and have scheduled that activity as a 45 minute appointment, then do it in the 45 minutes you have scheduled it for. Appointments should have a start and finish time and cannot be left open ended.

Reduce time allotments – Any activity, task, project or meeting can easily expand to use up all of the time allotted to it. For this reason, schedule on the short side. Things tend to be handled more efficiently and effectively when a tighter time frame is in place.

There is more about productivity in retail at DMSRetail.com

Organize – In retail, you must be highly organized. You need a system for reducing clutter (of your space and your mind) and for easy retrieval of documents and information. If your life is full of clutter, your brain is confused and is probably actually preventing you from getting things done.

Make a point of regularly clearing out junk that you don’t need or use anymore. Stuff at home and work should be thrown out if it is not useful to you. You should actually schedule this ‘clutter removal’ appointment once a month or even as often as once a week.

Delegate – Presumably you have competent people working for you so you should be able to delegate according to their particular strengths and availability. Even if you need to break a larger project down into smaller, more manageable pieces it will help you and it will help in development your people.

You’ll need to consider these things when deciding what to delegate:

-Is it a repetitive task?

-If a bad decision is made regarding this issue – what is the impact? Is it easily reversed? Will it negatively affect others? Will it be expensive, for the company, to correct or reverse?

Say “no” – Although it is not always possible, you need to know how to determine what you should say “no” to. If someone asks you to take on a project or task that will not necessarily advance your cause – or contribute to your top success factors – then you need to say “no”. If you find there is no alternative but to accept the project or task, then you need to look for items on your to do list that can be moved to another time slot or ‘appointment time’ or delegated.

There is more about productivity in retail at DMSRetail.com

Remain flexible and reschedule often – You will need to allow for the unexpected. The idea of planning your work and working your plan is a very good one, but sometimes you will just have to be flexible. So, when the need arises, be prepared to reschedule.

Allow yourself some scheduled unproductive time – It doesn’t sound right but it’s important. This is what will keep you going. We can’t have every minute of every day pinned down – sometimes we have to just enjoy ….whatever.

Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do – Sometimes it’s impossible to embark on a big project. Maybe you have limited resources; maybe the expected outcome is still a bit uncertain. For whatever reason, you just know you can’t get the big project done. You can, however, start on small parts of that big project – the parts that you are able to get done and that will be useful when it comes time to get the big project underway. In fact, if you work at it that way you might just find that the big project has suddenly taken care of itself.

Sleep early, wake up early and take good care of your health– The early bird gets the worm! In our case, the early riser gets more done while they are still energetic. It’s a great feeling to know that some people are just lounging around – still in their beds – while you have already accomplished half of your to do list.

What is Your Management Style?

Have you taken our management style quiz yet? Hundreds of our members have.

Here’s the link: http://www.dmsretail.com//Managementstylequiz.htm

Add-on Selling is a Must Do!

An important but often overlooked aspect of the sales process, add-on’s are seen by most salespeople as a burden on the customer. In other cases, salespeople are either indifferent to or even scared of suggesting add-on’s because of the fear of losing the sale.

Contrary to that fear, the best time to suggest an add-on is right after the main sale is closed. The fact that the customer has already said yes indicates that s/he saw the value in your offering, chances of them changing their mind because of an add-on suggestion is slim. Far from it. in fact, studies show that in most cases, provided that the add-on conversation is designed and sold properly, the additional item has enriched the satisfaction they got out of their main purchase.

The benefit of add-on sales on store profitability is tremendous. That is the reason some retail experts suggest that UPT (units per transaction) should be a prime measurement of store productivity. We don’t want to get into a lengthy KPI discussion here, but everything else being equal, you can make a huge difference in your profitability and overall success by increasing your UPT. Most of the increase usually comes from successful add-on sales.

To recap:

1. Contrary to popular belief, immediately after the sale is the best time to sell add-on’s.

2. Increases profitability dramatically.

3.Extends the satisfaction value of the purchase.

4. Your customer will appreciate you for it.

So, make it an agenda item in your next sales meeting and discuss the add-on products, the sales process, the expectations from each staff member and count those extra profit dollars pouring in.


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