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Did All the Good Ones Get Away?

Well, what do you think? Did all the good ones get away?

Did the amazing retail management and staff suddenly jump ship and get different positions…or change careers?

Or, does it just feel that way because so many encounters in retail stores are unsatisfactory, to say the least?

We surveyed a group of Retail Directors, Senior District Managers, Operations Managers and Store Sales Associates to give us their thoughts.

The results of this survey were not unexpected, really.

For starters, to a person they say that service is just not the same as it was just a couple of short years ago. Worse, even common courtesy and appreciation were noticeably absent.

Of course, every person said that there were exceptions but having courteous, appreciative and knowledgeable staff who want to interact with the customer as an exception rather than a rule doesn’t speak very well for the industry, does it?

So, let’s look at some of the really basic areas, to start with, where the ‘training’ or ‘expected behaviors’ broke down:

1) No greeting…What the heck?
2) Paying no attention to the customer as s/he walked through the store…What customer? Where?
3) Employees eating and drinking on the sales floor or the cash desk…Eww. Classy! And, messy!
4) Employees engaged in calls or texts on their devices while on the sales floor…Umm, no – not OK!

As a natural consequence of all of this…no active selling was taking place in the stores that our group had been shopping in over the past few months. They shop a lot! They see a lot!

As a Retail Business Owner or a CEO or VP Operations you must know what all of this means for your bottom line. And, you know it can’t be good.

When this is going on in your stores, you can’t get the full benefit of your great category management, buying, allocation, logistics or anything else…because everything will get bunged up at store level.

The bad news is you are leaving money on the table every hour of every day in every store.

The good news is the situation, immediately at hand, will not be difficult to fix…and fast.

There are very likely some issues at District and Regional levels also, but those will require separate action and we’ll get back to that.

But, just for now of course, you may need some advice and some special materials to address the issues coming up directly at store level. That is where DMSRetail can help you with a Retail Selling Skills & Customer Service Fundamentals Self Study Program.

You can start training new people and getting ‘not so new’ people back on track.

Before we even think of suggesting you should purchase the program, there is one important thing we need to discuss. We understand you probably have a couple of questions, such as…

“How can a generic program, developed by someone outside of our company, work for my people?”

Here’s the answer for that…

Our retail experts have worked at every level – from the sales floor to the executive floor – of many prominent retailers. They’ve worked in electronics, confections, ladies apparel, footwear, children’s clothing, menswear, telecom, retail recruiting, retail IT companies and retail AI, boutique fashion and department stores, big box, malls, supercentres and grocery, and more.

The Retail Selling Skills & Customer Service Fundamentals Self Study Program consists of 3 DVD’s and a PowerPoint Presentation plus an easy-to-follow Study Guide and Workbook.

While working through the program, the trainee is asked to answer questions about the section just learned. In the Study Guide and Workbook there is a specially designated section where trainees are asked to make notes of anything they would like to ask their manager about.

Additionally, and very importantly, we prompt the trainee on which areas we believe they will need to check with their manager about. As you know, every business operates differently and many things are unique to a particular situation.

So, although our programs are amazingly effective in providing a wealth of knowledge to new or less experienced Floor Associates, Sales Associates, Cashiers and any other position who will interact with customers on your selling floor, we know you will want to have input and that is made very clear to the trainee.

All of this makes the program uniquely yours without the time and effort it takes to develop these programs.

And, this is not just for your new and inexperienced people. This program also serves as a great refresher for more experienced and seasoned individuals who may need to be reminded of some things they may have forgotten.

Another question you might have is “Can I afford it and will it be worth the investment?” And, “When could I get started?”

Easy…it’s very affordable and definitely worth the investment. In fact, you will see a 100% return on your investment in the first few days after only one employee has gone through it. You may not believe it, but it’s true. We guarantee it.

As for when you can get started…the time is now because you need it to be now.

Click here to read more about it and make your purchase today. Then hand it over to one of your employees and tell them to take a couple of hours and go through the program and then come to you, or your designate, to ask a few questions.

Simple… easy breezy! Your employees will be very happy with this program.

So, buy now and use now, to great advantage.

All the Success!
DMSRetail

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Got Leadership Mojo?

Retail Leadership

Live Online Session – Thursday, November 15, 2018.
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. EST (3-5p.m. London, UK)

Your registration includes a recording of the session and the presentation sent to your email.

Sign up today…click here.

With the holiday season upon us, there is no better time to take just two hours out of your busy schedule to help you become a better leader.

This is the time when leadership is most valuable; when you can be the most influential in bringing in the sales and profit numbers for 2018.

Here’s what you’ll take away from this session…

• Management vs. Leadership
• What a Good Leader is…How to Avoid the ’10’ Big Mistakes
• 11 Greatest, Tested and Proven Leadership Principles Ever
• Top 5 Factors that make you a Master of Influence
• Leadership – Culture
• Leadership – Strategy
• Keys to Success
• Motivation Secrets from Top Leaders
• Q&A

Sign up here and now!

Trade just two hours for unlimited gains in your retail operation.

All the Success!
DMSRetail
PS: All registered participants receive the recording and the PowerPoint presentation following the session whether you attend or not.
PPS: If you don’t already know about this, check out our Ultimate Retail Success Collection.
Free gift for you>> Word to the RetailWise for inquisitive retailers. Download your free copy today.

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

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

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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

 


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