In this series of posts, our director of customer success and retail strategy John Liebler shares his thoughts on how retailers can evolve and win as the industry changes. John’s perspective comes from his two decades worth of experience working at Signet, starting in full-time sales, becoming a district manager and eventually becoming his company’s divisional vice president of operations & strategic projects. This post continues where last post ended, continuing to discuss methods that retailers have at their disposal to evolve in their constantly transforming industry.
The Right Place at the Right Time, Doing the Right Thing.
A company’s greatest assets are its people but all too often store teams are pulled in too many directions. Staffs are overloaded with tasks, scheduled at the wrong time or in the wrong department doing the wrong job. This creates long lines, reduced customer engagement, dissatisfied employees and ultimately lost revenue.
Retailers should be hyper-focused on creating efficient schedules that take into account store traffic patterns, corporate tasks, promotional activities and a myriad of other drivers that impact the day to day operations of a store. In this way, the teams can do what they do best, take care of the customer.
While making a sale ensures some form of success and taking care of a customer, it’s even more important to connect with them. The goal of every retail organization and every team member in that organization should not be, to simply make a sale, but to build a relationship. If you work at a store, your job is create such positive experiences for the customers that they would never shop anywhere else. How do you this? By gathering information about your customers and putting that information into the hands of your sales teams you give the teams the power to connect with the customers on an entirely new level.
A well-trained sales person who knows the customers previous purchase habits, other products they have purchased, their special occasions, family connections and even social media posts becomes a tremendous advocate for the customer. Take note of how this differentiates your stores from others, and allows you to truly create the ultimate customer experience.
Emerging technologies that drive in-store efficiency, employee engagement and customer satisfaction are the truly the catalyst driving the retail revolution. Retailers should investigate technologies for optimizing payroll, task management, customer outreach, Clienteling and Artificial Intelligence. Understanding, investing in and leveraging these technologies is the key to connecting with the customer at all levels of the organization.
• Do your homework (but do it quickly): Moving too quickly or too slowly when it comes to investing in technology systems can be devastating. Move to quickly and businesses often end up with very expensive systems that don’t solve their problems. Move too slowly and by the time the technology is implemented its often outdated. Be pragmatic but be diligent.
• Involve the end users: The best technology won’t yield results if no one uses it. Be sure to involve the end users in every phase from scoping through implementation. Be sure to include a robust change management process in any roll out that includes extensive communication, comprehensive training, user adoption metrics, reporting and incentives.
• Be agile but be disciplined: What you think you want today will change tomorrow. Be agile by setting adjustable and realistic timelines, be willing to adjust scope (within reason) and when possible utilize a phased rollout approach to reduce risk. Be disciplined, hold teams accountable to delivery dates, stay on budget and guard against scope creep.
Here’s the bottom line: winning the retail revolution is all about adapting to the new ways of doing business and creating the ultimate customer experience, building dynamic teams and deploying technologies that bring it all together.