Finding a simple and effective way to improve store performance
Improve your store performance
Sales professionals’ role in curating the customer experience can be considered a universal cruciality in retail; up to 80%1 of consumers believe their shopping experience is improved when staff is eager to help. At the same time, 75%1 of shoppers will abandon a transaction if not given access to knowledgeable associates.
These figures highlight an often-neglected truth: store staff, their availability, and clienteling play a key role in driving store performance, productivity and revenues. Ensuring staff’s availability to help incoming traffic should be considered critical to a location’s success.
Despite recent technological and analytical advancements, few retailers monitor the effectiveness of their workforce scheduling.
Even fewer have the expertise required to improve their schedules in a way that drives sales and increases the customer experience. Unfortunately, workforce scheduling is often based upon archaic practices that ignore store data such as traffic patterns, basket, and revenues and are not designed to meet customers’ demands.
With today’s intense competition and high customer expectations, ensuring your store performance can be a straightforward way to increase productivity and enhance customer service2. Compared to other initiatives such as IT investments or store transformations, optimizing workforce schedules is, if done correctly, simple, easy to achieve, and inexpensive.
A key requirement of this approach is the ability to understand, with accuracy and detail, employees’ workload at different times in the day.
As purchases can vary by day and by hour, scheduling optimizers must be versatile and allow high flexibility.
For example, our experience suggests that at many stores in Asia, lunch hours are the busy period of the week with the rest of the day presenting limited opportunities. In contrast, a grocery store in the US might find that their traffic and revenue is highest during the weekend. To capitalize on these insights, innovative retailers are making sure that their staffs’ schedules align with these patterns and that the correct number of employees are working at the correct times.
The backbone of this store performance approach3 relies on:
- Reliable store information, such as revenue breakdown per store per hour / products
- A flexible workforce – with a mix of full-time, part time and temporary staff that can adapt to schedules that may change on a weekly basis
- Performance management processes with clear productivity targets to monitor store results
It is critical to use a tool that can turn your store data into simple and useful outputs that help to effectively make decisions.
A responsive dashboard with key analytics will save time and effort in deciding what changes to make, allowing you to run multiple ‘what if’ analysis based on specific needs.
In implementing this change, many companies have the chance to access to data previously not available that can then be customized into tailored reports to suit their organizational needs and business intelligence requirements.
Once the changes have been identified, the best way to maximize success, mitigate worry, and smoothly introduce staff to the changes a new system can bring is by having a proactive change management plan in place from the project’s onset.
To alleviate the concern an even slight change in scheduling can cause for staff, it is essential that communication be direct and transparent. An effective change management plan ensures that the true intent of the initiative, improving customer experience & workload balance, is communicated and that employees’ needs are considered when determining the new optimized scheduling.
Finally, once change is implemented, retailers should not forget follow up. It is essential to monitor compliance at each participating store and to collect and address staff’s feedbacks.
To combat showrooming and decreasing store performance retailers should start by leveraging current resources to provide a better customer experience. Careful and comprehensive planning is required to go through the process – this is where SBT scheduling optimizer can help.
Discover more about our retail expertise & successes in helping clients improve their performance.
Andrea Varotto – Consultant
Credit: Alexandre GODREAU