A retail organization has many moving parts. Here are three things you need to do to grow your retail business.
Accurate and Quick Communication
Accurate and quick communication from head-office to the stores is essential to the success of a retail organisation.
Each store is a brand ambassador who speaks for the entire brand. A failure to meet the brand’s standards, or to execute programs, doesn’t just hurt one store’s sales and reputation, it hurts all other stores. The onus is on head-office to have the processes and systems in place to ensure that standards and programs are communicated, executed, measured and followed-through.
Retooling and Upgrading Processes
“We are expanding out west”. “We are opening 20 new stores”. Retail growth is celebrated but notoriously hard to achieve. Growth can be risky and costly. It stresses your processes, tools, and teams. To successfully grow from 100 to 500 stores, 500 to 1,000 or 1,000 to 3,000 stores, growth-focused retailers must rethink…and retool.
Thankfully, cloud technologies have boosted the retail execution space. Putting the right processes in place is not for those retailers that can afford it but for those willing to make it happen. It is not a matter of affordability, it is a matter of resolve, of commitment to in-store execution.
So the 100-store retailer can operate like a 500-store retailer, efficiently and cost-effectively. The 500-store retailer can operate like a 1,000 store chain, control quality, rise above the paperwork and focus on what really matters like seasonal program execution, merchandising and in-store experience. The 1,000-store retailer can plan for the future, leverage automation to control quality and minimize risks, at scale.
Customers Have Expectations, Don’t Disappoint Them
Have you ever heard a customer say “I walked into a store and it was awful. The store was too clean, the shelves too well stocked, the service too friendly and the line too short”? No? That’s because customers come into your stores with expectations. They don’t expect, and don’t want, your sales staff to behave like robots, but they also don’t want to be let down. No one likes a messy store, unlabelled products, and unfriendly staff. No-one likes to wait because the store is disorganized, poorly trained or badly run.
Standards ensure that your stores operate at a certain level that is designed to satisfy your customers, drive your sales and protect your brand. Standards protect the brand from poor execution and the outliers that might be few and far between but can do so much damage to a brand, particularly in the age of social media.
Perfection is a Journey
A retail store has many moving parts in any given day. Because of this, there is no such thing as a perfect store or a perfect store visit. Turnover happens. Weather happens. Human errors happen. Even the best store managers let a thing or two fall through the cracks, occasionally.
The purpose of a retail audit or store visit is not to score the store, but to improve the store’s sales and bottom line. Perfection is a journey, not a destination.
SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY
So what’s the opportunity? For a district manager, the opportunity is to hold his/her stores to the highest standards. Anything less is unfair to the brand, the store manager and the customers. For a store manager, the opportunity is to uphold and execute on those standards.