Are Recent Data Breaches Affecting Retail Sales?

Over the last few months several retailers were affected by breaches to computer systems that have sensitive personal information of their customers, including credit or debit card numbers, addresses or more. In the months since then retail sales have been affected.

Are Recent Data Breaches Affecting Retail Sales?The data breaches have caused US consumers to alter their buying behaviors. A company called Feedzai conducted a study called “2014 Reaction to Financial Data Breaches Study.” It found that 40 percent of Americans now use cash instead of credit cards due to data breach problems over the last few months. The study also showed that consumers blame the retailers for lax security. Consumers who don’t trust retailers won’t shop there. Here’s the proof of that lack or trust effecting sales: 28% of the study respondents stopped shopping in the stores affected by the data breaches.

One thing that the study also showed was that despite those data breaches, 52% of study respondents still think that shopping in brick and mortar stores is safer than shopping online. You would think that the data breaches would show otherwise!

All that said, a CyberSource report stated that despite the online fraud, retail losses decreased 0.9% in 2013. Given the short memories of most Americans, it is hard to say that the data breaches of December through February will have a negative long term effect on retail sales. Many people believed that online shopping was too dangerous. Today more people shop online than ever. Since most of the retailers affected have taken steps to make it right with their customers, and shore up the security issues, many consumers will probably stop thinking twice about shopping in those stores.

How retailers bounce back from the rash of data breaches will be the final determination. If retailers as a whole take steps to be sure customer data is safe, retail will bounce back from the past. Trust can be re-earned if the right steps are taken.

Incoming search terms:

  • are recent data breeches affecting sales
  • security breach affecting sales

Mystery Shopping Benefits – What Attracts Your Customers

Mystery shopping has a lot of different uses. One you may not thought of is using it to find out what works in your store and what doesn’t to attract customers. Having an unbiased eye on your displays and in store marketing, as well as having them review ads and marketing efforts before visiting the store, can be invaluable for refining your efforts to attract new customers.

Mystery Shopping Benefits - What Attracts Your CustomersMost people think that mystery shoppers are just to test your employees. They are, but they are also another good source to tell you what works in your store where displays and marketing come into play. After all, they are sent into your store to shop, and like any other customer they are influenced by what they see, hear and what they read. Why not make use of that experience as well?

Studies on retail sales and what influences them have proven that displays make a big difference with customers. Even more than big price cuts. Good displays showcase products in the best light. Those who might come in hesitant about a product will see it in its best light and that good display will push them towards purchase. A mystery shopper can let you know if the main product displays are working. Did they find that they didn’t feel the need to comparison shop?

Good displays also lend to impulse buys. A mystery shopper can judge if the other displays, displays set up close to the registers to encourage impulse buys are working as well. If the mystery shopper can be enticed to purchase that extra, then that is a good display that lends to upselling.

Ask for mystery shoppers of different ages and income demographics. Since customers of different age or income demographics shop differently, test out how you stack up to the differences. Your store may be targeting a specific one, or trying to appeal to many of them. Not matter the case, get a mystery shopper to test out the ones you target the most. Make sure that you are addressing what attracts customers to your retail business and use a mystery shopper to test it out.

Incoming search terms:

  • word-of-mouth OR wom product

Learning Styles – Kinesthetic Learners

If you have to just jump in and get your hands dirty to learn something, you might just be a kinesthetic learner. Of all the learning styles, kinesthetic learners are the “hands on” favorite of the bunch… pun intended!

Learning Styles - Kinesthetic LearnersKinesthetic learners, unlike other learning styles, are more physical. They like to use their body and sense of touch to learn about the world, and are often sports, dance and exercise enthusiasts, and gardeners or like hobbies that require them to use their hands. Kinesthetic learners need to get physical to think about problems or ideas. They will often exercise or run or dance to help get the creative juices flowing. They tend to be very tactile and like textures. They also tend to communicate with their bodies as well as their words, using a lot of hand gestures or movement to make their point.

When learning something new, compared to other learning styles, kinesthetic learners would rather jump right in and get their hands on the topic, than sit and listen to someone discuss it. Think of your high school biology class, they were the ones who couldn’t wait to dissect the frog and very impatiently waited for the teacher to finish their instructions and lecture. Another example is the person who instead of reading instructions or looking at diagrams just took something apart to figure it out and then put it back together.

Many people who are kinesthetic learners go into areas like mechanical, construction and repair work, sports and athletics, drama and dancing for their careers. They tend to use phrases like “that feels right to me”, “I can’t get a grip on this”, “Stay in touch” or “My gut is telling me” in their language. A good learning strategy for the kinesthetic learner is to do role playing. The act of acting things out will help set the learning. As many athletes and performers know, practice makes perfect, and for the kinesthetic learner, practice makes learning possible.

Incoming search terms:

  • pictures on physical learning style
  • 5 ways to teach a kinesthetic person to dissect a frog
  • bodily/kinesthetic learner
  • hobbies for kinesthetic learners
  • kinesthetic learner 15 careers
  • Kinesthetic learner and marketing
  • kinesthetic learning hobbies

Learning Styles – Visual Learners

Learning is a lifetime thing, and knowing your learning style is a big advantage when trying to learn something new. Learning styles, people fall into three basic categories: audio, visual and kinesthetic. Everyone has one main or dominant style, but often we use one or both of the others to supplement the learning process.

Learning Styles - Visual LearnersThink back to school and how you remembered things best when you were tested. If you had to remember how you wrote it down or how it was shown to you, you are most likely a visual learner. Visual learners learn best from using their eyes and like diagrams or pictures. They tend to be good at reading people’s body language. Visual learners also fall into categories: linguistic and spatial. Visual linguistics learn best through written language, like reading and writing, and remember information better if they wrote it down themselves. Visual spatial learners aren’t good with written language but learn well from charts and diagrams or demonstrations. Showing them something works much better than telling them.

Visual learners often are good at remembering visual details like colors and spatial relationships, and often have a good sense of direction. Most prefer to read information themselves than to hear a lecture, and tend to be good note takers, although their notes may also have lots of doodles and drawings. When listening to a visual learner speak, you would tend to hear phrases like “Let’s take a look at this.” or “Let’s look at this from a different perspective.”

If you have to teach a visual learner, use a lot of diagrams, mind maps, word webs, visuals, and other forms of graphic organizers. If you are a visual learner, use those kinds of note taking techniques to connect ideas and remember them.

Remember that visual learners have to see what they need to learn in order to retain it, so make things visual for them.

Is Marketing Experience More Important Than “New Blood”

Marketing experience and new blood are both important aspects of branding for our company. The job market is tight, and there is some debate about whether companies want people with experience or would rather have “new blood” full of new ideas on branding. What many are Is Marketing Experience More Important Than "New Blood"finding is that experience counts and people who can show that they have provided real results to another employer are more valuable to prospective employers. That translates to any marketing company you, as a retailer, may be looking to hire. Find one with long term experience but nimble enough to get results in the marketplace.

If you look at ads for marketing jobs, ads for “brand manager” were up 10% from one year ago, and “assistant brand manager” job postings have gone up 10 times. Postings for “marketing director” have fallen though, more than 30%. Companies are hiring for specific skills in order to promote growth in their organization. Things like content development or marketing analytics, and also things like digital and social-media, e-commerce, direct and customer-relationship marketing, market research and analytics and shopper marketing.

Having experience is the key. Even those who are hired as “generalists” should be digital and social-media savvy. For marketing purposes that means knowing technology and having other skill sets that are needed to do the job in the marketing firm.

But what if you are an “old school” marketer? Well, you if you can learn, you are still a hirable and an asset. Why? Because you can prove your track record. A strong company also looks for leadership, creativity and the ability to plan and successfully execute plans. All the skills in the world will get a company nowhere if there is no leadership in place to rope the skills into the plan put in place.

Skills are important, experience and a track record is more important. When looking for a marketing company, like Retail Business Development, find one that has the skills and the experience to handle your marketing needs.

Incoming search terms:

  • why new blood is important in company

Why Use Mystery Shopping? Rate Your Customer Service Against Your Competition

You know that mystery shopping is a great way to improve customer service in your own business, but did you know that it’s also a great way to rate your customer service against your competition?

Why Use Mystery Shopping? Rate Your Customer Service Against Your CompetitionMystery shoppers are not a new thing, but they are a smart way to keep tabs on what is happening in your store when you aren’t there. You know that they look for the following: How is your customer service? How do they treat your customers? Are they friendly and customer-focused? How long does it take them to greet people when they come in? Are they helpful and polite when they do or bored and annoyed? How well do your employees know about the products and services they are selling? Are displays up to date and eye catching? Is the store clean and neat? Are your employees neatly dressed, professional looking or in uniform? Are they following store policy about appearance, cleanliness and so forth?

Here’s the really cool thing: mystery shoppers can also do the same at your competitors and let you know how you stack up. All of the things that the mystery shopper will look for in your store, they can look for in others as well. That is an incredibly important tool to improve how things run in your own business. Knowing that your competitors have better displays means you can improve yours.

Knowing that their employees have more knowledge shows you that you need to increase your staff training. In every area where your own store can be assessed, so can your competitors. Having that information is also a good way to change your own store policies to improve your customer service.

Knowledge is power. Knowledge of your competitors will give you a powerful edge. Use mystery shopping to rate your customer service against your competitors it will help you improve your business and your bottom line.

Retail Store Downsizing – Fad or Fixture?

Retail store downsizing is a new trend in retail. But is it a fad, or will it become a fixture? Time will tell, but smaller may be the way to go.

Retail Store Downsizing - Fad or Fixture?Having your retail store go smaller is a good decision. Many businesses are finding the benefit to small, enough that it may not be just a fad, but a longstanding business decision. There are a few reasons, all of which will lead to a more profitable business going forward.

Commercial real estate for your retail store is expensive. Whether you purchase your store or lease it, you will have the overhead of monthly payments. If you purchase your space, you will pay per square foot for the purchase, and also for the real estate taxes. If you lease the space, you will pay per square foot for the rental amount. In both these situations small means lower payments. Small store space also means lower utilities. Lower heating and air conditioning costs. Lower electricity costs for lights and electronics. In both areas, utilities and real estate, you will save a substantial amount of money.

Downsizing means you will require less staff. This can be a benefit in two ways. First, you can be choosy and have the best, most qualified staff on hand. This means better customer service and happier customers. That also means more business as you get happy customer referrals. But it will also save you a substantial sum on payroll expenses. Not just actual salaries paid, either. The savings extends to your taxes. Payroll taxes are expensive. Benefits for your employees are expensive too. Not having as many employees on the payroll will save a lot.

So retail store downsizing fad or fixture means you can still take advantage of big brand marketing. Your products will attract customers, no matter if your space is smaller. Take advantage of this in your marketing and your displays. Provide excellent service to bolster those brands.

Going small may not be a fad, but even if it is, take advantage of the savings now and build your business.

Incoming search terms:

  • downsizing on for a store

Finding Points of Failure in Your Retail Store – Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping is a great way to find points of failure in your retail store. Knowledge is power and in this case knowledge will improve your bottom line.

Finding Points of Failure in Your Retail tore - Mystery ShoppingIf someone went into your store right now, what would they find? You hope they would find well trained staff that greet warmly every customer, have exceptional product knowledge, great upselling skills, and know and follow store policy inside and out. That’s what you want to find, but is it reality? Mystery shopping is really the only way to find that out.

So, how often do sales walk out the door of your store? You don’t know, but you have a suspicion they do. So, do you have weeks to figure out how to stop those lost sales? Of course not, that would cost you even more. You need to know, specifically, what needs improving. Finding those points of failure should be your priority.

So what are those points of failure? If your staff doesn’t greet every customer warmly when they come into your store, that’s a point of failure. If your staff falters in product knowledge, that’s a point of failure. If your staff doesn’t offer or up sell accessories, that’s a point of failure. If your store isn’t clean and well cared for, that’s a point of failure. If your staff isn’t dressed appropriately, that’s a point of failure.

Any of these things can and do turn off customers. Not being greeted or even acknowledged when they come in the store, in a warm manner not one that makes them feel “salesed” is the first thing that will send them back out the door. Not buying a phone because the sales person didn’t know enough about it to help them decide. Or worse, buying it and returning it because it wasn’t what they wanted or needed.

Mystery shopping is the perfect way to find out what your points of failure are. Use that knowledge to improve your bottom line.

Incoming search terms:

  • a retail store potential failpoint

How to Sell More at Your Retail Store – Mystery Shopping!

As a retailer you always want to sell more. So how can you sell more, boost sales in your retail store? Mystery shopping! Mystery shoppers will give you good feedback about how your store is working. This information is gold when trying to figure out how and where to train and improve your staff.

How to Sell More at Your Retail Store - Mystery Shopping!Mystery shopper programs are a great way to get an unbiased view of what kinds of experiences customers have in your store. A good mystery shopper is accurate and thorough and able to provide you with a list of items and conclusions that will help you make immediate improvements to your business. Companies like Retail Business Development (RBD) have programs that are designed specifically to give you the feedback you need. RBD has two programs, Technology Store Shopper and MyVirtualDM to cover all the bases.

Both RBD programs will give you very detailed information that you can use to improve your business. A great mystery shopper can tell you many things: what your customers experience when you’re not there; sales staff’s sales effectiveness and product knowledge; whether each customer has a positive and consistent experience; whether store operations and dealer compliance are being met; strengths and weaknesses in staffing; and identifying opportunities for higher profits.

Being aware of staffing areas that are problematic means you can correct them. Correcting them means that customers are happier. If those areas involve issues with the need for additional training for staff, their new knowledge will only improve their sales which improves your bottom line.

Whatever the problems may be, even small improvements will make a difference in your customer’s experience in your store. Good experiences translate into higher sales, more loyal customers and more referrals by those happy, loyal customers.

So try mystery shopper programs. The cost will more than benefit your bottom line.

Incoming search terms:

  • customer experience

What is Retail Store Management & How Do I Become a Better Manager?

Walk in any retail store and there will be a manager. What is a retail management and what do the managers do? Seems like a simple question, but the answer is somewhat less than simple. A retail manager wears many hats and there are many ways they can improve on their skills.

What is Retail Store Management & How Do I Become a Better Manager? | Retail ManagementA retail manager is responsible for the day to day operations of the store they manage. That means they are the human resources department, sales manager, product manager and loss prevention manager. There are probably a few other jobs they fill, depending on the day and who shows up to work.

To start with, all of the employees of the store report to them. The manager is responsible for recruiting and interviewing new employees, hiring and training new employees, scheduling the staff, supervising and observing the staff and managing payroll. They are responsible for business operations and report to the owners about profit and loss, manage the store facilities, i.e. ensure they are clean safe, they monitor and try to control “shrink” or theft of products. They also monitor products and order needed products, receive them, price them and deal with damaged products.

They also develop their staff and ensure they are adequately trained. Retail managers are also charged with managing store sales and sales goals. This doesn’t mean they don’t sell as well. In fact, they should be a walking, talking example of how to sell for their employees to follow. That’s a lot of responsibility, and it’s not something people are “born” to do. While some of it is natural talent in dealing positively with people, much is learned.

To become the best in retail management, you should look into management training programs in your industry. These programs should teach the basics of managing people, basic accounting to deal with sales reports and store accounts, and then the specifics of managing a retail store.

We have been a leader in technology industry training sector for over a decade, find out how to make the most of your training, time and staff by clicking the link to find out more!

Incoming search terms:

  • how to better myself in supervising in retail stores
  • Retail manager
  • what does retail store management mean