Retail Operations – Training Your Employees Should Never Fall Through The Cracks

Employee training should be the most important part of your retail operations. If you want your business to succeed it should be. In order to increase your bottom line, you need to increase sales. That means increasing the sales and technical knowledge of your staff.

Retail Operations - Training Your Employees Should Never Fall Through The CracksSales and technical training for your staff should fit your business. Use e-learning, distance training, onsite training or send the staff out. Whatever you need to do, do it. Spending money on training is investing money into your business. A well trained sales team will provide your customers with the knowledge they need to make the best buying decision for them. A well trained sales team will positively impact your business. In order to provide the best employee training you should provide training on a regular basis; ask vendors to provide training on new products; and make sure you are training yourself as well (i.e. “lead from the front”).

Employee training improves skills and knowledge. Before you think about firing a weak employee, train them. They may not be a bad employee, but just need more training. Overlooking training while allowing them to continue working will hurt your business. More importantly, training will boost the confidence of your staff. Remember too that employees need to be trained on store policy and paperwork as well. Both are also important parts of success for your business. If a salesperson can sell the moon, but not provide you with the paperwork you need to either complete the sales or track for post sale follow up, you have a problem. Dropping the ball post sale can be one way of ensuring customers are one shot deals instead of loyal customers.

Look over your training program. If you don’t have one, set one up. Employee training should never fall through the cracks. Set it up, make them go and reward employees who complete it. It’s that important to your business.

Retail Operations – Your Staff IS Your Biggest Point of Failure and Greatest Asset

In all retail operations, you staff is your biggest point of failure… and you greatest asset. The success of your business lies in the hands of the people you hire to sell to your customers. If they do it well, you thrive, but if they mess up consistently, they can ruin your business.

Retail Operations - Your Staff IS Your Biggest Point of Failure and Greatest AssetStaffing is more than just making sure you have adequate staff on hand to cover the hours your business is open. Part of your consideration should also be how you distribute those hours throughout the week. That means making sure you have more staff at busy times, and less during less busy times. As important as bodies there when you need them most, keep in mind that if they are lousy staff, they are a bigger hindrance than a help.

Store staff shape the experience of the customer. They are the face of your retail operations, which means you should be paying close attention to what keeps your staff happy, and what ensures they know their job. Listen to what your staff wants and their suggestions, and reward their hard work. Train them in sales so they are good salespeople, and train them in the technology they need to answer the questions of their customers.

Your staff are in your store daily. They know or learn how things may work better. They may have good ideas on displays, store flow or how to better serve the customers they deal with daily. When they have good ideas, reward them. Use the ideas and credit the person who came up with it. If you find there are people working for you who are not living up to your expectations, warn them or fire them. Your staff should be trained well. Pay them well and give them good benefits.

Use e-learning to train your staff. Make them better salespeople. Provide it for them to benefit your business as well as themselves.

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.

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Retail Operations – How the Unemployment Rate Affects Your Staffing

In retail operations staffing is one of the most important aspects of the business. The unemployment rate has an effect on whom and how you staff your retail business.

Retail Operations - How the Unemployment Rate Effects Your StaffingOur economy has had unemployment rates averaging over 8% and a real unemployment rate of almost 15%. Shouldn’t that mean it would be easier for you to staff your retail operations? Actually, high unemployment makes it harder to find quality employees and managers, and that is exactly the case. Employers are having a hard time filling positions and there are a few reasons why.

Staffing in high unemployment can be tricky. With the fiscal cliff still unresolved completely, jobless benefits run for 99 weeks, that’s almost 2 years. Those benefits, while not huge, still give those receiving them a bit less incentive to look for a new job. It hurts them beyond that as well by making the gap in their work history longer than the 6 months most employers are looking for, meaning they are less likely to be hired. The longer they are out of the job market, the rustier their skills get, meaning employers see them as needing more training than they may be willing to give.

In many cases, those laid off were not the best employees to begin with. That means the best of the job applicants aren’t the best out there. With the high unemployment rate and more unemployed, a job posting will bring you hundreds of applications and resumes. In order to find the best it takes a lot of time to go through all the resumes to find the best people to interview.

Retail, telecommunications, mall speciality retail outsourcingSo what can you do? First, don’t limit your search for those unemployed for less than 6 months. Because of the economy, many have been unemployed for a year or more. Before looking at their work history gaps, look at their skills and educational background.

In your retail business that must be one of the most important areas to look at. Remember that skills can be trained, intelligence can’t. Consider using an employment service that helps cull through the resumes.

Finding a great fit for your retail operations can happen, it just might take a bit of work. Looking for the right retail outsourcing company? Check us out today

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Business Technology – Using Tablets for Business

Business Technology - Using Tablets for BusinessBusiness technology comes and goes. At one time, a desktop computer with email capabilities was the height of technology. Today using tablets for business will keep you and your company ahead of the curve!

So many salespeople, offsite workers and geeks may be clamoring for tablets in your company. As a business owner, you many be scratching your head wondering how a tablet could possibly make them more productive (and then help make you more money).

Here are just a few of the ways that we have seen tablet computers used to help business…

Say you have reps out in the field who need to submit data. Currently they probably have a log book in which they write the data, then heading back to the office to enter it into your computer system. The issue with this duplicate entry is that human mistakes have a way of slipping in. Now, we are not saying that a tablet will eliminate mistakes, just that the fewer times that the data is “touched” the less chance of errors.

How about when you have new products to roll out to your sales force. We have all seen the mess that is made when you have multiple versions of powerpoints and sales sheets sitting out there with different prices and features. Calling back all the old versions and making sure they are selling the right things can be a monumental challenge when there are different versions on different laptops and desktops (all outside of your control). What if you could load up the latest version to your salespeoples’ tablet app, making sure that there is consistency across your company.

Lastly, what if you could have ALL of your customer data, online learning, reporting and public company documents centralized and available to all of your employees, both in house and in the field. THAT is not just the promise but the actual availability in business technology today!

As a company owner or technology leader, make sure that you are not getting behind the times, keep on top of tablet options and cloud computing solutions!


 

Retailing Cloud Based Retail Solutions
Cloud Based Retail Solutions
RBD Retail 3.0 Solutions are a set of enterprise, cloud-based solutions for the mobile workforce that delivers powerful ERP, CRM, HRM, eLearning and Reporting modules to sales associates in the field, executives, management and back-office personnel. Find out more about our Retailing 3.0 business solutions

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How Does A Retail Experience Effect ROI and Repeat Sales

Return on investment, or ROI, is the term bandied about in business these days. But it is an important part of any business, and the experience your customers have in your store has a huge impact on your ROI and on repeat sales.

How Does A Retail Experience Effect ROI and Repeat Sales | ROIThere is a high correlation between a customer’s experience in store and whether they will come back and recommend your store to friends and family. That makes sense, and a study by the Temkin Group in March 2012 reinforced that.

They looked at feedback on 206 US companies from 10,000 customers. They found that there was a 19.5% point gap in the likelihood of customers to recommend the quintile of companies scoring best in customer experience (9.9%) and the quintile scoring worst (-9.6%). This gap is called “The Temkin Experience Ratings” and they are based on functionality, accessibility, and emotion of the customer experience. Companies were ranked depending on how they compared to others in their industry.

In plain English what this means is that satisfied customers who shopped in stores that scored the best give recommendations to others and they are also more likely to come back and purchase in the future. The converse is true as well, those who shopped in stores who scored the lowest were much less likely to recommend the store or go back and make future purchases. This correlates to store loyalty too. Those in the top had 19.2% more customers reluctant to take their business elsewhere. Bottom line, customer service not only keeps good customers, but brings in new ones.


 

Retailing Cloud Based Retail Solutions
Cloud Based Retail Solutions
RBD Retail 3.0 Solutions are a set of enterprise, cloud-based solutions for the mobile workforce that delivers powerful ERP, CRM, HRM, eLearning and Reporting modules to sales associates in the field, executives, management and back-office personnel. Find out more about our Retailing 3.0 business solutions

 


 

So what does that mean for your business? It means that if you improve the customer service skills of your staff, your sales will rise and the ROI from your training will be well worth it. What does that mean in real dollars? The Temkin Group study showed that a $1 billion fast food chain made small changes in customer experience improvements. Those changes generated $382.3 million in additional revenues over three years. That carried across to other industries as well.

Click here to see the report and statistics on how the retail experience effects ROI and repeat sales.

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Major Retailers Taking Advantage of the Small Store Concept by Developing Satellite Stores | Retail Operations

The trend in retail operations these days seems to be “smaller is better” which means it should come as no surprise that larger retailers are opening smaller venues. There are several reasons for this and all will mean positive outcomes for both the retailer and the community.

Major Retailers Taking Advantage of the Small Store Concept by Developing Satellite Stores | Retail OperationsWe’ve all seen the WalMart or Target super centers go up in suburban America. Sprawling megastores that sell everything from Arrugala to Zoo toys, and wonder if they are really necessary. Convenient? Yes, but necessary?

Well with the outcry for healthier food alternatives in urban areas, many “super stores” are downsizing and offering fresh food alternatives to fill the niche. In the 1970’s most large grocery store chains left urban areas. The suburbs gave them cheaper land alternatives and areas for parking. The large retailers of our era have found the same thing, leaving a big market wide open that has stayed unfilled for decades.


 

Retailing Cloud Based Retail Solutions
Cloud Based Retail Solutions
RBD Retail 3.0 Solutions are a set of enterprise, cloud-based solutions for the mobile workforce that delivers powerful ERP, CRM, HRM, eLearning and Reporting modules to sales associates in the field, executives, management and back-office personnel. Find out more about our Retailing 3.0 business solutions

 


 

Chain pharmacy retailers started slowly filling the void with inner city locations, but really only served a “convenience store” need. When larger retailers like WalMart and Target tried moving super centers into the inner city, they found that land and space in inner city areas was at a premium, and the prices to be paid for it were also premium.

In answer, they are now downsizing their stores and finding properties now that while smaller, will house their smaller, but healthier new trend. Other grocery retailers like Supervalu and Save-A-Lot target lower income neighborhoods where there is a lack of competition, and a definite need. While these already entrenched competitors will have some advantage, retailers like WalMart and Target also have established lines of non-food items and lower prices that will complement, rather than compete. Being able to move into these new markets will be a win/win for both the retailers and the communities they will serve.

Smaller stores seem to be the new trend in retail. With megastores such as WalMart and Target having taken advantage of the space that a location in the suburbs has given them in the past, now there is more of a market for smaller stores in urban areas.

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Tips for Recruiting Top Technical Talent to Your Company

Retail operations encompasses many different aspects but one of today’s top challenges is recruiting top technical talent.

Tips for Recruiting Top Technical Talent to Your Company

It seems in the search for top technical talent, finding the best candidate among the hundreds of applicants can be difficult. Especially in an economy with high unemployment, so just waiting for that perfect fit to come to you may not be the right way to go. Here are some tips to help you find and recruit the best.

If you can’t decide whether to wait for candidates to come to you or to go looking, keep this in mind, LinkedIn.com recently did a survey and found that 78% of employed professionals said they would be interested in a new position, but only 18% of them had put their resume up on line. That leaves 60% of top-notch “passive” candidates left to be found.

So how do you find these technical rock stars? Job boards, like Monster.com are really not the way to go anymore. The obvious reason is that the 60% left don’t have their resume posted. Others are out of date or completely irrelevant.

  • Social media gives a quick way to find and contact your perfect candidate.
  • Do not be afraid to look in house – you may already have that great talent within your company and he or she just needs to push to take that step forward.
  • Talk to your current employees – often they know of good candidates either in house or at another company that will be worth your time and attention.
  • Pay better than your competition and provide good benefits for your employees – being known as a top notch employer will get you top notch talent.

 

Retail Store Outsourcing ProgramsRetail Store Outsourcing Programs

Need some extra manpower to get the job done? Don’t want to do it yourself? Need extra capacity to grow? Want to focus on your core competencies? Need to get it done faster? RBD can help. We offer customized Retail Store Outsourcing Solutions for retail business. From complete, turn-key services, to project-based initiatives.


 

If you want to find good new talent, have cultivate good relationships with local colleges and universities. Their placement offices will know who the top graduates are and if you have good relationships with them, you can nab the up and comers before your competition does.

There is some etiquette that you will need to follow. First and foremost, follow up and be polite. Don’t leave candidates hanging after you contact them, and remember that these are top-notch people that really don’t need to leave an existing job, so treat them well and you will be much more able to entice them to fill the job you have.

Smaller Retail Stores Are Becoming The Rage – Why Big Box Retailers Are Downsizing

Big box retailers are downsizing and realizing that smaller retail stores may be the consumer outlets of the future!

Big box stores downsizing - smaller retail stores

All of a sudden, smaller is better, in retail anyway. It seems the era of the big box store is on its way out. That doesn’t mean that the typical big boxers are leaving. Walmart, Petsmart and other large big box stores are just finally seeing that being the biggest isn’t always the best, for them or anyone else. There are different reasons for this, and we’ll look at a few here.

One trend that has become a final reality is that one size doesn’t fit all. Larger stores that have everything are falling by the wayside and making way for a philosophy of smaller spaces that cater to the needs of the surrounding community are a better and more profitable fit. Many big box stores are downsizing current locations. Even more than that, where they are opening new locations they are smaller.


 

Retailing Cloud Based Retail Solutions
Cloud Based Retail Solutions
RBD Retail 3.0 Solutions are a set of enterprise, cloud-based solutions for the mobile workforce that delivers powerful ERP, CRM, HRM, eLearning and Reporting modules to sales associates in the field, executives, management and back-office personnel. Find out more about our Retailing 3.0 business solutions

 


 

This is also because in many places are moving into urban locations where their typical 150,000 square foot stores or larger are 1) very hard to find in an urban setting and 2) when they are found, the price per square foot to purchase or lease the locations are prohibitively expensive.

Another reason this is trending is due to consumer demand. People are tired of trudging through huge stores to find, or not find as the case may be, the products they need. While prices are generally lower, it doesn’t always make a difference.

Some notable examples of Big Box downsizing inclue:

  • Walmart – The behemoth superstores are scaling down to Walmart Neighborhood Markets, which according to their site offer, “a quick and convenient shopping experience for customers who need groceries, pharmaceuticals, and general merchandise all at our famous Every Day Low Prices.”
  • Target – Is opening a “CityTarget” store in Chicago and has rolled out smaller retail outlets in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • Unleashed By Petco – according to Petco, “our concept is simple – provide the same knowledge and know-how offered by Petco in a unique, smaller package.”

In some cases for big box retailers who own their locations, they can recoup when downsizing a current location. The larger stores are subleasing the extra space to other retailers, helping their bottom line with leasing income. Smart retailers are finding businesses with products or services that dovetail nicely with their own.

For additional information about this shrinking retail phenomenon:

Big-box Giants Downsize To Drive Productivity With Smaller, Urban Stores
Bull’s-eye for Target, city
Best Buy to downsize brick-and-mortar footprint

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The Importance of Data Collection at the Point of Sale

With the advent of Retailing 3.0, we are seeing the importance of data collection at the point of sale!

Historically point of sale meant taking purchases to the cash register, ringing them up and sending the happy customer on their way. Not anymore. These days point of sale can be in the store, online or over a smart phone and it’s a great time to collect data that can help you have a successful business.

The Importance of Data Collection at the Point of Sale

In the current technical marketplace, when a sale is made, there is a plethora of information that is exchanged during the sale, but most times, it’s not collected. What are these bits of data? How about additional customer needs or wants, what they are currently using; i.e. your competition, and a lot of other relevant information. Sometimes this same information is exchanged even if a sale doesn’t happen and that could help you know why the sale was lost and how your sales force might be able to overcome that objection the next time.


 

Retailing Cloud Based Retail Solutions
Cloud Based Retail Solutions
RBD Retail 3.0 Solutions are a set of enterprise, cloud-based solutions for the mobile workforce that delivers powerful ERP, CRM, HRM, eLearning and Reporting modules to sales associates in the field, executives, management and back-office personnel. Find out more about our Retailing 3.0 business solutions

 


 

These days, cash registers aren’t just cash registers. Many are computers that centralize all of the business information: sales, cash on hand, inventory and so forth. Why not use those computers to input information from those point of sale exchanges? Find software that has the capture capabilities for point of sale information. Ask for email addresses for future promotions and deals and put them into the contact lists right then. One retailer asked for their customers twitter handle at checkout, then tweeted a picture of their item to their twitter profile when their item was ready and shipping. It’s a fabulous use of social media and point of sale information collection. Not only did the customer get great service, the store has a channel to target marketing to them AND their twitter followers.

Some stores, like Apple, are at the forefront of changing the “point” of point of sale as well. With smart phones everywhere, customers have the advantage of using shopping apps to research products instead of asking a sales associate for help. Apple has made point of sale at the mobile phone which gets associates out from behind the counter and helping customers. This not only provides better customer service, but helps Apple collect information from and about their customers as well.

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