How do we best maximize the time of reduced store traffic? COVID-19 is having an impact on brick and mortar retail stores along with many other industries. From airlines and cruises to employers everywhere, this interruption in our every day lives is having an economic impact on our world.
While we may empathize with everyone else, if we were honest, we might admit we are most worried about our own retail store and its future. I have some recommendations on how to spend this “down time” preparing for what will be pent up demand when this subsides.
Conversion will go UP
While traffic will most definitely be down, conversion will go up. Why? Because if customers are shopping now, it is with a purpose or need in mind. I witnessed this yesterday at a store I was in.
Why am I calling this out? Because now is the time to maximize conversion. Don’t do tasks if there is even one customer in the store. Every customer matters. You might be thinking…my sales are so down, what is the point? Believe me when I tell you for every dollar you can capture, do it.
Focus on the Details
How often do you think to yourself, if I only had more time, I would spent time developing my team, organizing my backroom, cleaning my store, etc. I am sure you have your own significant list.
There is no time like the present to accomplish those goals! How do you get started? It is easy…and if possible, include your managers for what they think needs done to prepare the store for the wave of traffic/sales that will hit when COVID is done running its course.
Make a List
Start by making a list of work that needs to be completed. It is best to ensure you start with work that drives results and develops your team. I am organizing the ideas by People, Operations and Brand to make it easy to delegate to managers on your team who own these divisions of responsibility.
- Develop your Talent: Conduct One on Ones with each manager. This is valuable time to work on their coaching and goal setting but even more important, to check in with them and see how they are feeling and what is on their minds. Good listening skills are vital to having a productive conversation. If your team believes you care, they will give you the best part of themselves…not just their hands, but their head and their heart.
- Evaluate part time associates skills: Do you have part time associates who need to learn a skill or strengthen a current skill? Now is the time. Cross training associates is an important “to do” in preparation for the spring peak.
- Organize/Clean out your backroom: Backrooms can get neglected and there is likely a lot of spring merchandise flowing in the back door. This activity of cleaning out your backroom should include:
- Cleaning (especially that bathroom!).
- Updating bulletin boards/communication stations. Throw away the old and have only current communication posted.
- Organize/size product on shelves/hanging to make filling the floor easy.
- Ensure any merchandise that has been marked down is marked at the current price.
- Clean up the manager’s office/files
- Clean out the Wrap Desk: The cashwrap can get messy and disorganized. Pull everything out, wipe down the shelves and put things back neatly. Replenish supplies and put away things that don’t belong.
- Update Associate Availability: It is easy for the labor scheduling process to get neglected. Now is a great time to go through each associates information and make sure the right availability is captured.
- Clean the selling floor and fitting rooms: floor to ceiling, wall to wall…clean it!
- Walk the floor: Start out front looking at your windows and continue through the store. Now is the time to really represent the brand and ensure where possible, you have followed visual direction.
- Displays: Layering is a great way to build UPTs.
- Steaming: Perhaps you don’t normally have time to steam. If the clothing looks wrinkled, steam it! As a consumer, I can tell you I don’t buy wrinkled looking clothing. Wrinkles don’t show the value of the item!
Prioritize the Work and Get after It
I am sure you have brand specific items you should add to your list. Once you do it, prioritize the work, delegate what you can and get after it.
When life returns to normal (and it will!), you, your team and your store will be in the best shape ever to really win and deliver sales results. For now, lets maximize the time!
I am rooting for you,
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