Excelling at Store Execution Improves Brand Promise, Associate Retention and Customer Experience
Keeping up with the fast pace of retail is a never-ending cycle between maintaining brand promise, fostering employee productivity, and improving the customer experience. These three factors are all dependent on the other: employee productivity is key to meeting consumer demand, and meeting consumer demand is vital to increasing revenue and protecting the brand.
Given that 76 percent of consumers would stop doing business with a company after one bad experience, retailers must prioritize the customer experience, brand promise and store associate retention in equal measure. To succeed in a volatile industry, retailers can optimize store execution management (SEM), the process of ensuring a company’s brand and strategy is executed in the physical store. Succeeding at store execution requires retailers to have a seamless and efficient strategy; that said, optimizing task management and communications is essential.
Connect the Dots Between Brand Strategy and Performance
A major disconnect exists at the store level between strategies put in place by managers and how individual employees execute them. If a retailer decides it wants its physical stores to display certain endcaps or have specific seasonal promotions, it falls on the employee to complete the project accurately and on time in-store.
By streamlining retail workflows, retailers can ensure employees and managers are always on the same page, guaranteeing that tasks are fulfilled and brand strategy is properly executed. With optimized SEM, retailers can deliver on brand promise — the value the customer expects to receive when visiting or interacting with a company. For example, when entering a Target, customers expect the same quality experience every time: friendly employees, speedy customer service, and a similar store layout and assortment as other locations. When retailers consistently meet and exceed shopper expectations, the customer experience improves.
Enrich the Employee Training Experience
Centralized SEM guarantees all employees, from store-level associates to managers, are onboarded correctly, ensuring they're prepared to do their job well from the start. Establishing sufficient training allows retailers to not only improve the quality of its workforce, but also boost long-term retention and productivity.
Adequate training also helps employees provide customers a helpful, informative experience. SEM gives employees access to all the resources they need through their smartphones, such as standard operating procedures (SOPs), process documents and product information. With all information in one digital spot, employees feel more confident and productive in their roles and are able to easily assist shoppers in-store.
Keep Up With Consumer Demand
Consumer preferences can shift on a dime. To be able to quickly adapt and meet customer needs, retailers can use SEM to equip employees with the resources and tools needed to properly serve customers when demand changes — e.g., during peak seasons such as the holidays or back-to-school.
With SEM, retailers can ensure all employees are prepared to help customers answer questions or provide further assistance, whether that be sharing details about promotions or what products are available in-store or online. For example, when shopping for back-to-school, employees can help customers understand what brands or products are on sale, such as binders or notebooks, or what clothes follow school dress codes. When employees can properly execute on tasks and communications, it’s easier to keep up with ever-changing consumer demand while still maintaining a valuable, positive shopping experience.
Exceed at Store Execution to Retain Customers and Employees
For retailers with large footprints and multiple moving parts, store execution management is key. In an industry known for high turnover, retailers must find a way to boost employee retention while also maintaining a positive shopping experience, even when short-staffed. To drive store execution, retailers must fulfill brand promise, increase employee retention, and improve the customer experience.
Gary Stonell is senior vice president of sales and operations at Opterus, the leading provider of cost-effective, cloud store communications and task management solutions.
Gary Stonell, SVP of Sales and Operations, Opterus, has 20 years of sales management and business development experience in CPG and SaaS. Beginning his career in CPG, he worked for Kraft Foods, Philips Electronics, then SunRype Products fostering partnerships with retailers and managing various aspects of the sales and marketing processes. More recently at Sysomos/Meltwater, a SaaS based Social Media content management platform, Gary led the Enterprise sales team responsible for managing existing clients and new logo acquisition. The key to his success has been a meaningful focus on building business relationships with collaborative solution based partnerships.