Retail Sales Resolutions: From the Back Office
Retail businesses certainly witnessed more than their fair share of opportunities and challenges last year. There has been a massive increase in mobile shopping, more investment in omnichannel technology than ever before and a dramatic shift towards digital selling strategies. Retailers across the globe are looking at these changes in consumer behaviors and trying to plan for them to ensure their businesses are set up for success.
In many of these same businesses, the back office is looked at as the core of decision making. As such, they have the most to learn from the constantly changing trends of the retail environment. With that in mind, here are a few potential resolutions for back-office retail salespeople to focus on this year.
Know Your Sales Team
While you may think you know your employees, you’d be surprised at how frequently a manager hires a new employee and then never really takes the time to discover who they are. Employees on the sales floor are the ones with the most exposure to customers. Keeping them happy means keeping the customers happy. That, in turn, can mean more profit for the company. Taking a quick coffee break to find out what your employees’ long-term goals are or what the company can do to maintain positive morale not only fosters a happier work environment, but may also uncover hidden talents or opportunities. This can also be a great way to head off any potential personnel conflicts before they grow into something bigger.
Provide the Right Resources
Delivering the proper resources to your team can mean different things. Primarily, it means providing them with ways to learn and grow professionally, from presenting them with fresh training opportunities to maintaining the most cutting-edge technology. In a softer sense, providing the right resources can also mean delegation. Leveraging your employees’ talents and trusting them to take on additional responsibilities can provide them with the hands-on education needed to be a better worker — while taking a little extra off your plate.
Consider New Ways to Gain Revenue
As management, you’re likely charged with finding solutions for lagging revenue. One creative way to do this includes partnering with similar retailers to cross-sell customers. For example, a clothing boutique might benefit from a partnership with a salon or jewelry designer; it’s two retailers with similar target demographics creating additional exposure. Another way to increase revenue is through the sale of protection plans for larger-ticket items. Today’s customers are spending more on big-ticket items for everyday use — e.g., smartphones and fitness bands — giving them incentive to safeguard those investments.
Revamp Your Brand’s Omnichannel Presence
Social media and digital marketing have become a must for most businesses today. From regularly promoting new items to announcing offers on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, using social channels offers a way to reach new and existing customers — and increase sales. Additionally, revamping your website, particularly for mobile-friendliness, can help showcase your brand, ensuring a consistent experience across channels and boosting customer retention and outreach.
We all know that guy who can only manage to keep his New Year’s resolutions until February. Focus on one or two of these opportunities initially. Even accomplishing one can mean happier customers and teams, and a greater ability to adapt to changes coming to retail.
Kevin Cundiff is vice president of retail for Fortegra Financial Corporation (a Tiptree Financial Inc. company). Fortegra and its subsidiaries comprise a single-source insurance services provider that offers a range of consumer protection options including warranty solutions, credit insurance and specialty underwriting programs.