Supporting the Retail Store: Be the Superhero for Your District and Regional Managers
As those of us in the retail industry are aware, life can be very busy, and at times very chaotic, for regional and district managers — and that's an understatement. They're responsible for the correct, on-time and accurate execution of operational plans and directives across all stores. This includes overseeing the dozens and dozens of daily and weekly tasks and communications that store-level associates need to be aware of or execute, as well as to quickly remedy any lack of compliance on said directives. Compliance and accountability have to be a part of any successful communications strategy to manage effectively because you can’t manage what you can’t measure!
Effectively managing across typically large geographic areas can be challenging. An effective way to combat this is enhanced communication, which leads to compliance with accountability. Enhanced communication allows for information to be easily accessible, all in one place, and will lead to less confusion and misunderstandings. No longer will “I didn’t see it” be an excuse. Retailers that want to be a true “superhero” for their district and regional managers should implement the following three best practices to help stores become a more centralized “one-stop shop” for operational communication:
There's No Success Without Proper Execution
In our experience, stores that don’t follow proper execution of markdowns, floor sets and inventory are losing a great deal of potential revenue on a yearly basis. This kind of financial loss is what keeps your district and regional managers up at night! Give your teams the tools they need to focus their attention on the stores that might be jeopardizing sales due to a consistent lack of execution of these critical projects. This will help increase the bottom line and ensure your stores are running smoothly and meeting desired compliance.
Keeping Watch: Having 360-Degree Visibility
Your regional and district managers can’t be everywhere at once, as much as they would like to be. Help management-level employees be more focused and productive during their store visits by using a “snapshot view” of store execution. Allowing district and regional managers to understand their stores’ statuses prior to visits will give them time to potentially visit more stores per day. Furthermore, this kind of visibility provides managers with more of a 360-degree view of ongoing compliance, arming them with a way to truly solve any issues that may arise in the stores for the long term instead of just a temporary Band-Aid fix.
Productivity Makes the World Go Round
The savviest of retailers know that the most profitable company is one that's run efficiently, effectively and sustainably. There are not short cuts to this! The ability to seamlessly adapt and learn quickly when it comes to running a productive store will determine the survivors from those “voted off the island” by discerning customers. Easy and seamless communication between all employees from all levels of management will not only keep them engaged and knowledgeable, but also helps them to work together more closely with leadership to provide a positive, unique and consistent experience for customers. After all, productive associates have more time to spend with customers, thereby decreasing the customer/staff ratio and increasing conversion in your stores. In addition, happy and productive associates feel more engaged, resulting in less turnover costs.
Providing regional and district managers with the ability to communicate to store-level associates regularly and effectively will enable them to handle issues quickly and efficiently, and make every associate feel like they're part of the big picture. These managers play an ever-increasing leadership role as an organization grows, so it's critical for them to be able to communicate more efficiently. This will ultimately give them more discretionary time to focus on sales support and store management.
We all know that internal culture is inseparable from business results. By giving regional and district managers the ammo to better communicate across their stores, and by helping them to have better visibility of compliance and accountability, they will have more time to fine-tune the in-store associate culture and increase profits.
Janet Hawkins is the founder and president of Opterus, a company that provides a store information and execution management tool that increases productivity and improves retail enterprise communication.