“If you missed the BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion at Surf Expo, you can view it and other relevant and helpful educational webinars right here” by BRA + Management One

“If you missed the BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion at Surf Expo, you can view it and other relevant and helpful educational webinars right here” by BRA + Management One

Concerns about the delta variant contributed to store traffic declines in July, combined with some signs that consumer confidence is wavering. The outlook for business in Q4 is nowhere near certain. In this Board Retailers Association (BRA) Retailer Roundtable panel discussion, the panelists speak about how these factors are affecting independent retailers plans for holiday selling this year. In addition, the panel explored and shared current pricing practices that have increased operating margins in their stores as well as significant staffing challenges. These competitive pricing and staffing strategies can be implemented in your store immediately. This remarkable panel was moderated by George Leichtweiss (BRA Chairman and owner of Modern Skate & Surf) and included Paul Erickson (Director and Senior Retail Consultant at BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One), Bruce Cromartie (BRA Board Member and Owner of BC Surf & Sport) and Doug Works (BRA Executive Director and former retailer). Push play to view this remarkable BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion from Surf Expo – 9 21 Massive thanks to Jesse of Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner) for introducing their remarkable retail resource and sponsoring this outstanding event. Learn more about Podium in the following article: BRA Podium 4 Ways Article The video above serves as the 2021 3rd Quarterly BRA + Management One Webinar. At the end of the each Quarter, Board Retailers Association hosts relevant and helpful quarterly webinars on a variety of topics in collaboration with BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One. Push play to view the 2nd Quarterly BRA + Management One Webinar of 2021 Push play to view the 1st Quarterly BRA + Management One Webinar of...
“How Retailers Can Teach Empathy for De-Escalation” by Derek Belch via Total Retail

“How Retailers Can Teach Empathy for De-Escalation” by Derek Belch via Total Retail

Retailers and consumers alike had just started to feel hopeful about a post-pandemic future a mere few weeks ago. However, with the COVID-19 Delta variant quickly becoming a concern, retailers across the country have made the move to reinstate mask mandates indoors. Unsurprisingly, this latest round of mask mandates has come with mounting tensions. Many store associates have found themselves in very uncomfortable, and sometimes violent encounters with disgruntled customers, with facemasks continuing to pose a controversial debate. As such, with the onus sitting squarely on the shoulders of front-line employees to outline and enforce these mask mandates, many businesses are looking at proactive measures to help train and prepare workers for potentially highly charged customer encounters. Preparing Our People With Empathy Training During these challenging times, customer-facing employees will be looking for guidance on best practices and reassurance on how to handle potentially tense situations with customers. Signals must come from the top, emphasizing the importance of being confident and prepared with the skills needed to de-escalate stressful interactions. It often comes down to the ability to show empathy to those experiencing stress or anxiety. However, this typically doesn’t come naturally and requires proper training. This is why empathy training is key for giving front-line associates the tools to prepare for what they’re likely to face, such as what Walmart is doing with its beKIND program meant for teaching and measuring empathy in customer service. Customer-facing employees can benefit immensely by being able to embody the feelings of an anxious guest or customer. Through realistic, immersive training modalities, learners can better understand a customer’s point of view, whether or not they agree, in order...
“When Retailers Mistake Their Most Important Asset As A Cost” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

“When Retailers Mistake Their Most Important Asset As A Cost” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

For years we’ve heard that employee expenses are driving retail profit margins down; as a result, labor hours were cut. That meant shoppers were more likely not to see anyone working in a store, that they most likely would have to wait for assistance, and would have to wait in line to pay. That led customer service levels down across the board and still today it is pummeling retail traffic across the world. Many retailers see their retail employees as a cost center, the opposite of an asset. They are something to be minimized. That’s why, to keep down the expense, they try to get away with the minimum needed to cover the floor. And that’s a mistake. Brian Field, Senior Director at ShopperTrak, notes, “The more you cut your labor hours, the better your labor looks.” But there’s a problem with that and that’s why ShopperTrak advises clients to instead measure using shopper to associate ratio. That number can go up or down, depending on the level of service that a brand is intending to provide. The lower the shopper to associate ratio you want to have, the better trained your employees must be. You can’t say customers are the major focus of your business and then provide three-person coverage on a busy Saturday. But it’s not just employees you need to value as an asset, it’s their training. A friend of mine related an experience her son had while working at a Michelin-rated restaurant in New York. To keep their rating stars, they are mystery-dined each year. There are separate ratings for food and service. Last year this restaurant received a 93 on the...
“Why raising minimum wage is no longer enough to draw in retail workers – Workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have. Why? Most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook” by David Ritter and Conor Gaffney via Retail Dive

“Why raising minimum wage is no longer enough to draw in retail workers – Workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have. Why? Most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook” by David Ritter and Conor Gaffney via Retail Dive

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from David Ritter, a managing director, and Conor Gaffney, an associate in the consumer and retail group, at global professional services firm Alvarez and Marsal. They can be reached at dritter@alvarezandmarsal.com and cgaffney@alvarezandmarsal.com, respectively. Views are the authors’ own. It’s no secret that U.S. retailers have struggled immensely to fill employment gaps and maintain staffing levels as store traffic has returned in recent months. According to recent U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, after significant growth in June — up by 67,000 — retail hiring flattened, then decreased in July (down 6,000) and August (down 29,000). At a macro level, the number of individuals employed by retail companies still sits about 300,000 workers below pre-pandemic levels, despite retailers’ increasingly desperate attempts to hire additional staff.     With the critical holiday season approaching, this strategic challenge — which already looks for all the world like a great reset — will be exacerbated by seasonal hiring efforts. In response, large retailers including CVS, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart are all increasing their minimum wages to attract workers. Unfortunately, workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have, causing some companies to report that they will remain understaffed into the holidays. Why? For one main reason, most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook — an approach with a critical lack in understanding of their current and future employees — and are, in turn, relying on the easiest lever in that playbook, minimum wage, in a misguided hope that staffing will eventually recover.     Why aren’t higher minimum wages the answer?   A recent study of retail associates by retail operations platform Zipline found that a significant...
“How to Motivate a Retail Employee” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

“How to Motivate a Retail Employee” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

How to motivate retail employees …  It’s a subject retailers routinely ask about. My answer is always the same: You don’t. That might sound strange coming from a motivational speaker, so let me explain. You can try to motivate a retail employee with the “do this or else you’re fired” speech. But fear only goes so far — and you only get to use this tactic once or twice during a person’s employment.  And sure, you can try to boost an employee’s motivation by constantly giving compliments to improve their self-image. But this is problematic, too. Trying to pour good feelings into a bucket with a hole in it becomes increasingly frustrating — and doesn’t fill up the bucket. Soon, you’ll give up, and you won’t have more sales (or more motivated staff) to show for it. Before we learn how to motivate retail employees to sell, we must brush up on our managerial skills and understand what employee motivation actually entails. Let’s dive in. What exactly is employee motivation? Do you associate motivation with achieving goals?  Then you’re a goals-driven retailer, and you’re probably a Driver personality. I am, too. You’re like a hungry bunny. And the sales bonus or award? That’s like a carrot dangling in front of you.  You only need to know what or how many to sell, and you’re ready to go with your retail strategy. That’s because winning is important to you (as it is to me.)  If everyone were a Driver personality, then retail games to motivate employees would be a great idea. But here’s the thing: not everyone is. There are many personality types, each with different motivations.  The opposite personality style of a Driver is the Amiable personality. This retail employee...
“How to Retain Workers in the ‘Next Normal'” by Greg Dyer via Total Retail

“How to Retain Workers in the ‘Next Normal'” by Greg Dyer via Total Retail

The dust from the pandemic is finally settling, but a new storm is gathering for employers. U.S. quit rates are higher than ever, with an eye-popping 95 percent of workers saying they’re considering changing jobs. If 2020 was full of talk about how to attract talent during a global pandemic, then 2021 will be about how to keep them during “The Great Resignation” that followed. With the clock ticking, now is the time to re-evaluate your retention strategy and implement these practices to improve your retention. Invest in Mental Health Forty-two percent of adults reported increased feelings of anxiety and depression during the pandemic. When you consider that the global cost of poor mental health exceeds $2.5 trillion annually, investing in the health and wellness of your team isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s sound business as well. The good news is that companies have been rising to the occasion. In our recent next-normal survey, 41 percent of workers told us that their employers had started offering new health and wellness benefits in 2020. It’s a good start, but retaining talent in 2021 will require even greater buy-in from employers. Related story: Ways to Attract Skilled Talent in Today’s Tight Labor Market Recognize Hard Work Studies have shown that showing gratitude to employees increases productivity, but keeping top performers on their game (and at your organization) takes more than just an award or acknowledgement of their hard work. As always, actions speak louder than words: Give them a platform to inspire others through attending events or leading presentations as a concrete demonstration of your faith in them. For newer or lower-performing workers, consider developing a...