“How Technology Can Help Small Retailers Stay Fully Operational With Fewer Associates” by Amanda Honig via RIS News

“How Technology Can Help Small Retailers Stay Fully Operational With Fewer Associates” by Amanda Honig via RIS News

Facing unprecedented and challenging market disruptions, forward-thinking small business owners are turning to technology to maximize productivity and profits. What’s more, investments in the right technology can elevate the overall shopper experience, even when there is less staff on hand. Staffing Shortages Can Have a Greater Impact on Small Businesses The role of the physical store is evolving, but it is still critical to the customer experience. According to NRF data, 80% of shopping still happens in stores, yet only six-in-10 shoppers are satisfied with how well-equipped associates are to help them find items, according to shopper feedback in Zebra’s latest Global Shopper Study.  Only 70% are happy with the availability of staff in the stores or the level of information and help staff provides. That’s concerning considering how significantly labor shortages continue to impact retailers. Whether the workforce is limited due to illness or staff departures, the impact of fewer associates on store floors and back rooms can have adverse effects across a business, especially when technology is not being used to augment headcount or the customer experience. For a large retailer, the consequences of being short staffed may be minimal, limited to shifting employees from the backroom to front of the store for a few hours. For small businesses, the impact can be devastating and potentially hurt their bottom line, as a few employee call outs may result in zero staff availability — and a full store closure — for an entire day.  When met with the “Be Back Tomorrow” sign, customers shop elsewhere, potentially challenging their long-term loyalty. That’s why forward-thinking small retailers should be making larger investments...
“The Simple Way to Drive More Retail Foot Traffic” by Peter Biagioli via Total Retail

“The Simple Way to Drive More Retail Foot Traffic” by Peter Biagioli via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by SolStock We’ve all witnessed the pandemic’s devastating effects on retail shopping and the significant downturn in customer foot traffic in-store, but experts now point to a major shift in customer behavior. Recent figures, including the consumer stats we’re always monitoring at TrueSource, show that customers are returning to brick-and-mortar locations — some experts even forecast a record sales year for brick-and-mortar locations of certain retail segments. Whether it’s the result of extended home-bound isolation, boredom or some other cause, we can now see that there’s a clear opportunity for smart retailers willing to capitalize on the moment. It’s simple. If you provide a desirable, pleasant, convenient in-person shopping experience, more and more of your absent customers will return. Perhaps more than ever before. And while many companies are investing millions in high-tech additions to their stores (e.g., digital signage and even augmented reality experiences), there’s an incredibly basic action that far too many fail to consistently and thoroughly take. It’s actually shocking to see how many store managers neglect this part of the customer experience, especially considering its weight of importance. I’m talking about cleanliness and order. Simple as that. Imagine … everything sparkling clean, everything in working order, everything in its place. Almost makes you smile to think about, doesn’t it? Your customers have the same reaction when they walk into your space and notice the care and attention to detail you’ve devoted to this all-important aspect of their experience. Related story: 3 Pillars of a Great In-Store Experience Why Cleanliness Counts First impressions matter. We’ve all heard this refrain time and again — in all areas of life, there’s...
“How to Use Humor in Your Sales Presentation – the More Laughs, the More You Sell” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

“How to Use Humor in Your Sales Presentation – the More Laughs, the More You Sell” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

Want to increase your sales? Try adding humor! Here are eight tips for incorporating humor into your retail store or in-person sales presentation. With all the focus on features and benefits from manufacturers, many retail sales presentations can be dry and boring. “It has this, and this and this. And a warranty. And it’s on sale.” That is just above the lowest form of customer service – simply asking, “Can I help you?” as someone comes in the door. A person who can use humor skillfully in their sales presentation is operating at the highest level of professionalism. Now let’s take a step back; I’m not talking about using humor to degrade or make fun of someone to feel better about yourself – after all, this isn’t Junior High. Your goal is to laugh with; never laugh at. This is about adding some gentle humor to break the ice, build rapport with your shoppers, and make your entire selling presentation more enjoyable. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.” People who feel good are more likely to be receptive to your attempts at rapport and closing the sale. But productive humor only comes from being present in the moment and listening to your customer. If you overdo it or just run your “schtick”, it could show you aren’t paying attention. And yes, I can hear some of you already saying, “But you could end up offending someone.” So, you don’t do it. And that’s a mistake… Oracle recently released their Happiness Report which revealed:...
“5 Ways to Make Your Store a Place Employees Love” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

“5 Ways to Make Your Store a Place Employees Love” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

If you’re like most retailers, you’re always looking for ways to improve your employees’ satisfaction levels and keep them motivated. After all, a satisfied employee is more likely to provide better customer service.And frankly, only feeling great satisfaction with their own job will get them to want to give great satisfaction to your shoppers.You’ve heard me say it time and again, you don’t build your business. You build your frontline associates and they build your business.So, what can you do to create a retail store that employees will love? Here are five tips to get you started. 1. Create a positive and upbeat store environment When it comes to the store environment, it’s important to get it just right. You want your associates to feel comfortable and happy like they’re in a safe and supportive place where they can be themselves. But that also means they understand the guardrails of the retail job.One way to create the right environment is by being positive and upbeat. No one wants to work with a Gloomy Gus – especially one who has the power to fire them. Show your associates that you’re happy to be there and working with them. Smile, say hello, and be positive throughout the day.C-level execs often seem to miss the most important part of a store visit is giving time to those who can give the best feedback on culture – the retail associates. Make time and talk with them – not to them.Another way to create a great work environment is by having fun. Playing music before you open that is a Staff Pick, holding regular...
“Employee Perks: Are You Giving Too Many or Not Enough?” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

“Employee Perks: Are You Giving Too Many or Not Enough?” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor Blog

Are you guilty of giving your employees too many perks? Or, are you not giving them enough? I read about a Canadian candy company looking for a Chief Candy Officer. The benefits? For a salary of up to $100,000, they get to taste 3,500 products every month. The most valuable perk though? It comes with “extensive dental coverage.” It can be tough to find the right balance between what you offer and what the employee wants, but it’s important to do so if you want to keep your team happy and productive. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the most common employee perks and how to determine whether or not you offer too many or too few. I’ll also provide some tips on how to create a perk program that works for your business. So, whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to make changes to your current program, read on for some helpful advice! Answers to Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Perks: What are the benefits of employee perks and why should you offer them to your team members? Your employees will feel more appreciated and motivated when they know their hard work isn’t going unnoticed.Perks can boost morale by demonstrating every individual is valued within the organization – which encourages employees to feel responsible for its success.Giving employee perks shows that management cares about people beyond just their jobs – a reflection which has been shown time after again as being a critical factor in workforce retention strategies. How do you know if you’re giving your employees the right perks? The best way...
“5 Ways to Boost Team Morale” by Mike Szczesny via Total Retail

“5 Ways to Boost Team Morale” by Mike Szczesny via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Sarote Pruksachat There may be a day when you wake up and simply don’t have the motivation to do your job anymore. When you think about going to work, you may feel helpless, trapped, detached or cynical. This lack of motivation or interest related to your job is commonly known as burnout. Managing this fatigue in the workplace is an increasingly important task for employees, managers and directors. So, how do you boost team morale to prevent job burnout from taking hold of your employees and your workplace culture? Burnout can be contagious and can spread throughout your organization without the proper prevention strategy. Here are five things you can do to tackle the issue before it takes hold: 1. Just ask. Presumably, you’re not a psychic, so asking your employees what’s most challenging about their work experience and what could be done to mitigate those challenges is advisable. Open communication between various team members will slowly create the perfect environment for everybody inside the building. When people feel like they can talk about what’s challenging without the fear of losing their jobs or being ostracized, they’re more likely to share their thoughts. And as hard as that may be for you initially, it will only accelerate your company’s health. Consider options such as an anonymous feedback box or Google form. Even if your employees know it’s safe to share, anonymity helps lessen the anxiety that can still arise when sharing thoughts openly. 2. Organize team-building activities. Full-time employees spend around 40 hours per week inside office walls. Those 40 hours are spent with relative strangers...