Why the schedule matters for successful staffing

You may be working hard to attract shoppers, satisfy their demands and drive conversions – but are you fully optimising the role your store associates play in this equation?

Staff members are one of brick-and-mortar stores’ most valuable assets. In addition to making sure that the business is working effectively on an operational level, retail staff members are essential to customer service, as they provide shoppers with advice and reassurance that encourages them to make a transaction.

But however strong a store team might be, it will not deliver optimum results unless its schedule and workload are built around a holistic understanding of shopper behaviour.

Examining the effectiveness of your staff rota, and its ability to optimise the shopper-to-associate ratio (STAR) in your stores, can yield impressive results. McKinsey says that leading retailers – from European supermarket chains, to speciality sellers in emerging markets – that have paid more attention to labour scheduling and budgeting have saved themselves anywhere between 4 and 12% in costs, while delivering better customer service in the process.

Are your store associates ready for peak performance?

While staff scheduling is always important, it becomes most critical during busy trading periods. Whether it’s the back-to-school rush or Black Friday, the retail calendar is packed with moments that generate surges in traffic, and good staffing levels are crucial for capitalising on these opportunities.

By underestimating demand, retailers can lose valuable sales, as long queues and a lack of personal assistance frustrate shoppers enough to drive them away.

Knowing when your sales peak is crucial in today’s retail environment – it’s no longer enough to make assumptions based on gut instinct alone. And this doesn’t just mean knowing which days are going to be busiest – you need to understand traffic patterns down to the hour, in order to optimise staff scheduling throughout the day.

Refining customer service, hour by hour

Knowing how much footfall stores are likely to experience on an hour-by-hour basis is something that many retailers have yet to fully explore. However, it is essential that store managers know how many shoppers visit their stores, and when, if those managers are to make effective day-by-day decisions.

Armed with this knowledge, retailers can ensure that their associates are not carrying out backroom tasks when they are needed on the shop floor, or that their best team members aren’t all taking breaks at the same time.

Retailers who can better forecast which staff members will be needed and when are better positioned to capitalise on revenue opportunities. And making sure staff are utilised effectively can improve both productivity and morale, all while driving better customer service.

ShopperTrak’s new infographic, 6 Strategies for Smarter Staffing, can help you optimise your store workforce. See how our simple strategic changes can increase the power of your store associates.

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