Analysts are correct to reject the alarmist headlines about the death of physical retail, but they are also right to emphasise it should be the end for boring, unexciting retailing experiences.
As the industry navigates its way through a new era of consumer behaviour that entails shopping journeys across multiple channels, the store becomes the fulcrum point of shopping entertainment. It is a place where compelling experiences need to be provided, consumer problems solved, and where, ultimately, most sales are converted.
For this model to cement itself across the wider industry, it will rely on retailers attaching greater value to their store associates, using them wisely and ensuring they are empowered to do what they do best: selling products and servicing the shopper.
Harnessing traffic data within the retail organisation facilitates this strategy, and here’s a few reasons why:
The right ratio
Using traffic data to plan staffing means retailers can find the most suitable ratio of associates to customers. This is your shopper-to-associate-ratio (STAR). Having the optimum number of employees on the shop floor ensures customers get what they need to make their purchase, which is especially important as the modern retail store increasingly doubles up as a hub for consumer consultancy.
Recent research by SalesForce shows that 75% of consumers say it’s absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is available when needed during a shopping trip, while another study from InMoment finds that a positive experience with a retailer’s staff increases customers’ satisfaction by 33%. Statistics like these confirm that finding the adequate STAR is crucial for creating compelling customer experiences.
Deploying store associates based on real traffic information adds even more value to this already important role.
With a traffic-led approach to labour optimisation, all parties within the retail organisation – senior management, store bosses or the shop floor staff – can measure performance based on the exact sales opportunity presented. It allows retailers to establish KPIs that are not devised using historical sales data or vague estimates of how many shoppers will be in a store, and this transparency can get the best out of staff.
We all know that a happy and engaged shop floor worker is more than likely to provide better-quality and loyalty-strengthening customer interactions, so retailers need to do all they can to use their greatest assets wisely.
It’s important to create staff schedules and goals based on real traffic information because this approach will help you meet customer expectations. That’s what all successful retail strategies centre on today – putting the customer at the heart of the business’s plans and making key decisions around what’s best for them.
Retailers looking at changing the way they deploy their shop staff for this new era of experience-led stores should read ShopperTrak’s latest retail intelligence report on labour optimisation. It provides a straightforward guide on how aligning labour to traffic data can increase productivity and profit, and ensure customer service is as compelling as it needs to be today.
The analysts are right: no-one wants boring store retail experiences. Consumers will seek out more exciting options instead when there are so many other options both digitally and physically. It’s up to retailers to harness the right data – traffic data – to ensure store staff can offer the excellence shoppers are searching for.
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