Don’t neglect your stores (online edition)

The emergence of online shopping, digital and technological development meant that the stores were finished (or so I heard).

Yet stores are now more important than ever.

They carry the brand of the retailer in their hands.

Neglecting physical stores means an automatic degradation in experience for online customers, they’re faced with substitutions due to poor availability due to a poorly run store.

Your physical customer suffers too; because they have to shop in the store. That’s even if they don’t get their delivery from said store.

You punch yourself in the face, twice!

Online customers are demanding, disloyal and have no qualms in switching their shopping to another retailer. That means lost sales.

That means money chucked in to the black hole chasing new customers. If only customers were looked after in the first instance… But how?

How can retailers ensure that they’re not neglecting their stores? Their reputations?

How can executives ensure they’re not under pressure, facing poor sales quarterlies and customer satisfaction scores tanking?

#1. Tell the truth, to yourselves.


Nothing else can happen until this happens.

Knowledge and awareness of the challenges.

What do we need to achieve to fix?

How long will it take?

Who is fixing?

What it will cost?

What will it cost if we don’t fix?

#2. Fund the stores properly.

There are genuine savings to be made on the payroll.

Technology means money needs to be spent to implement and thus benefit from true payroll savings.

Electronic shelf edge labels, checkout free stores, “there’s an app for that” culture. Progression is important, sure.

Instead you drive nonsensical savings that run the stores dry of hours, people, spirit and morale.

Stores then do a bad job for customers. It’s not their fault, they’re just about surviving day to day.

#3. Then run the stores properly.

I know, I know.

But there has never yet been a failing retailer that ran stores perfectly well and it just fell over on the “offer” or “price?”

How many stores do we know of that are run badly? Even in a great retailer, firing on all cylinders, there are tough shops.

In the doom laden world of no hours, no hope and no strategy. (Cost saving is not a strategy) that number rises and rises.

No one knows what needs to be done.

Routines are not followed, areas are not cleaned properly, morale falls and colleagues go sick.

There aren’t enough people around to do any of the roles and the workload snowballs.

The store fails on every, single, measure.

It falls over on availability (people not putting the stock out), it fails on shrinkage (people gap scanning over unworked deliveries, theft is rife), customer satisfaction sinks below the floor (colleagues are overworked, queues are long).

The store becomes an unhappy place to work, and crucially, to shop in.

Fix it today.

Don’t end up doing a a bad job for all of your customers.

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