Have you been approached by a real, live human salesperson lately?
For years, we’ve seen a steady decline in the amount of active selling going on in stores.
Even taking Covid 19 and social distancing out of the equation, in recent years human interaction hasn’t been what it was even in the early to mid 2000’s.
Greeting the customer, approaching, determining needs and all the rest of the tried and true ‘steps of selling’ seem to have gone by the wayside long before Covid 19 made it impossible to get anywhere near a customer.
Do you think we have to resign ourselves to that?
Once Covid 19 has been sufficiently squashed, do you think we’ll return to old ways with gusto …return to what used to be considered normal retailing…happy to be able to interact with our customers?
Hard to say, isn’t it?
We hear reports that retail traffic, in 2020, was down by close to 50% compared to 2019. That’s serious.
But, there is an upside.
If you look at it strictly from a numbers perspective, it simply means that retailers need to double the productivity of other KPIs.
Easier said than done, of course. What isn’t?
Too bad simple doesn’t mean easy.
For quite some time, many retailers have only required certain employees to engage with the customer; those in particular positions like cashiers, servers…the obvious ones.
Service models vary widely, as you have undoubtedly seen.
The superstores, the warehouse clubs, the discount stores and ‘brands for less’ type stores are all examples of no service on the floor or, simply, self – service.
They have merchandisers and shelf-stockers, front end supervisors, etc. but no sales associates who seek out customers to attend to them…to sell to them.
For retailers who allow the merchandise, the placement, visual effects, the brand image and all other things not human to do the suggestive selling, well…it’s going to be tough to double up on productivity.
Granted, depending on the merchandise or category, it can work very well.
Some of them do a great job moving multiple units per transaction with their ‘Buy 2 or 3 for $XX’ promos.
Some of those offers are good enough to make a customer feel like an idiot for buying just one.
Is that a good thing? It depends on your point of view.
In any case, special product deals are normal and expected when you are purchasing groceries and snacks, toiletries, etc.
But, they are no replacement for the right kind of human interaction when it comes to other merchandise like apparel, electronics, appliances, gifts and more…when purchasing decisions are more consequential.
Good people make the difference.
For retailers offering ‘human’ service to their customers, the sky is the limit!
Just think about it. Think about what retailers did not so many years ago.
Assisted by sophisticated systems and promotions and signage and advertising…the goods were sold by people.
Now, your problems are not going to be solved with average service provided by average employees.
We’re talking about the kind of service that is provided by well groomed, well informed, well trained sales associates who are genuine, enthusiastic, results driven and really good at what they do and who are supported by strong management.
With that in mind, you need to start thinking about your recovery plan.
If you are going to recover from this disaster that was certainly NOT of your own making, you’re going to need a plan.
That plan must include turning every one of your employees into a revenue generator. It’s just that simple.
Why wouldn’t you do that?
Here are some other pertinent questions you need to ask yourself:
- What’s the best and fastest way to get huge increases in every Key Performance Indicator?
- What are profit multipliers and how do they work?
- How do I implement a Productivity Plan?
- What resources do I need?
- Where do I find these resources?
And…lest we forget…if you are facing a mandated increase in minimum wage rates, that’s not going to make things any easier.
If you can increase sales to cover the added expense, great. Otherwise…profit will be eroded.
We emphasize ‘minimum wage’ rates because higher wages that are mandated are very different than higher wages that are provided based on merit…based on performance expectations and results.
But, that’s a big discussion for another day.
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