To manage your time effectively, you have to understand why Retail Managers need a unique approach to time management.
There are a lot of people working in a number of industries that just can’t use the standard time management techniques that are out there.
And retail is certainly one of them.
To a limited extent, Retail Managers at Head Office level can use standard time management techniques but, even still, if they are in the field as often as they should be, they will not be able to operate at peak effectiveness by following those techniques.
Consider some of the obvious differences:
Retail stores are open to the public for many hours each day and most days of the week.
Some are 24/7… Monday to Friday, 9 – 5 simply doesn’t exist in the retail world.
- We can’t get to the bottom of the inbox by simply by working late.
- There is rarely an office door for Retail Manager’s to close.
- There is no ‘do not disturb’ function on the phone. Customers may be calling.
- Retail Managers do not have the luxury of planning the majority of their time.
- We need to drop everything when the customer arrives and their precise time of arrival cannot be predicted!
- The workload can vary dramatically depending on how many customers arrive at the same time.
- When shipments are early or late…schedules and plans become useless.
- Stores are staffed by people working shifts.
- Each function being performed in a store is usually being handled by more than one person
- Communication between team members is more complicated due to the nature of the business.
In retail, we need to work differently when it comes to managing our time.
We need to learn how to manage our time using some best practices in a somewhat uncontrolled environment.
If you don’t have traffic counters you are missing out on one of the most telling KPI’s there is.
Conversion. The rate at which your sales associates are able to convert shoppers into buyers.
Without traffic counters, you can’t measure conversion.
Unless, of course, you have someone standing at the door counting every person who comes into the store and then do manual calculations to figure it out.
That’s not the most efficient way to do things!
Conversion is one of the best measures of your sales associate effectiveness.
In a convenience store, or a grocery store, you can pretty well expect close to 100% conversion.
People coming in to those stores are there for a specific reason and really aren’t just looking around.
You might lose them if you don’t have the item they need, but that isn’t going to happen very often.
But in many other retail stores, it is the sales associates who will engage the customer to find out what their needs are and present merchandise for them to consider.
After that, it is the sales associates skill at building rapport, their product knowledge, their ability to state features and benefits and to overcome any objections…combined with the customers desire to buy…that will turn the shopper into a buyer.
Many Store Manager’s and Sales Associates are not in favor of traffic counters….and we’ll discuss the reasons for that in another issue of ‘Word to the RetailWise’.
You need traffic counters and you need to pay close attention to conversion rates.