Ah, there’s nothing like retailing at this time of year … bustling crowds … Christmas carols … smiling faces … and busy cash registers! Your store is always crowded, your sales volumes are skyrocketing and hey, you might even be beating your revenue targets! Is this enough? If you think so, here’s a new concept for you — stop managing your store only to its sales objective and start leading it to its true potential! What are we talking about?
There’s an old adage in marketing that says “Shoot when the ducks are flying.” Well, there are a lot of ducks (customers) flying into your store these days. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, because the crowds are so thick, your aim (or skill) doesn’t have to be that good. Even the poor shooters can’t help but wing their fair share of ducks. Here’s the point … your increased sales volume (due strictly to this holiday season) is hiding some shortcomings in the quality of your sales. Multiple sales are missed and conversion rates fall.
Why does this happen? Because when things get busy, store staff start to ‘clerk’ instead of sell. They become simple order-takers instead of true sales people. Then customer service deteriorates as your employees begin to ‘cherry pick’ which customers they’ll wait on. Even more likely, unfortunately, they’ll start waiting for customers to approach them!
Don’t let the rush of Christmas shoppers overrun your ability to drive sales to their potential. You have to balance the need for quick service with the quality of each sale. If you don’t, you may hit your target, but still end up with far less than you should. What do we mean by that? Take a close look at these examples:
Let’s say your store is operating at an 80% efficiency rate. This means that 20% of customers are lost completely or buy less than they would have if they had been ‘sold’ properly. Is this a problem? Well, losing 20% of February’s sales is one thing, but 20% of December’s volumes is an astronomical number!
Now let’s say your conversion rate is 12%. In other words, 12 out of 100 customers who come into your store actually buy something. Which means, of course, that 88 don’t buy anything! Now that the ‘ducks’ are crowding into your store, wouldn’t you say that an 88% failure rate is (desperately) lousy?!
What if your Items Per Sale is only 1.7, when it should be at least 2.0? This means that you’re selling 15% fewer items than you should … what a remarkable shortcoming in your sales results!
So what should you do about this? Start by explaining these issues to your staff and setting high expectations. Then get out on the sales floor and direct traffic. This is no time to be second guessing yourself or your store’s potential. Take charge of the situation and clearly demonstrate how your staff should be selling.
If you want ‘over the top’ results, you’ve got to make it happen!