By now we are all settling into the New Year and getting back to some kind of normal in our day-to-day lives, both at home and work.  Many of us have kicked off 2017 with a goal of getting back into fighting shape at the gym, or at minimum, committing to some kind of physical activity as part of our on-going, healthy lifestyle.  This is probably the #1 resolution that we see when the calendar year flips over.  We all want to perform better and to perform better, that means some kind of on-going training.  We accept that this is the only way to achieve our physical fitness goals, so why is it so difficult for us to apply this same kind of thinking to improving performance in our stores? 

Yep.  2017 is going to suck.

OK, not for everyone.  But, certainly for a lot of retailers.  Why?

Well, far too many brick and mortar retailers still haven’t recognized that the in-store experience matters more now than ever before.   It’s too easy for consumers to sit on the couch and with a couple of clicks have whatever they want delivered to their doorstep.   Make no mistake … most consumers would rather go to the store (after all, humans crave social interaction).  But they’re not about to fight traffic, struggle for parking and then be confronted with a mundane shopping experience.

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

The much-anticipated holiday season has now come and gone.  Biggest selling opportunity of the year, right?  How did you do?  Move more merchandise than ever before?  Keep the cash registers running at full tilt?  Set an all-time revenue record?  Good for you!!

Now for the bad news.  Your success wasn’t shared by every retailer.  And it isn’t because the crowds didn’t show up or the weather was too nice.  The ‘sales damage’ we’re talking about was self-inflicted.  What do we mean?

Here we go again!  Yet another consumer group that you need to pay attention to.  But wait, this one isn’t just the imagination of a media article.  Shell commissioned an outstanding research project that sheds light on what they call Convenience Cravers. 

Here’s a snapshot of Shell’s report:

If you’re like most retailers out there, here’s some great news for you – gift card sales over the past several months should push your performance ‘over the top’ in the new year! 

But are you ready to make the most of this bonanza?

Here we are, just 17 'sleeps' away from Christmas day.  How have sales been in your stores so far this holiday selling season?  Hitting your targets?  Celebrating success?  We certainly hope so, because there can hardly be one good reason why you shouldn't be doing better this year than last.

But, ask yourself a bigger question:  Do you have the Christmas spirit yet?  Does your staff? How about your customers?

During countless trips through numerous stores over the past few weeks we couldn’t help but notice a predominant and very disturbing trend … it’s next to impossible to find a manager on the sales floor!  Can you believe it?  The most important retail ‘show’ of the year and the cast and crew are running around without any direction or guidance from the most critical player of the performance … the director!  Where are they?

Everyone Stay Focused!

At this time of year when things are so busy, there are all kinds of distractions that can cause both you and your staff to lose focus.  What are we talking about here?  Too many shipments, long line ups, sore feet, busy schedules, short tempers.  These things have a tendency to take your attention away from sales, and then what happens?  Poor sales!

Now’s the time (more than ever!) to keep everyone’s eyes clearly focused on their targets.  But how do you do this? 

For just about every retailer, Black Friday is the holiday selling kick-off that we've waited for all year!  Knowing that so many purchase decisions are made at store level, it's time to make sure everyone on the sales floor is at the top of their game.  Here are 3 more things you can do right now to help you squeeze a few more dollars into the cash drawer each day:

Anxiously keeping your fingers crossed and hoping that this Christmas season will be “The One”?  The one that makes up for the disappointing seasons of the past … the one that really pushes you over the top and makes your whole year a success … the one that makes you happy you got into this business in the first place?

Well, market indications are fairly positive right now.  It looks like people are ready to spend.  That should be good news, right?  Yet only some retailers are able to really capitalize on strong markets like this.  Why is that?

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