In reviewing trends we saw in 2019, it should be noted that it was a year in which retailers and merchandisers held the line as they pushed back against pressures from online competition. Optimism, innovation and persistence revealed avenues for improvement in every direction and generated strong performance through every season, with the U.S. Census Bureau Retail Trade Report revealing a 3.5% growth in year-over-year retail sales.
What were some lessons learned in 2019?
One lesson learned this year has been to find and optimize established processes that impact payroll, in-store execution and the ability to staff.
Read on to explore 2019’s lessons, insights and the tools that successful field managers used to clear the clutter, align their teams and keep stores stocked and ready:
- Using Text Caused Some Staffing Confusion and Inconsistency
It’s true, sometimes you’ve got to patch a hole in a shift and a text is the easiest way to communicate. Schedule planning, however, caused many field managers and team members confusion when they had to compare emails, texts, phone calls and Excel screenshots.
Instead, try centralizing your staffing and communications into a single system that automatically updates end-users via their mobile device. It will save you considerable planning and communication time and most importantly, you’ll prevent schedule conflicts.
- Benchmarking and Refining In-Store Execution Times Prevailed
As retailers and merchandisers worked to refine weekly and monthly schedules through a centralized source, they didn’t miss this eye-opening opportunity: activity benchmarking.
Since many of your in-store execution tasks seem the same – they have the same task names, the same planograms, the same products to set up – benchmarking might seem pointless.
However, when you start benchmarking in-store execution times, you’ll rapidly discover that every store is different, and that means different time expectations for execution.
Uncovering these differences has helped stores experience less panicked schedule filling, higher-quality displays and setups, and fewer scheduling headaches.
Also, benchmarks helped them create realistic payroll expectations – including tightening up shifts at some stores or allowing for more time at others.
Sticking to your guns on benchmarking won’t just create headache-free scheduling. It also means an end to rushed, underprepared displays and wasted payroll.
- How to Benchmark In-Store Execution
To get started benchmarking, try encouraging your top performers to participate in the process.
As you prep your next batch of displays, you can begin by initially quantifying:
- Number of units in the display
- Total weight of units
- Expected product location at the time of execution
- Store size
- Equipment needed (safety gear, dollies, gloves, etc.)
Next, rather than waste time in non-productive tests, try real-life demo and display setups.
Tip for Merchandisers: create a report form that includes start time (the moment they enter the store) and stop time.
Tip for In-Store Teams: start time should include the moment they start grabbing the items they’ll need to complete the job.
Next, you can confirm their stop times with a visual verification photo tied to a time entry in the report. Afterward, use their verification photos to ensure staff haven’t rushed the task. (Remember, these are your go-getters – they may over-exert themselves or rush depending on how the benchmark is presented. It may work wonders if you reassure them the tests are not a race and they should act with the normal urgency of focused work.)
As you build benchmarks for tasks of a similar nature, you’ll see which locations and display types need more or less time and be able to schedule more reliably.
- Centralization and Mobile Adoption Stopped Draining the Budget
As teams perfected their timing and scheduling, many field managers had a chance to take a hard look at another key process: inventory management.
Why did so many organizations focus on this process? Simply put: CPGs, retailers and merchandisers couldn’t afford to lose the battle for in-store sales.
So how did that fight go? IHL Group, a research and advisory firm specializing in retail and hospitality, explored that question in a study. They found that “calculations showed that as much as 24% of Amazon’s North American retail revenues can be attributed to consumers who first tried to buy an item at stores but found their local stores out-of-stock.”
That means, in the first three quarters of 2019, retailers lost nearly 46 Billion to Amazon due to stock outs.
That was enough of that. Organizations adopted a new tactic to fighting stockout losses by leveraging mobile tech. The best in retail execution software comes with tools that eliminate tedious spreadsheets and painstaking data entry.
Even better, top-of-the-line systems let field teams order location-specific stock for any store directly from their phone, with purchase data and delivery tracking all sent to a centralized database.
That means their stores tackled inventory management without wasteful third-party equipment or disconnected, out-of-date systems, revealing yet another solution that broke year-over-year records in retail.
Witness the Future of In-Store Retail Execution
Centralizing your execution tools, benchmarking your field team tasks and eliminating staffing chaos will help you claw back hard-earned profits.
Why not take it a step further?
Experience the platform that already unites all of these retail execution enhancements in a single, mobile-friendly platform. Schedule a demo with Movista, today, to see it in action.