Monday, 26 January 2015

They say retail is detail - I often disagree

In my many years working in retail I've often heard the mantra retail is detail. Now in small local retailers, particularly when it's not a fast moving product or products, then this CAN be true - details can make a difference. In large retailers, discount retailers, supermarkets, corner shops, convenience stores, newspaper shops and the majority of clothing retailers then retail is not detail. In these case, retail is about being 90% at most-

90% of your customers served quickly
90% of your products available
90% of your customers asked if they have your loyalty card
90% staff attendance

And the list could go on.

So not very detailed then.

Don't be downhearted, though, because this 90% isn't an horrific figure. On one hand it's probably as much as your competition is managing. On the other hand it still gives room for improvement.

Now to get up towards 100% will take investment. Better wages to get better staff attendance, more staff to keep queues down, more staff and more stock holding to keep availability up, etc.

So the next step would be to ask the question -"what type of retailer do I want to be?"

One that keeps 90% of customers happy? Or do I want to spend a little more?

If you're a small, local, self-managed retailer then is suggest aiming for the 100%. It's being different that will get you noticed. It's really hard to try to compete on price, especially against national or multinational organisations that are bound to have much deeper pockets than you. Providing better service, a better experience at a higher price point is letting your customers know that you are different, you are better.

If you're a large multi-site retailer and you can't be at every site, every day, all day then 90% isn't a bad starting point. You can push your team on from there, starting with the store managers. Motivate them and watch this motivation filter down to the customer-facing team members.

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