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Retail Greatness Blog

Basket Bandits: What They Are, What They Do, and Why You Should Be Concerned (Especially If You're a Grocer)

Have you ever heard of a Basket Bandit? If not, a Basket Bandit is an online retailer that cherry-picks which grocery store products to sell to customers online, which takes away a small chunk of business that the grocer would have otherwise enjoyed if the online retailer was not in the picture. 

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness online retailer basket bandit grocery store

What Macy's Stores' Closings Mean for Field Service

If there were ever a "Danger, Will Robinson!" moment, then this is it: Macy's announced last week that it will be closing up shop on 14 percent of its overall stores - which equals out to about 100 of its 728 brick-and-mortar locations - to put a larger focus on its higher performers due to their loss in revenue over online sales. The worst is happening, folks: in the war between online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores, the internet is winning.

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness field service online buying

What Customers Hate about Shopping Online, and How Brick-and-Mortar Stores Can Make That Work for Them

While more and more customers are turning to the online marketplace to satisfy their needs, there are pros and cons to everything in life, and just the same, there are plenty of cons to online shopping as well.  Here are some tips when you catch buyers "Showrooming."

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness omnichannel processes brick and mortar

If Apple is not a 'store' anymore, perhaps nobody should be.

This article came across my desk on a Tuesday morning, and it really make me sit back and ponder. And then, and epiphany! They're right!

Topics: field rep Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness omnichannel processes

Astonishing Truth about Techo-phobic 40-Somethings 

Something happened to me yesterday that I just had to write about. I was speaking on the phone with a family that was coming to visit me (for the first time), and asking for directions to my home. Yes, you read that correctly. This couple (him 46, her 43) -- both iPhone owners, were fumbling for pen and paper (while talking to me on her iPhone) as they sped down the highway on their way to my home. Really? Read on...

Topics: user experience merchandising demographics techno-phobia

Merchandising to Millennials: How Best to Get Their Vote

The topic of "Millennials" seems to be on everyone's minds these days, including retailers who are developing strategies to convince Millennials that their product is superior to that of their competitors. Why? Simple - because Millennials know how to get the word out like no other generation, making them a tremendous influence on the retail world.

Topics: merchandising Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness dominate social media instagram millennial snapchat facebook

#Publix:  Innovate or Die.

Publix Super Markets has chosen a revolutionary new way to interact with their customers - via an online blog.  By the way:  I worked at Publix as bag boy, then part-time stockman in the late 1970's. Publix is where I learned much of what I used to create ESP.  I use the terms of the day for my titles there because that's what my job titles were.  

We've come a long way in showing respect for women since then, renaming those titles bagger and stocker -- and we've also come a long way in how grocery stores interact with their customers. Here's a great example of how one retailer is killing it when it comes to Innovating and not Dying -- (with bias to my alma mater in plain view)...

Topics: Field Executive Greatness online blog supermarket

3 Ways to Avoid Retail Execution Failure

Sometimes the best of intentions leads to failed retail executions. And, for the most part, this tends to happen when things aren't kept up over time, which drives the consumer to make the conclusion that the retailer doesn't care whether its business lives or dies, and rightfully so.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness retail execution point of sale pos cross-merchandising posm

Turning Product Knowledge into Dollar Signs

When your reps know their stuff insofar as product knowledge is concerned, it can mean a world of difference between securing a sale and watching a potential customer walk on by. Imagine how silly you look if a customer comes to you, looking for more information about a product, and you have nothing to say but "um" and "uh" and "let me track down someone who can help you." By the time you finally find someone to help (if you do), the customer has already lost interest a long time ago and might even have left the store entirely. Sale lost.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness product knowledge

You are Throwing Money Away On Inefficient Field Service

You might be thinking, "Gee, Robert.  That's a bold statement.  How do you know?," and I'll say -- because I get to see the data for 170,000+ reps; 300,000+ stores; and 4,000+ field service managers!

Let's face it.  If you're on the leadership team of any company that sends humans into the field, labor is your largest expense.  Manage it correctly and live out your dreams.  Mis-manage it, and you'll be in the unemployment line.  So read on for help keeping this monster in its cage:

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness exception-based payroll dashboards Tutorial demo

Quotes about Business Accountability

Being accountable for your actions is one of the most important things you can do as an employee for any company you ever work for. It shows that you care about your job, that you are always dedicated to doing a better job, and that you have the best interests of the company - as well as its core values - at the front and center of your mind and in every action that you take as that company's employee.

Topics: field team accountability quotes

6 Tips to Help You Better Organize Your Team

Effective team management can make an already successful company even better. It may seem like an impossible feat to do with a team of remote employees, but it is still possible - it may just require a bit of extra effort.

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness organization

If This Photo Doesn't Horrify You, You Need to Wake Up and Understand What's Happening in our Industry.

The Internet is changing the game faster than anybody ever imagined.  It seems like every day we're greeted with news of stores being closed.  (Macy's, American Apparel, Gap Brand, JC Penney, Jos. A Bank, Men's Warehouse, Kohls, Radio Shack, Sears, K-Mart) to name a few.

This is happening!  And if your income, the ability to support your family, your dreams, your hope, and your retirement depend on selling stuff to people in bricks-and-sticks stores, you'd better Achieve Merchandising Greatness, or you'd better start retraining.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness training your field force omnichannel processes osa bricks-and-sticks

10 Legal Pitfalls to Avoid When Hiring a New Employee

Too often an employer just doesn't know any better when he or she hires a new employee and ends up making a mistake that could cause them to see the inside of a courtroom later on. And litigation can range from a petty annoyance for a corporation to a catastrophy for a small, family-owned business.

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness hiring legality

8 Tips to Help You Secure More Effective Cycle Counts

Getting stores' physical inventory (PI) counts to match their computer inventory (CI) can be quite the task. The list is long and full of reasons why PI and CI get out of whack, so it's a constant job to maintain the two counts.  Sometimes that job falls to you.  If you find differences between the two, stores can make adjustments to their computer records to reflect what you actually found on hand.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness inventory cycle counts

What is the Best App to Increase Retail Sales with a Mobile Workforce?

When I was a kid, tagging along with my Dad on the weekends as he ran his errands, it seemed he could never help himself to keep from merchandising.  We would stop at every grocery store that was even remotely on the way for the current errand.  We'd get out, walk the store (at least the Kleenex section because at the time he sold Kleenex products wholesale), and merchandise the section.

I like to tell people I threw my first case at 4 years old, and it's one of my first, and most cherished memories.  Shoulder to knee.  (My shoulder, his knee) with my Dad, slinging Kleenex and "tryina' make a dollar," as he used to say.

Topics: Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness on shelf availability osa Tutorial demo

IBR: The Next Step in Exception-Based Reporting

It used to be really cool in sales meetings to tell prospective clients that we could give them a report of everywhere somebody answered 'no' to a certain question.  We called it 'exception-based reporting' and they loved it!

Yet, technology has a way of rocketing forward, and customers have a way of demanding their software vendors keep up.  This post will scratch the surface of what is becoming possible with today's software, and it's a heck of a ride!

Topics: Intelligence Based Reporting IBR exception-based reporting

What's the Best Way to Drive Perfect Stores?  With Perfect Store Metrics.

Want Perfect Stores?  Of course you do.  And they don't happen by magic -- you have to earn them.  Want to earn them faster than your competition?  Get better tools:

Note: this post is part of the 'Best of' series including 'Best Dashboard', 'Best Field Mobile App', 'Best In-Store Data Analysis Tool.'

In this tutorial I'm going to take you through some awesome technology -- technology that can literally make light from darkness in terms of what's going on in your business. Technology that does all the hard math stuff that tells you what's going on at retail (way faster than any human could or your competitors are capable of) in ways to help you spot problems that are costing you sales, decreasing your efficiency, and bleeding your profits.  And all you have to do is point-and-click.

Topics: on shelf availability osa dashboards field metrics Tutorial demo

How to Choose the Right Vendor for a Software Test

So, you decided it was time for a change within your business software structure. You've done your research on what's possible for such an endeavor; now, it's time for selecting vendors for a software test.

At this point, you probably have a list of your top vendor choices, but it needs to be narrowed down to the ultimate one. (Running pilot tests can be expensive, so you'll want to be fairly certain the software you choose to test is a promising option.) But how should you go about making that selection? How can you decide if a vendor's solution is right for your business?

There are three main criteria to consider when choosing the right vendor, and each of these criteria must have evidence (from the vendor's own history) to back it up.

Topics: in-store execution software selecting vendors for a software test implementing in-store execution platforms

How to Build a Better Business with a New In-Store Execution Platform

Chances are, you already have at least one system in place to manage your field force. You know how to use it. You've already trained your field force to use this system. Maybe it doesn't do everything you wish it did, but it's just the way things are done at your company. It may not be perfect, but for the most part, it gets the job done. So why change now? Why Use an in-store service execution platform? Because your business deserves better.


Topics: choosing an in-store execution platform benefits of an in-store execution platform why use an in-store execution platform

9 Tips to Help Retail Companies Grow

My Dad used to tell me a version of Ray Kroc's quote all the time, "When you're green you grow. When you're ripe you get rotten."  Whether you're a retailer, an MSO, a broker, or a manufacturer -- you have a duty, and obligation, and a responsibility to ensure that the retailers selling your products stay green and growing.  Here's how:

Topics: grow your company

Consumers Return Over $640 Billion of Products Annually

According to an article published by Market Watch on June 18, 2015, consumers reportedly return approximately $640 billion worth of goods every year. That is a jaw-dropping number of revenue that companies thought they saw but ultimately had to pay back to their customers.

Topics: merchandising Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness returns

Retail Compliance: What Does It Mean to Your Company?

The word "compliance" is near and dear to my heart because the first time I pitched our software to a company (and leadership team) I'd never met, I built the presentation around compliance. They went on to become hugely succesful and sold their company for a very large number.  I'd like to think we had a part in that succcess, by delivering on the promises I made that day to help them drive and prove compliance.

Although the presentation has changed, compliance remains at the heart and soul of what drives a profitable retail industry, and driving and proving compliance remains at the heart and soul of what we do.

The very definition of "compliance" is to behave according to the rules that have been previously laid out for you. The act of compliance is important for everyone in the industry (and therefore everyone within your company) to uphold -- from the company's manager or CEO to the salespeople and field teams who bring in the company's profits and execute the programs. No one is too powerful or too good at their job to be granted the ability not to follow the rules.

Topics: retail compliance

What is the Best Dashboard to Review Mobile Field Service Data Collected from Stores?

What is the best dashboard to review data collected from stores?

Well, to answer that question let's take look at this tutorial of the ESP Control's Survey Review Tile. During this tutorial I'll point out exactly why the ESP Control's Survey Review Tile is the best in the industry, with reasons and examples.

Note that this tutorial will only address the tile itself -- not the dashboarding system.  Please see that tutorial by clicking this link.  (And don't forget to click here to see the best mobile app.)

Topics: dashboards ESPControl Tutorial demo

What is the Best Dashboarding System for Retail Execution and On-Shelf Availability?

What's the best dashboard for mobile retail field teams?

Well, to answer that question let's take look at this tutorial of the ESP Control dashboard. During this tutorial I'll point out exactly why the ESP Control dashboard is the best in the industry, with reasons and examples.

Note that this tutorial will only address the dashboard itself -- not the data contained.  Please see those tutorials elsewhere on this blog. (Survey Review Tile here); and click here to see the best field mobile app.

Topics: dashboards ESPControl Tutorial demo

The Power of Cross-Merchandising

There is no doubt about it: cross-merchandising results in increased sales and profits. Where a product is placed in relation to products that are related to it can greatly increase the chances of a customer walking out with two products under their arm instead of just one. 

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness cross-merchandising

3 Qualities that Make Up a Strong Relationship Between a Field Rep and a Store Manager

It is very important for a field rep to maintain a good rapport with the store managers that he or she visits on a regular basis. Let's face it: if a store manager is not on good terms with a field rep, then the field rep's visit to the store could end up being somewhat of a waste of time if the manager can't, or won't, properly communicate the needs of the store to the rep so that the rep can inform management.

Topics: business relationship

4 Features to Look for in a Retail Planogram Software Package

Retail planogram software allows field reps to better communicate with field managers insofar as their strategies for planograms, and it also allows both to follow up on whether or not a store is in compliance with that strategy.

Topics: planograms planogram software

5 Things to Look for in a Retail Audit App

Retail audit apps save companies immeasurable amounts of both time and money by eliminating the need for paper, pens, and spreadsheets and setting reps up with reputable systems into which they can enter and upload their data, which can then be evaluated by management back at the head office - all at the push of a button.

Topics: retail audit

8 Reasons Why You Should Ditch the Paper and Opt Instead for Mobile Apps

When the time comes for recording data, you may immediately default to paper as the method by which it should be collected, but paper is proving more and more inefficient as time goes on and as technology improves.  

Topics: mobile apps

7 Ways to Make Buying Field Mobile Software More Affordable

Your company may be toying with the idea of investing in field mobile software, and that is certainly a worthwhile decision to make. But maybe you or whoever is in charge is having difficulty in getting the software approved in the company's budget.

Topics: budget affordable

15 Tips for Firing an Employee

One of the hardest things for any manager to have to do is to fire an employee. Maybe you'll feel more justified afterwards, like if the employee was caught stealing or doing some other under-handed thing. Or maybe you'll feel bad about it because the employee was generally a good person but just couldn't seem to make the job a good fit no matter how hard they tried. Either way, when the time comes, it's still hard to say goodbye, especially if you've built up a relationship with that person.

Topics: termination firing

How Can You Reduce the Expenses Involved in Managing Your Field Force

There's always room to reduce expenses, and it is good to stop and take stock every once in a while of the costs you are incurring, particularly indirect costs which are often paid without a second glance, but which add up quickly if you aren't careful.

Topics: expenses reduce cost

10 Reasons Why In-Store Execution Projects Fail

You can have the best and most detailed plan in the business, but if it gets botched in any way during any of its particular stages, then the whole thing can collapse like a house of cards. Of course, what is a success or failure depends on the perspective of the business; one man's slight failure is another man's moderate success.

Topics: in-store execution