We're Hiring!

Retail Greatness Blog

Practice Extreme Pre-Call Planning for Extreme Retail Execution

"The key is not the will to win... everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important." -- Bobby Knight, the most all-time winning college basketball coach at the time of his retirement.

How well do you and your field team prepare to win? An honest answer to that question can be the first step in becoming a dominate force in retail execution. And when you're ready to dominate, follow the step-by-step guide in this post for extreme pre-call preparation.

Topics: pre-call planning field rep greatnes Field Manager Greatness

How to Increase Retailer Traffic with Mobile Technology (Post 3 of 3)


Our final post in this series takes a look at the data coming back, and how to use it. If you've just landed here, you should go back and read the two prior posts.

You can see that we have instant status of completion, how many stores were attempted, how many were completed, how many remain, and how many were assigned.

More exciting is we got some demographic data! Let's drill into it shall we?

Topics: foot traffic mobile technology

How to Increase Retailer Traffic with Mobile Technology (Post 2 of 3)


Continuing our series on how to help retailers increase traffic, we continue to look at how technology can make that task easier. See yesterday's post if you just landed here or this post won't make sense.

In all cases, it's best to "gamify" task-oriented software to both keep workers focused and give them incentive and motivation to complete their work. When a rep starts working for the week, they see the work that's in front of them like this:

Topics: foot traffic mobile technology

How to Increase Retailer Traffic with Mobile Technology (Post 1 of 3)

In an increasingly Omni-channel world, the bricks-and-sticks that will survive will be the ones that deliver the best customer experience. And to do that, you'd better know your customer.

One strategy for doing that is getting to know the demographics for each store. But, how would you do that?

Topics: foot traffic mobile technology

Increasing Retailer Margin with Mobile Technology (Post 3 of 3)


The vast majority of the strategies I've outlined throughout this series of blog posts rely upon the transfer of knowledge from the retail leadership team to the in-store employee.

Topics: mobile technology retailer margin

Increasing Retailer Margin with Mobile Technology (Post 2 of 3)


In 2016 and beyond, there's absolutely no reason that a retail store and/or department manager shouldn't have full visibility into who is coming to the store, when, for how long, and for what purpose.

Retailers should be included as users on systems that expose that information. For example, if you're the produce manager at Walmart #20032, you should be able to see that Joe Field is coming to your store on 9/4 at midnight to sell and/or install watermelons.

Topics: mobile technology retailer margin

Increasing Retailer Margin with Mobile Technology (Post 1 of 3)


Retailers share some characteristics with other businesses when it comes to profitability. Two come to mind:

- If you want to increase profit there are only two ways: increase sales and reduce costs.
- The key to success is to keep the customers you have, attract new customers, and reduce expenses.

Topics: mobile technology retailer margin

Centrality of Meetings for Geographically Diverse Retail Execution Teams

Ok, it's time for our last post on the Advantage series.

While nothing can kill productivity faster, nothing is more important in your day-to-day business activities than holding regular meetings with your staff. Taking the company's pulse, so to speak, is the best way to monitor its health. Meetings allow concerns and questions to come to the surface from the staff's end, and from management's end they're a great way to establish and discuss the values and objectives of the company, as well as to involve the necessary parties in decision-making processes, strategies, and tactics relating to carrying out the company's objectives while keeping its values at the forefront.

If you are unsure as to whether or not your company has a lackluster meeting schedule, review the following checklist established by Patrick Lencioni, author of The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business:

  • You address strategy and tactics with your staff in separate meetings, with each meeting focusing solely one topic at a time.
  • During tactical meetings, you only establish an action plan after the team has been fully briefed on the progress they have made thus far in reaching the company's goals, and administrative topics that are not urgent in nature (i.e. time-wasters) are disregarded without batting an eye.
  • During meetings relating to issues or concerns, enough time is allotted so that the proper amount of focus can be dedicated to the more important issues so that everyone can be properly and fully briefed on the details surrounding the issue, debate how to go about resolving the issue, and then finally settle on a resolution that everyone can agree on.
  • You meet with your team quarterly and offsite in order to review the goings-on at every level of the retail chain, from the retail industry as a whole, to your company (and how the retail industry's goings-on affect your company), and finally, to the team, and how the goings-on at the other levels affect them both individually and collectively.

If you find that two or more of these points are non-existent, then you must re-evaluate how you and your management team go about conducting meetings with your staff. (Hopefully, you are conducting at least semi-regular meetings, and that those meetings come with understood open-door policies.)

Lencioni knows a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to successfully managing a business. He is the author of 10 books, which have sold almost five million copies and have been translated into over 30 languages, and he has written pieces for The Wall Street JournalFortune, and Harvard Business Review, amongst others. Peruse some of his books, including the aforementioned The Advantage, here.  

Ok, this is the hardest part in the series. While I write all the time about how technology can help communicate across vast geography, nothing beats face-to-face meetings. So field managers, you're going to want to find some way to bring the team together on some sort of schedule.

For field teams it's even more critical that you give your team some human contact. They work apart from their management and co-workers and need to bond. The need to gel. They need to become a cohesive merchandising team. And while technology can help people maintain relationship connections while apart (think social sharing) it's hard to get buy-in on mobile devices, one person at a time.

For me, I used to hate meetings. You know, Patrick wrote another book, Death by Meeting which is another book I recommend as well. Now I have a morning meeting via teleconference every morning with my leadership team and it's the best thing I ever did.  Speaking of that, it's high-time we met face to face. I'll go set that up now.

Topics: the advantage field service meetings Field Manager Greatness

How to Use Store Level Syndicated Sales Data with Mobile Sales Teams


This is really important, and near-and-dear to my heart.

It's come to my attention that we at ESP have been  underselling one of our most powerful features, and I wanted to fix that now. Normally I tend to use our Software Academy Blog for more software related posts; but this is too important and I feel I must share it with you.

Topics: syndicated sales data pos Field Executive Greatness

Reinforce Retail Execution Clarity

 Continuing our examination of how The Advantage applies to Retail Merchandising:

Topics: patrick lencioni the advantage

Over-Communicate Retail Execution Clarity

For the past couple of days I've been examining The Advantage, and how it can apply to building the best retail execution team possible.  We continue today.

Topics: mobile communications creating company culture the advantage

Build and Maintain a Cohesive Retail Execution Team

Continuing our application of The Advantage to Retail Execution...

The first thing you must do in order to ensure that your company be a thriving one is to create a cohesive retail execution team. Without a well organized team heading up the company, the company can never be as successful as it could have been otherwise. First, you must make sure that you hire the right people, and that you have the right number of people (no less than three, no more than 12).

Topics: the advantage patrick lencioni cohesive leadership team Field Executive Greatness Field Manager Greatness

Create Retail Execution Clarity

For retail execution to thrive, it is important that everyone on the team be on the same page. This puts the company on the right path to both developing and maintaining a thriving presence in the marketplace. One of the hardest things for employees to deal with is when the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, so to speak, so management creates confusion on several levels and leaves their employees to their own devices to figure things out in order to properly do their jobs.

In order to prevent this from happening, you need to ask yourself six questions, which are posed by Patrick Lencioni in his book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. These questions are:

  1. Why do we exist? The answer you come up with for this question will provide you with the root cause of why your company decided to go into business in the first place.
  2. How do we behave? By re-evaluating your team's behavior, you can better determine where their values lie, and where they need to lie, in order to help the team and the company as a whole become and remain a success.
  3. What do we do? The answer to this question, like the answer to the first, will help you to better understand your business as a whole, which can help you down the line when trying to plan accordingly for the needs of your business.
  4. How will we succeed? This question forces you and your team to come up with a strategy in order to solve the immediate concerns at hand, rather than missing or forgetting them and inadvertently allowing them to bring your team and your company down.
  5. What is most important right now? This helps you and your team really focus on creating an action plan by determining precisely what your end game is in the short-term.
  6. Who must do what? This question is crucial for many businesses, as it states, in plain English, exactly who is tasked with what responsibilities in the company. This prevents confusion, stepping on toes, and mistakes, and it encourages accountability and productivity.

 

Lencioni knows a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to how to successfully manage a business, as he is the author of 10 books which have sold almost five million copies, and have been translated into over 30 languages. Lencioni has written pieces for The Wall Street JournalFortune, and Harvard Business Review, amongst others. Peruse some of his books, including the aforementioned The Advantage, here. 

Topics: patrick lencioni the advantage retail execution retail execution clarity

The 4 Biggest HR Challenges in Retail Execution Teams

The retail industry in particular is tricky when it comes to human resources. Employees on Retail Execution Teams deal directly with the Retailer's bread and butter (the customer), so it is important to consider both long-term and short-term goals when addressing issues with your employees that are related to human resources.

Topics: human resources retail execution

Quotes about the Importance of Company Culture


A strong sense of company culture may be harder to enforce within remote teams considering how it is much harder to get team members and their managers in the same room together, but company culture for remote teams is just as - if not more - important than it is for any other company.

Topics: company culture

Making Exception-Based Reporting Work for Your Business

Exception-based reporting is when a company hires an analyst or a team of analysts to go over a company's data with a fine-toothed comb, looking for exceptions that could possibly point to fraud. Or better yet, the company uses a real time retail execution software platform to do all that hard work instead of human labor...

Topics: exception-based reporting

6 Essential Dashboards for Team Leaders

Dashboards aren't just for managers anymore; dashboards can be used by anyone in the company to show a team at a glance and through visual representations a snapshot of just how well the company is doing at any point in time and how the team's contributions are impacting the business as a whole, thereby increasing the team's accountability.

Topics: dashboards

10 Ideas to Increase Sales Figures and Loyal Customers

It never hurts to try out a promotion every now and then to give a boost to your sales figures, but how about if you can tie that promotion to the idea of also increasing not only the number of customers you bring into your store, but also the number of customers who will remain loyal once they get there? This is a critical topic that doesn't get enough coverage: Are you just giving product away to existing customers who would have bought it anyway, or are you changing behavior of current (and new) customers?

Topics: increase sales increase customers

Identifying Distribution Voids with Charts

How are your customers going to buy your products if those products are not on your shelves? Simple - they won't. 

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness distribution voids

The Top Three Priorities for Retailers (Post 3 of 3)

In the traditional brick-and-mortar retail model, the retailer is king. They have the real estate, they have the traffic, they have the shelf space, and they are the gatekeepers that either let you sell your
products, or not.

Topics: field rep Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness selling to retailers

When Distribution Voids are Actually Out-of-Stock Issues.

Retailers may think that being out of stock on an item is the worst possible thing that can happen at the shelf, but there is actually another kind of issue that is twice as bad, and that is the distribution or product void.

Topics: distribution voids Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

7 Off-Beat In-Store Events to Help Increase Foot Traffic to Your Indie Business

Indie retailers may have it the hardest in today's economy. Brick-and-mortar stores are already suffering enough in the wake of the boom of eCommerce, and those are the stores that have already established a regional/state-wide/nationwide name for themselves. How can you possibly interest more people in coming to visit a little store that they may love, but that they simply have not yet heard of? Even if you don't own a store, but only service it you offer the owner some of these great suggestions...

Topics: foot traffic indie business

The Top Three Priorities for Retailers (Post 2 of 3)

In the traditional brick-and-mortar retail model, the retailer is king. They have the real estate, they have the traffic, they have the shelf space, and they are the gatekeepers that either let you sell your
products, or not.

Topics: Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness selling to retailers

The Top Three Priorities for Retailers (Post 1 of 3)

In the traditional brick-and-mortar retail model, the retailer is king. They have the real estate, they have the traffic, they have the shelf space, and they are the gatekeepers that either let you sell your
products, or not.

Topics: selling to retailers Field Rep Greatness Field Manager Greatness Field Executive Greatness

The 5 Biggest Problems with Omnichannel Retail Practices

Omnichannel strategies can be powerful forces to reckon with, provided they are executed correctly. When you have a successful omnichannel force, then you are better connected to your customers and have a better understanding of what it is exactly that they need and want, and you are using the information you learn to tailor your business around your customers. In this business, essentially it's "change, or die," so you have to be willing to constantly change how you do business based on how your customers want you to do business.

Topics: omnichannel processes

6 Companies Who Have Mastered the Art of the Omnichannel Experience

The best way to make your company's practices bigger and better is to analyze what other companies are doing to be so successful at them. 

Topics: omnichannel processes

9 Incredibly Stupid Brand Fails from 2014

Every once in a while, an idea gets greenlit that makes you wonder "who the hell approved that?!" 

Topics: brand fail promotions

The Dark Side of Groupon

Groupon can be a fantastic service, giving customers discounts on goods and also services, ranging from the more common massages and pedicures to the obscure, like flying lessons and kayak rentals. However, there is a down side to all of these promotions, and that is the employees that work for these businesses.

Topics: groupon Field Manager Greatness

The Sad State of U.S Promotions

When evaluating the current state of affairs, it's important to look at the entire picture. For instance, when examining the present state of promotions in the United States, it might be uplifting to see that in a recent Nielsen study, it was discovered that manufacturers now spend 19 percent on trade promotions, a number that is nine percent larger than it was 10 years ago. However, pull back the camera, and we get a picture that is significantly bleaker.

Topics: promotions Field Executive Greatness

5 Steps to a Successful Promotional Model

In this day and digital age, you have to be more strategic than ever when it comes to investing in promotions. You want to reward your current customers with a discount every once in a while, but you don't want to have to rely on discounts to the point where your business is bleeding just to prevent your customers from leaving you for your competitor.  If you're a field rep, study this to be of better value to small retailers you encounter.

Topics: promotions planning Field Rep Greatness