Musings on leadership, ADS and more


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Here are a few random thoughts about leading a retail and service team. Some I’ve posted on Twitter, some have been on my mind recently.

* I’m the first to say that a positive work environment is important for delivering a great customer experience. At the same time, a leader has to be more than just a cheerleader. Cheering is nice, but good coaching and well-executed plays win the game. Then you’ll really have something to cheer about!

* Love this quote. It’s so true. “For most leaders, the great challenge is not understanding the practice of leadership: It is practicing their understanding of leadership.”  – Marshall Goldsmith

* Every interview should include the applicant spending time on the floor. It’s one thing for an applicant to tell you he/she can engage customers, but it is another to show you. If an applicant can engage a customer without really knowing your store or products, that employee will probably be pretty good. I like to give the applicant a small gift for the time.

* Never blame staff or customers for sales results. Figure out what needs to be different. Leadership actions change the course of results.

* When was the last time you took your management team on a walk (or road trip) to look at other stores? Not just direct competitors, but other types of stores, too, to inspire ideas on merchandising, service, selling, etc. Here’s the trick to doing that effectively. We often shop other stores to validate what we are doing right. That’s fine, but we don’t learn much. Instead, visit stores to identify what they are doing well, and then figure out how to apply that in your store.

*  While we’re on the subject of visiting stores, I was in Columbus over the weekend and had a chance to see Aeropostale’s new concept store, Aero Studio. This store absolutely looks like their customers designed it. That, to me, is one of the biggest compliments you can give a store, especially a retailer who targets teens. The graphic and lifestyle messages were spot on. Here’s an article and picture of the store from the Columbus Dispatch.

* Whenever you’re in Columbus you have to eat Ginny’s ice cream. Great ice cream and a great staff. Well worth the wait in line.

* Never underestimate the impact you can have on your staff, and your staff’s impact on results. A participant in my Four Week to Higher ADS program set a goal to grow her average sale from $70 to $77. Her team exceeded the goal every day, and averaged $111 over the weekend. The best part is that the staff is feeling energized and excited about their results, and that itself creates an even better store experience. 

* Speaking of ADS, if your staff is a key part of the sales experience, you absolutely have to measure individual performance. You don’t have to have to report on it if you don’t want, but you have to measure and address the gap in performance.

For example, here’s a client’s July individual staff ADS (average daily sale) for one store.

Employee A    $82

Employee B    $77

Employee C    $75

Employee D    $66

Employee E    $61

This is fairly typical range you’d see in most stores.

Now let’s look deeper. The store’s ADS for July is $72. Employee E’s average sale is 15% below the store average, and 26% lower than the top performer. Yikes!

Say every employee completed 250 transactions in July. That means that Employee A did $20,500 in sales, and Employee E only did $15,250. A difference of $5,250. Annualize that and add up impressively! Over $60,000.

While Employee E may not ever be as good as Employee A, as a leader you need to coach Employee E up to at least the store average. Employee E can most likely rise to the store average, but they won’t if they’re not coached or required to do so.

So let me ask, what will you do this week and weekend to be a great place to work and shop.

– Doug

Did you know that I offer retailers an intensive one-day store visit? As a result of our spending the day together you’ll have an extensive number of ideas and strategies to grow your sales, staff, and improve your merchandising, marketing, and productivity. Reply to this email to discuss having me visit your store.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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