22 Jul 5 Signs your retail culture is suffering
Why your stores are not on target
Today’s retailers understand a performance culture is needed to drive sales, and most believe they are optimising their workforce to sell well, in every possible way. How would you measure up against an in-depth, retail performance diagnostic into how your stores are performing?
If sales are still not moving upwards, it’s easy to blame external factors like falling footfall, online buying, staff retention issues, or Brexit. It’s a bit harder to admit the issue may lie in your performance culture. The main reason retailers suffer in their performance is a failure to deal with their ‘people problem’.
5 Signs your retail culture is suffering
People are the detail in retail. There are several factors which affect staff and how they determine what your company is like to work for and if they want to stay with you.
- A high-performance culture subscribes to a set of behaviours which lead a retailer to achieve superior results. If managers are stuck in their ways, suffering from a ‘tell’ culture, they’ll be providing all the answers to staff instead of fostering a trusting environment. Unless specifically shown how to ‘ask’ instead of ‘tell’, managers will always go straight back to ‘telling’. There’s a training gap. A recommended course e.g. ‘manager as coach’ would help to address this.
2. In the next scenario, customers are walking through the door, it feels as if everyone is working very hard, but numbers are still not moving. When you observe employees in action and watch the performance metrics you get to know their impact on sales, but not their intentions. How staff answer questions about their on-the-floor selling actions reveals much about their intentions towards the customers. A high-performance culture encourages employees to grow and reinvent themselves. ‘Best in class’ retailers adopt a coaching approach to on-the-floor feedback to motivate sales performance.
3. All of us have personal preferences, biases and frustrations which means we inevitably end up treating people differently. If you’re hearing complaints about fellow staff members, witnessing bullying, or seeing low morale, this is evidence personal management styles are dominating the culture. In a high-performance culture each person is equally valued. Giving people room to learn by letting them make mistakes, without fear of reprisal, is the key cultural feature of high-performance sales environments. Staff feel positive about selling because they are free to exceed targets when they see an opportunity to do so.
People factors affecting retention tells us part of the story. But what about the environment and systems that define employee responsibilities? To see why your stores don’t meet their targets we can look at the management systems in place.
4. What happens ten minutes before the store opens and in the first few moments of trading is important. Non-negotiable standards and compliance form the environment we work in. How can the team be serious about what they are doing each day if there is no official start? They won’t know how to implement a game-plan beyond achieving store standards if time is not spent each day in a team meeting. Set routines and goals for your staff from the top-level all the way down.
5. To borrow a sporting analogy, a high-performance champion tennis player has a meeting with their coach about attitude and strategy before they play on a court. Retail staff too, benefit enormously from a system which shares past performance and targets. On an individual and store level, tips for link-selling, add-ons, increasing conversion rate and average transaction value go down well when statistics back it up. Best practice means a dashboard system is in place and everyone has access to it.
Setting a trusting environment, adopting a coaching culture and using a dashboard to connect staff with the big picture gives your staff a sense of belonging. Ensuring everyone is valued and encouraged to succeed is what makes for a high-performance sales culture in retail.
An RPS Performance Diagnostic benchmarks your retail business against competitors and industry standards, reviews your strategy initiatives and their likelihood of success in today’s market and provides an analysis of your people, productivity and performance. As a result of implementing our Performance Diagnostic recommendations, clients experience an immediate sales increase of between 3-8%.
The RPS performance system, based on Olympic sport performance principles, has delivered great results for retailers for over 35 years.