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Belt tightening with a smile

We’re all becoming water-cooler economists, with news of cost control measures, reduction in budgets, extra scrutiny on operating expenses, and new revenue generating ideas coming up all the time.

Retailers locked down their costs very quickly, and have kept a tight lid on inventory levels.  You can see it walking around their shelves, where the savvy store operators have made sure there are enough facings so the store doesn’t look bare, but there isn’t a lot of depth to the assortment.

Store labor is one of the highest controllable costs, but merely eliminating hours or positions isn’t very sophisticated.  It will get the job done, but temporarily. The old joke was you could fire everyone and make a lot more profit. The problem is, what does that do to the customer shopping experience ? We need to maintain or improve our customer service levels, and put a smile on every face that walks through our store’s front door.

Tight Synergy Between Point of Sale and Workforce Management

The smart retailers are looking at belt tightening from a whole other angle.  The winners here are taking a hard look at both labor dollars and customer satisfaction.  The best-run business approach is to can take store sales data from your point of sale, customer traffic data, and combine it with your workforce management solution. Matt Pillar, editor-in-chief of Integrated Solutions for Retailers is bringing together some of the smart ones in a panel discussion on how to make this work.

Once you’ve brought the data together, you can get real insight into service levels, conversion rates, and labor budget.  You can adjust, measure, and manage.  You can provide the right number of staff on the floor, facing the customer, and strike the right balance between reduced outlay and sufficient staff to satisfy the people you depend on – your customers.  Let alone making sure staff stress levels don’t rise any further.  Having a team working the floor makes for a better environment, and that is reflected in the smiles on everyone’s face. 

Webinar Panel Discussion

Retailers that have done it will be on the ISR panel discussion on August 20th (sign up and mark your calendar!).  They plan to discuss how:

  • Point-of-sale information can be used to enhance customer service
  • Greater visibility through business intelligence drives improved cost control
  • Leveraging integrated time collection reduces hardware costs and improves compliance

This is a webinar SAP is sponsoring, but we’re trying to highlight what real-world retail people are doing, and let you hear it in their own words.  We’ve lined up 3 leading retailers, department retailer Bon-Ton Stores, fabric and craft leader Jo-Ann Stores, and Ulta Beauty.  It should be a lively discussion, as RSR Research analyst Nikki Baird is going to add her unique perspective.

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