By Brian Walker – The Retail Doctor Group

Have you ever sat at the Monday morning retail team meeting and heard the following?

‘Well, sales were down this weekend due to a lack of customers’

(comments like this are especially compelling in this current marketplace where talking it down is fast becoming a national pastime!)

Recently, I visited 5 different retailers in store (15 minutes per visit) to observe first hand this current malaise of retailers not having enough customers.

Here are the impromptu results from my observations:
•    Over the 5 fifteen minute periods there was an average of 24 customers in the stores observed
•    Average staffing numbers were 3 staff
•    Average customer to staff ratio over this period was therefore 8:1

Given the 15 customers who could likely be adequately served by the 3 staff, this leaves 9 customers whose needs could not be properly addressed (even with all the best intent from the staff). These were therefore sales lost.

These 9 customers over 5 separate periods is 45 potential customers. At a hypothetical average spend of $50 this equates to a potential $2250 that wasn’t spent in these retail stores. Add this number up across the retail sector and we can start to see the impact that losing existing customers has on a business with the best positioning strategy in the world not amounting to a lot if the retail conversion is not seamlessly delivered.

How to capture those potential sales and make money.
•    Measure transaction counts closely. Every transaction forecast should be based on historical counts and is generally a reliable predictor
•    Link these to staff rosters
•    Change rosters to accommodate surges and changes in transaction numbers
•    Employ, rather than deploy staff based on the facts and pick up those extra sales! (A much better outcome and far more positive than merely reporting on what wasn’t. achieved)
•    Place even more emphasis on having motivated well trained people whose product knowledge underpins their service excellence.

Remember that somewhere between 70% – 80% of purchases are impulse and effective ‘retail magic” with exceptional customer service underpins turning the impulse to profit! The “fitter” the business the higher the conversion rate.

The adage of worrying a little less about the customers that you wished you had, rather worry about the customers that you have applies in this example. They are out there and today’s fiscal stimulus package
by all forecasts, will bring them with money in hand.

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Happy ‘Fit’ Retailing

The Retail Doctor