RSR Research: The Store Manager – On the Cusp of Being Empowered?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, Retail Systems Research’s weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers.
How is the challenge of the mobile-empowered consumer affecting the job of the store manager, and how are retailers positioning their store managers to better meet that challenge?
Unfortunately, for many retailers, the road to getting store managers into their rightful new position of power is fraught with roadblocks, according to a new RSR benchmark study. In aggregate, many retailers tell us they just have too many other priorities with which to compete (31 percent).
At the same time, their existing technologies and infrastructure are currently standing in the way of being able to empower the store manager any further than they already have (also 31 percent), and conflicting priorities set by different departments, which are then sent to stores, present problematic issues as well (27 percent).
Winners tell us they have an additional problem with which to contend: the best performers report — at an inordinate rate — that they are far more challenged to provide store managers the information they require to be more effective in a timely fashion. Forty-two percent of Winners (vs. only seven percent of average and lagging respondents) cite this as an impediment to giving the store manager better technologies and tools. In fact, it is Winners’ top inhibitor. For these forward-thinkers, the issue is not whether the store manager needs more firepower, it’s simply an issue of how to get it to him/her faster.
As a result, the key to that evolution resides in more near-real-time exception reporting, particularly for Retail Winners (64 percent vs. 50 percent of average and lagging retailers).
Winners are also much more aggressive in their use of pilot programs in stores (50 percent vs. average and lagging retailers’ 29 percent). What’s interesting is that for them, the buck stops here. Exception reporting and pilot programs are the only means by which Winners see great value to get past their internal roadblocks. Fast, accurate reporting (and the ability to test it in select stores) represents something of a holy grail to the best performing retailers.
By way of comparison, average and lagging retailers see great value in a host of means across the board — ensuring there’s a single point of contact between stores and other departments (57 percent), more involvement from senior management (64 percent), better internal training programs (64 percent). This does not mean these retailers are grasping at straws, as all of the options they selected are solid business practices; it simply confirms that they are not as far along in the process as Winners, and have a long way to go if they are to catch up.
Discussion Questions: Is fast, accurate reporting the primary hurdle to empowering store managers? How is the challenge of the mobile-empowered consumer affecting the job of the store manager?