Is there a failure to communicate between retail HQs and stores?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
Retail’s corporate teams are facing challenges in finding the best way for district and store managers to interpret and roll out company-wide strategies at the local level. In fact, according to new research, 42 percent of retailers agree their initiatives aren’t well integrated across the business.
One challenge is aligning data in a way that makes sense for a wide variety of stores. An urban store has different needs than a rural location, as is the case with a smaller store versus a flagship.
“What we see in practice is that those tools work pretty well in the boardroom for the things that we want to try to move across the organization,” Chris Taylor, CEO of Square Root, whose firm published the research, told Retail TouchPoints. “Where they fall short is how they paint with a very broad brush and often aren’t really telling the stories in a way that’s useful down to the store and district managers.”
A small store might be able to explain away low sales by blaming its size, but being shown that it is among the lowest-performing small locations chainwide provides context that highlights the issue. From there, the retailer can suggest tactics that have worked at successful stores with similar demographics.
Technology also can be a valuable tool for managers. Seventy-eight percent of retailers agreed that improved backend tools and technology would help them better understand and improve the customer experience. However, 71 percent said their organization invests almost exclusively in customer-facing technology.
“If you can get a tool to the district and store managers that allows them to really understand and set priorities, that’s what’s going to make all these different initiatives effective in the store,” said Mr. Taylor. “The reality is each store probably has different initiatives that it focuses on, or a different way a corporate initiative is happening.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What challenges do district and store managers face acting on corporate’s initiatives? Are the insights coming from corporate often too broad and out of context with individual store needs? What solutions do you see?