The Little Things Matter Most in Retail
By George Anderson
Staples’ chief executive officer Ron Sargent said success in retailing comes down to attending to “thousands of little details.”
In a Boston Globe report, Mr. Sargent explains how the office supplies retailer has focused on the little things to make the business run more efficiently, improve workplace conditions for employees and ultimately serve the consumer better.
One example cited by Staples’ CEO was a change in how the company moved product from the warehouse to stores. Previously, the company had the warehouse fill up space on every truckload to maximize efficiency. Upon closer inspection, Staples discovered that, while it was packing trucks to the ceiling, store associates were spending more time in the backroom logging deliveries and picking up product spilling out on the floor while customers went unattended on the sales floor.
By making a change whereby fewer cases are loaded onto trucks and associates are no longer required to check product in immediately, said Mr. Sargent, Staples has happier employees and company surveys show more satisfied customers, as well.
Staples sales were up 11 percent last year.
Moderator’s Comment: What are the little details most often skipped at retail that offer the biggest opportunities for improvement? What are your thoughts
on Staples? –
George Anderson – Moderator