Executive Perspective: Leveraging “Local” in Retail Stores

charlesI am back in the office after my annual bow hunting trip I take during deer and elk season in Oregon. During my trip I needed some supplies for my trailer so I drove 46 miles to the nearest town. My first stop was a well-known big box store.

When I entered the store there was no one to greet me. I walked through the miles of aisles finding nothing to suit my needs. At one point I found myself yelling “Hello, Hello” to get someone’s attention. (Geez, finding an elk was easier!) After 10 minutes, I found someone from a different department who had no useful knowledge of what I needed. After all that, I left empty handed. At a local store down the road, I was welcomed by a smiling face as I walked through the door. After explaining what I needed, she radioed ahead and escorted me to the proper aisle. There, a knowledgeable consultant walked me directly to the item I needed. After a few questions, we discovered there were other pieces I might need from another department. He radioed ahead and delivered me to the next knowledgeable attendant.

I came in needing a one-dollar item. Thanks to expert service by attentive staff, I spent more than $50. This example clearly demonstrates the impact sales associates have on the success of your store. Owners and managers should be focused on the selling side of the house, specifically customers count and customer spend, because that’s where profit is attained. Here are a few guidelines:

  1. Hire knowledgeable personnel
  2. Regular customer service & product training
  3. A clean, tidy, well-lit store, with organized aisles of properly priced merchandise
  4. Fast, friendly check-out lanes
  5. Customer loyalty program with instant coupons
  6. Eliminate “outs” by leveraging Paladin’s dynamic algorithms
  7. Increase the breadth of product offerings to meet customer demand

With these guidelines, your store will succeed in today’s competitive market. Hopefully, next year will be better for bow hunting in Oregon. And If I need supplies, I know where I will be shopping and more importantly, where I won’t be shopping.

By Charles Owen

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