Every Day, Every Hour, Every Minute = Potential Profit Made or Lost
This is it! "The Season" is here, and how you manage the details can make the difference between profits or losses!
“The Season” is here! The next 33 days or so will play a critical role in making or breaking the annual financial results for most retailers.
While it’s a bit early to fully judge how good, great, or “ehhhh” this past weekend was (including Cyber Monday), the period leading up to Thanksgiving was by all accounts very robust. I heard nothing but positive feedback in my less-than-scientific research from friends, clients, and store-level associates I chatted with while visiting retailers prior to the holiday. Parking lots were very busy, registers were running and shopping bags were visible. Feedback on the weekend itself was also generally positive, with only a handful of digital sellers saying they were disappointed (I dropped a separate post yesterday on early weekend results).
Reported results were a bit more mixed but typically rely on traffic vs. sales and gross margin dollars. Traffic, while important, does not tell the entire story as we all know.
Black Friday store traffic up year-over-year; down from pre-pandemic levels
Cyber Monday: Brisk sales, fewer discounts and plenty of out-of-stock problems
Historically, when I looked at the period of time between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, I tried to segment it into “day parts”, meaning effectively 30 minute chunks of time.
Because I knew that what was executed well or accomplished in terms of preparation in every 30 minute window could have a material impact on my sales results. This focus was magnified on busy weekend days and literally every day in the two weeks before Christmas and the few days following.
What the heck do I mean? Here are some examples:
During a lull some team members move a newly received item from the stockroom to the salesfloor. One hour later, that item is sold out.
Pre-rush Saturday morning. Instead of team members standing around waiting for guests to arrive, or doing meaningless straightening, one or two head out into the shopping center to distribute coupons. As a result, store traffic builds two hours before the norm with customers redeeming those coupons.
Same day, pre-rush. Two newer cashiers are working. Take 20 minutes to review best practices of upselling, tie-in selling with them and encourage them to be pleasantly aggressive. End of shift, the UPT’s and AOV are up versus the trend.
It comes down to the theory that every minute counts and instead of waiting for business to come to you, use those moments to perform value-add actions. It works, I promise!
“It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.”
— Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motors
Here are some reminders on best practices for managing “The Season” while you are in it. There a bunch more in past issues but these have always been top of mind for me once Black Friday hits:
Support Your Team: you won’t accomplish much without a motivated, enthusiastic, happy and well trained team. Be sure work schedules are balanced so your best people don’t get stuck with the worst shifts all season. Ensure everyone gets a break to eat and rest up during the day. Consider bringing in food so they can eat quickly and easily instead of standing in a long line at some fast food joint. Praise your strong performers, counsel your weaker performers, and find plenty of reasons to celebrate. Oh yeah, say thank you, a lot!
Know Your Sales Plan: have a sales goal for every day and segment it into shifts (or even hours). Let your team know the plan and track progress hourly against the goal. If you are trending well, tell everyone to “keep up the good work! No let downs!” If you are not performing well, encourage the team to step up their efforts and share some ideas how to do that. Stay focused on sales than the things that impact sales. Never be surprised at the end of the day with how sales were versus plan.
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