When traffic falls drastically with no signs to go up soon, teams feel powerless, they are quickly undermined and management pressure usually reinforces this depressed feeling. Things become worse.
The main reasons are :
- sales people are result oriented
- for them vanishing traffic is a predicament that they cannot change or overcome.
Nevertheless, they know how to tune their behavior with flow changes: for example, before, during and after sales period, Christmas period, Saturdays…
Below is a 3 steps action plan to react to traffic decrease:
1 Keep retail people motivated (both at headquarters and in stores): meeting, training and compensation adjustment.
2 Increase conversion rate and UPT.
3 Take actions to increase traffic: shop windows, client book activation and marketing actions.
1 Keep retail people motivated
As long as you possibly can, don’t cut the direct sales force during hard times. It directly drives sales. The sales force should re-focus on sales.
Make your people think out of the box with energizing meetings. Put forward and reward best practices and best performances.
Train your people on new sales and management techniques. Forget customer’s needs and think customer’s desire to arouse. Change from management pressure to constructive help (see my post on Retail Management Services’s trainings)
Adapt your compensation system to recession. Reward initiatives and new types of performance. Reengineer your bonus scheme in order to reward on KPI like number of transactions, UPT, client book activation, selected product performance, instead of single incentive on sales target.
2 Make it with your current visitors
Increase conversion rate to create an impact on turnover. You can do it by changing the method to approach the visitor (see post of September 2008)
If you consider that during hard times, most people apply restrictions on their needs, then the job of sales people is not any more to discover needs but to arouse and create desire. Undoubtedly, the stereotyped approach will not work anymore.
Personalize the approach more than ever. Customer aspires for more, not only value for money, but also a different relationship. To be kind and helpful is not differentiating service anymore. Create a relationship is the new way of developing sales.
Make your store managers focus on the numbers of transactions and teach them new ways to approach visitors.
Increase UPT. If the sales people actually watch and listen to their customers, they certainly better understand their customers putting forward more arguments. Insist on pushing forward additional offer systematically. Reward good UPT performance.
3 Take actions to increase traffic
Increase traffic through qualitative actions instead of promotions on price, that undermine your brand image.
Make your Shop windows more attractive and renew them faster.
Activate the client book. Each good sales person has his best regular clients. When the relationship is built, the client book is a great tool to schedule the relationship and count on written data instead of individual memory. The sales people can follow his clients like a personal shopper and can manage to follow more potential clients.
Marketing actions should be traffic drivers without discount offers that drain down the product and the brand value. Focus on “must have“ or lifetime value messages. Look for new ideas based on the DNA of your brand. Try cross channel marketing between your e-store and your stores, this is the right time for it.