We can’t overstate it: a hands-on approach to retail management is critical for success. But brands who are navigating the world of big box retail often discover the management strategies that worked in the past are no longer sustainable at the national level.
Mega retail chains can have around 2,000 individual locations, each with their own unique attributes and challenges. If you want your management strategy to scale alongside your operations, it’s important to be effective as well as efficient. Here is our roadmap for staying connected at the store level as your business grows.
Use your data.
It’s important to take the time to physically walk stores in a variety of markets when possible. However, because it’s simply not possible for brands and manufacturers to devote equal attention to each brick and mortar store, POS analytics are a vital sales management resource.
This data will provide you with a consolidated, bird’s eye view of your brand’s performance across locations. Data from each store can alert you to potential issues and show you where you’re succeeding. While it can’t completely replace the insights gained from store walks, consider the resources you would need to expend to be physically present in each location. Some experts estimate that, even with a very ambitious schedule, it would take around two years to walk all the stores in a national chain.
Properly analyzed POS data, on the other hand, can help your team identify specific regions and locations that need your attention – a much better use of time and resources.
Pay attention to outliers.
Scrutinize your data for the unexpected.
Are some locations performing unusually well? Dig into the why, and you may discover that better customer education or stellar customer service are making a significant difference.
On the other hand, appearing on a zero sales report multiple times can indicate an issue with inventory or stocking. Staying on top of our analytics will allow you to identify and address problems at the store level before they hit your merchant’s radar.
It’s important to remember that regions and locations vary, and this data should be examined within the context of these factors. If a store that typically performs very well in the lawn and garden category isn’t moving your brand of garden gloves, you will want to make contact with that location and work to understand why.
Tap into sales management services.
So much of your efficiency depends on properly analyzing and interpreting store-level data. If you aren’t confident in your ability to do this in-house, external sales management services can help you cover more ground.
Especially in a national program, your merchant will expect you to be a proactive regional expert. Fail to notice and resolve issues, and you can quickly jeopardize your position on the shelves. Sales management provides both high-level monitoring as well as actionable real-time solutions to sales challenges – a wise investment for brands that want to grow smart.