5 tips for improving staff performance in retail for shopability

As a retailer, staff is one of your biggest expenses. Staff members are also your most important assets and we believe that together with the store design and assortment, they’re the most important factor in creating a shopable store. But how do you make sure that staff performance is optimal? We’ll share 5 tips with you on how you can improve your staff performance.

*  1. Use shopper behavior to determine staff performance *

How do you know in which store staff is performing well? Sales numbers alone don’t provide the full answer, because there are many factors that contribute to high or low sales. Adding behavioral insights will, however, bring more clarity. For instance, think about being able to assess a store’s dwell time versus its conversion. When comparing multiple stores in this manner, you’ll be able to detect stores with high dwell time, but low conversion. This is a good indicator that in those stores staff might be underperforming. This is the first step in being able to optimize staff performance. You need to know which staff in what store actually need training and improvement most.

*2. Measure staff performance *

Measure to the most precise extent possible what staff is performing best in terms of sales and customer satisfaction. Reward staff that’s doing well and train staff that’s underperforming. With new retail technology it’s even possible to track things such as staff movement. It’s interesting to detect where staff is standing and moving and where most visitors are concentrated; does this match? If not, shoppers might not receive the service they need and the store lacks shopability.

3. Actionable insights for staff planning

Retail analytics and store analytics can help you improve staff planning and make it much more efficient. It’ll help you allocate the right amount of staff, at the right spot in your store, at the right time. For instance, using intelligent people counters, you will be able to see how many people come in at what part of the day. This can be correlated to number of staff members and conversion rate to detect days or times of the day that can be optimized.


*4. Treat and pay your staff well *

MIT researcher Zeynep Ton has conducted over 10 years of research on the topic of retail staff and in his latest book Good Jobs (2014) he came to the conclusion that it’s really worth paying employees more. Not only will it increase the worker’s well being, but it will also increase the bottom line. For instance, the turnover rate is much lower. At QuikTrip, one of the companies he studied and which paid higher than average wages, turnover rate was 13% among full-time staff. At Mercado, which besides paying higher wages also truly focused on treating their employees like the experts, it was only 4%. At the same time, the rate in the top quartile of the convenience story industry this rate is as high as 59%. The higher wages are offset by the lower turnover and thus lower training and hiring costs and by an increased customer satisfaction.

*5. Cross-train staff *

The fact that staff training is important is a no-brainer and every retailer that cares about staff performance will train his or her staff well. However, what we see even at the best retailers in the world is that cross training is lacking. This means that staff is only trained to do a very specific task and staff planning becomes a nightmare. Training staff in multiple areas allows you to have more flexibility and it can also higher job satisfaction as work is more varied.

Thus, even by bringing in simple changes and measuring the basics, staff planning and performance can be improved drastically. It will lead to happier staff, happier customers and ultimately more profits.