As retailers start working on their 2013 budgets, many will be facing more pressure to reduce staff costs yet improve customer service.
Having already slashed staffing levels in recent years, many managers will struggle with how to manage further reductions.
However, typically between 6% and 10% of labour hours in store are wasted in non-productive tasks, driven by poor scheduling or unproductive processes. Stores need to develop a better understanding of customer footfall and staffing requirements (how long does it take to replenish stock on the sales floor?) to help them more accurately schedule staff so the right amount of labour is available at the right time.
Non customer-facing activity needs to be as efficient as possible, with the freed-up time refocused on engaging with customers and improving conversion rates and the value of each ‘basket’. Fashion retailers need to be mindful that getting a customer into a fitting room will improve conversion rates from 42% to 77%, and that selling managers often spend half their time off the sales floor.
Additionally, ensuring all branches perform consistently will deliver an improvement in KPIs – increased spend, conversion, loyalty – and a reduction in labour costs.
- Sue Butler, Director at retail consultancy, Kurt Salmon