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Today, managing store operations feels more like directing traffic on a highway. Customers are moving faster than ever, and retailers, especially those with large investments in the physical channel, are having a difficult time keeping pace. Store operations professionals are responsible for hitting every objective across a number of dimensions, including store sales and margins, employee engagement, customer satisfaction and loyalty and of course, store productivity.

It’s not easy. But several retail and consumer goods brands are hitting it out of the park: meeting or exceeding every target metric and reaching new heights of labor productivity and operational efficiency. And across the board, these brands are relying on one or more of five distinct capabilities focused on increasing payroll leverage.

Payroll leverage may be a new term, but many business executives are increasingly adopting payroll leverage improvement as a one of their top objectives. Simply put, payroll leverage is maximizing store sales while decreasing store costs. Payroll leverage is the byproduct of  two major metrics): store sales and payroll costs. Typical drivers store sales are footfalls, conversion rate and average transaction size. On the other hand, drivers for payroll costs are task management, onboarding costs, and associate attrition. The model is illustrated in the figure below:

PayrollLeverage.png


Unfortunately, common challenges restrict a store operator’s ability to implement operational efficiencies to decrease payroll costs or deploy new tactics to address the drivers to lead to improvements in store sales. Fortunately, there are five distinct tactics retailers can adopt to increase payroll leverage. These tactics include: (1) Centralized Knowledge; (2) Intelligent Task Management; (3) Real-Time Analytics; (4) Mobile Functionality; and (5) Embedded Collaboration.

Centralized Knowledge

High employee turnover can be challenging for any company. Especially when business knowledge is distributed across a myriad of sources, spanning from binders full of training materials through email communications. Employees need to know how to manage their businesses, whether it’s opening the store, processing a refund or reporting a faulty scanner. Not only do they need to know how to run their businesses, they need to be able to quickly access the information they need to answer the questions or address situations they have not encountered before. Brands with high payroll leverage often rely on centralized knowledge to accelerate store associate onboarding and training with mobile access to the materials they need -- when they need it. Oftentimes, these brands observe incredible results, reducing time spent on administrative activities by 20%-42% Using centralized knowledge, brands are able to reduce onboarding times (and costs), which in turn decreases overall payroll costs..

Intelligent Task Management

It takes a lot of coordination to keep the lights on in a retail store environment. Not just literally, but figuratively as well. Inventory management, visual merchandising, resets and planograms, open and close procedures, launching new promotions and cash management activities - each of these tasks takes time away from selling activities. Stores need to standardize activities for maximum effectiveness and schedule resources for optimal productivity, to help employees get out of the back office or out from behind the cashwrap and into the aisles to provide superior service to the customer. Intelligent task management helps retailers increase sales and productivity through activity prioritization and resourcing. With daily suggested tasks, store closing checklists, reminders on that new promotion or product, store employees having a guide to ensure that the store is operating seamlessly. Companies are seeing increase in conversion rates from 15-39% and reduction of time managing tasks by 15-41% with the assistance of task management.

Real-Time Analytics

It’s impossible to address an issue if you don’t know it exists. Or even worse, if you don’t have the tools to identify the source of the problem quickly. Brands can address several drivers of payroll leverage with access to the right insights at the right time. For example, real-time insights to trends related to unit sales, dollar sales and footfalls can provide retail professionals with an understanding of high performing locations. With the ability to slice and dice data, retailers can investigate whether down or up trends in sales and traffic are a result of popular (or unpopular) merchandise, out of stock issues, store employee training, and promotional effectiveness.

Mobile Functionality

Nearly every customer that crosses the threshold into a retail store is carrying a smartphone. They have the benefit of the world’s largest shopping mall in their hands. They can compare pricing, research SKU information and sometimes even check stock levels. On the other hand, few store employees are empowered with mobile-based solutions. Without mobile apps, store employees are forced to go to the back office or behind the cash wrap to look up inventory quantities or research product details to aid them in selling. And as a result, consumer perception is suffering. For example, 44% of consumers feel they know more about products than store employees.

The lack of employee mobile apps also impacts the amount of time an employee can spend on the showroom floor selling. Manual and paper-based processes slows down administrative tasks, preventing employees from focusing on customer-facing activities to drive store sales.

Ensuring mobile access to store operations tools like inventory control, ordering and task management can positively influence productivity, and as a result, payroll leverage.

Embedded Collaboration

Although email can be efficient, important and relevant for some operations, coordinating marketing activities, merchandising initiatives and other projects can prove difficult, especially where there’s a lot of back and forth and dependencies. In the case of promotional resets, product launches, employee trainings, and more, simplified communications are ideal to support the rapid sharing of information across headquarters, stores and associates. Instead of one-to-many, embedded collaboration promotes communications across logical groupings, whether it’s the entire organization, stores located within a certain region, or the employees at a single location. The main benefit is that all of the information is a single place. There’s no need to reference binders, sticky notes or last month’s email for a procedural training update. In addition, employees are empowered to share their unique insights with their peers and managers. With information at their fingertips and the ability to access information anytime and anywhere, employee productivity is accelerated.

Salesforce for Store Operations

The good thing is that every brand can adopt they tools they need to optimize payroll leverage.

Salesforce for Store Operations helps retailers  accelerate employee productivity with task management, collaboration tools, and real-time performance monitoring. Salesforce solutions helps retailers get employees out of the back office by delivering them the information they need to do their jobs right to their phones. With mobile access to tasks, product information and availability, real-time communications and analytics, Store Operations from Salesforce has delivered an average increase of 33% productivity to our customers. And that goes direct to boosting the bottom-line. To watch Salesforce solutions for retail in action, please view this demo.

Visit here for more information regarding Salesforce solutions for retail: salesforce.com/retail