December 7, 2017

Conversion rates and customer experience

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No one likes to admit it, but every retailer has a few stores that are…less than ideal. One might even call them bad stores. But getting them on the right track is easier than you think if you analyze your stores’ conversion rates and what they mean to your customer experience.

 

A recent article in Loss Prevention Magazine details the importance of traffic counting and conversion rate optimization in brick-and-mortar stores. Unlike online stores that can quickly adjust strategies and use customer data to increase conversion, brick-and-mortar stores have to plan more carefully. Author Mark Ryski emphasizes that retailers must make sure they have staff available to convert store traffic to sales and train all associates to recognize opportunities to convert.

 

That’s the tricky part, though. A store’s conversion rate or transaction amount per customer factors heavily into most retailers’ staffing and labor hours. Stores with low sales per customer face the prospect of corporate limiting their hours in an effort to manage the location’s profitability. Store employees then have to manage all the same tasks required to keep the store up and running, like stocking, cleaning, merchandising and currency management, but with fewer scheduled hours available.

 

With so much to manage, these stores can get messy or dirty or experience excessive out-of-stocks. Customer experience ultimately suffers the most because not only do shoppers get a negative impression in a poorly maintained store, but the understaffed team doesn’t have enough time to help customers locate items or make purchase decisions. A 2017 survey by TimeTrade revealed that nearly half (49 percent) of shoppers said they were “extremely likely” to make a purchase when helped by a knowledgeable employee. When a shopper can’t find the help they need, they leave with a bad experience, hurting sales and future loyalty, perpetuating the cycle of low conversion rates and poor customer experience.

 

In 2017, several major retailers have made moves to shift employee hours toward customer service and away from back office duties. Proceed carefully, however, when looking for tasks to cut. Currency management is an area from which labor can often be shifted to customer-facing duties, but typically not without implementing new technologies to speed processes like counting down registers, reconciliation, creating deposits and change orders, and reporting. Don’t put your funds at risk by cutting back-office labor without the proper tools in place.

 

Poor management of staffing and conversion rates is just one factor of store operations that can create bad stores in your enterprise. For even more to think about for 2018, give our eBook, Bad Stores and How to Fix Them, a read. Make sure a few bad stores don’t spoil the bunch when it comes to customer experience across your enterprise.

 

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Image: iStock