Poorly performing stores are quite the conundrum for retailers these days.

We talk to a lot of retailers, and we've learned that poorly performing stores are a real problem because they decrease the overall standard across the entire store network. 

So what to do?

Shut them down, like Starbucks and M&S plan to, or help them get it together and bring up their sales?

Shuttering stores that consistently bring in less revenue may help a retailer reinvent itself and focus on new concept stores.

But before putting underperforming stores out of their misery, consider this.

Giving struggling stores a helping hand can improve customer experience, conversion rate and sales across the entire store network.

That's because a retailer may not have given much thought to the reasons why stores perform poorly. Things like less foot traffic and a location in the middle of nowhere are the most obvious culprits.

But what about a lack of support?

Any store can shine if given the chance.

Here are 4 ways retailers can make that happen.

1) Make store visits to poorly performing stores a priority for area managers.

Correcting execution errors. Training staff on sales and customer service skills. Sharing best practices.

These are all things that should happen during a store visit. If an area manager is focusing their limited time on visiting the highest performing stores, poor performers are massively disadvantaged.

To find out if this could be a reason some of your stores are struggling, cross-reference the number of store visits made to a store with sales.

Notice a correlation between fewer visits and less sales? That means there's also a correlation between fewer visits and a lack of store compliance.

Issues are not being resolved, and this drags down sales.

To fix this, realign your area managers' priorities to visit poor performers more frequently.

2) Foster a sense of community between stores to empower, motivate and increase productivity.

Ask anyone who's ever come close to failing maths class - simply working harder and piling on the pressure is incredibly demotivating if you don't understand the material to begin with.

Sometimes, help from a peer who's been there can make a world of difference.

Every sales associate is sitting on a goldmine of knowledge.

They've seen it all - from the best way to handle difficult customer situations to setting up planograms faster.

Sharing these best practices between stores creates a sense of community. Feeling connected to a supportive community is empowering and motivating.

A motivated employee is a happy employee. Turns out, a happy employee is also a more productive employee.

A study by the University of Warwick confirms this: happy employees are 12% more productive than their gloomier peers.

3) Support flawless execution on visual merchandising, operational and promotional tasks by making them a breeze for store teams.

Daily tasks contribute to the look and feel of a store.

When the look and feel of a store doesn't measure up to customer expectations, customers don't buy.

Poor execution on daily tasks is inevitable if store teams don't receive the support they need from HQ. That's because a store team's main priority is helping shoppers, which leaves little time for anything else.

To avoid losing sales because the look and feel of the store is off, retailers need to make it quick and easy for store teams to execute tasks perfectly.

A few questions retailers can ask themselves to determine if they're giving stores the necessary support are:

  • How are instructions sent to stores? Could they be confusing to overloaded employees?
  • How do store teams ask for clarification on instructions or report missing or damaged POS material? How quickly do they get a response? How quickly are issues resolved?

4) Give the store manager extra support to turn things around.

The weight of poor performance will always fall on the store manager's shoulders.

A lack of training on how to coach and manage sales associates could be a reason sales are down. To rectify this, store managers will need extra support.

Help the store manager, and help the entire store team.

And if there's progress, or lack thereof, store managers need to know so they can address it.

You can't improve what you can't measure.

The easiest way to measure is to give store managers frequent updates on store KPIs like in-store conversion rate, average transaction value and basket size. Now they'll be able to correlate the store team's activities to tangible results.

Give every store the tools they'll need to succeed, and watch performance improve. See how YOOBIC can help your stores perform their best!

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