Flagship Store, Covent Garden
In April 2012, a multinational consumer electronics and commercial electronics manufacturing company opened its flagship retail Store in Covent Garden. By January 2013 it was evident that the store was not performing as expected and key business objectives were not being achieved.
Being primarily an electronics manufacturer and distributor, the company recognised they lacked the retail knowledge required to turn the performance around.
Our brief was to support the original concept of the store (which was around the repositioning of the brand in terms of luxury and technology) by establishing robust & durable operational procedures (which could be used in any future store rollout programme both in the UK and Europe) and achieve a significant increase in the sales performance.
From the offset, it was evident that many of the basics were not in place:
- No defined retail strategy
- No defined KPIs
- No clearly communicated and understood Vision
- Poor retail operations processes and disciplines
- Poor recruitment, induction and training
- A team lacking leadership, focus, motivation & direction
- Disjointed Head Office support from central teams which did not understand the store operation
Strategy and People
Once the business objectives and KPI’s had been defined, we created a Vision for the store and drew up the Retail Strategy.
We made people the number one priority in the strategy, knowing that key to the achievement of all goals would be having a great team in place, a high performing team, made up of the right people, with the right attitude, right behaviours and right characteristics. An engaged team, which felt valued, listened to, empowered and trusted & which focused on the customer above all else.
We started by establishing the characteristics and behaviours required to deliver a great Customer Experience. The existing team were involved in this process and then, having worked together to establish ‘what good looked like’, they were each evaluated in-line with the agreed criteria.
Whilst the majority of the team came through, there were, inevitably, some people who did not. The reforming of the team was done with compassion & humility and was made much easier by the fact that the team had been involved in the process, understood what we were doing and why we were doing it.
The main people focused initiatives which we delivered included:
- An overhaul of the recruitment and induction process
- Training and Development Plans for every member of the Team
- Individual KPI Targets, with weekly reviews
- Structured and documented Monthly One to Ones, with the focus being on support to improve performance
- Customer Experience & sales training
- Reward and Recognition, catching people doing things right
- New Bonus Scheme, focusing on Customer Experience, achievement of personal development targets and Sales performance (Team & individual)
- Monthly Team Meetings, out of hours and off-site. Listening to what the Team had to say and proving them with the tools they requested to help them deliver their goals
As the figures below show, it was some 8 months before we saw the benefits of the work we were doing start to pay off in the financial performance.
There was, inevitably, some pain along the way. Many of the original team were not customer focused and on occasions, we did not recruit the right people. In all instances, these situations were managed quickly, effectively, with compassion and empathy.
Having identified elements in the Store which would enhance the Customer Experience (lighting, directional signage, point of sale, theatre etc), the company made the required investment. There was a real commitment at all levels to make this work.
So as to measure the team’s level of customer service, we created a Customer Experience Measurement Program (Mystery Shop). This was tailor made to measure progress against the specific behaviours and language identified as essential for the delivery of the store’s goals. These were conducted on a weekly basis and played a significant part in the development of the team and the level of Customer Experience in the Store.
Collaboration and Relationships
A key element of the work we did was to develop networking and building relationships at the Head Office. We encouraged Teams from Head Office to spend time in the store to better understand how it worked and the challenges faced, and these visits were reciprocated by the Store Team visiting Head Office and working with the teams there. A much greater level of trust was created, and as a result many ‘win win’ scenarios were established with all parties benefiting. The outcome was a much higher level of service support to the store.
Working with the buying and merchandising team, we oversaw the development of product ranges which were far more aligned with the strategy of driving average selling price. This tied in with one of the original goals for the Store of repositioning the brand in terms of luxury and technology.
We encouraged a more commercial approach from the Marketing team, focusing on key trading opportunities. This resulted in significant sales increases at times such as Christmas, Summer & Winter Sales and the launch of new models and collections.
Twelve months later, the store had made significant progress in helping to reposition the brand.
A high performing, motivated, engaged team are in place and has delivered the following results:
Nov. 2013 +26% v Lyr
Dec. 2013 +42% v Lyr
Jan. 2014 +93% v Lyr
Feb. 2014 +107% v Lyr
Apr. 2013 – Mar. 2014 + 30% v Lyr
It’s all about people
People are a businesses most valuable asset. People make the difference.
Key to all of the various elements coming together to deliver the overall Retail Strategy is the creation of a high performing Team, which shares the same Vision and Values, has the right attitude, behaviours and language and which is engaged, motivated and focused. Above all, they are focused on the customer, knowing what’s important to the customer and ensuring it is delivered at all times.
Great customer service starts with engaged, motivated and focused teams. How the team feel about the environment and culture they work in, the manner in which they are led and the way in which they are made to feel valued and trusted, will all be passed onto their customers.
All of the above came to bear in the store team. The customer centric culture we created played a major role in the success achieved, resulting in a considerable shift in mind set and culture and sales growth of +30% for the full year 2013-2014.