I don’t recall hearing anyone at school say, “When I grow up, I want to run a supermarket”, however, for those lucky enough to find their way into this amazing industry, the experiences and rewards are great. Retail is a proper ‘people industry’ where teamwork is everything and the measurement of a good Store Manager can be summed up with two questions – How many people has he developed through the business? And how well does the store run when he’s not there? – simple questions to ask, but harder than you think to answer!
In the UK, the retail industry employs almost 3 million people and is responsible for 5% of total GDP, with a third of all consumer spending going to retail in some shape or form. It is, however, an industry under severe pressure with many retailers finding themselves in an uncomfortable position as margins are squeezed between weakening demand and rising costs. In June 2019 wages hit an 11-year high and business rates, commodity prices and pensions also remain high. Store closures, business failures and job losses have all continued as online retail continues to drive growth and competition in the sector, with many leading retailers having to reformat their retail estates to reflect this growth and improve profitability. For retailers unable to reduce their cost base, we have seen a trend in CVAs and witnessed the emergence of other approaches to reducing rents, such as consensual reductions, dramatic restructuring and even mergers and acquisitions. Even though the fundamentals of the UK consumer economy remain strong, uncertainty over when and how the UK will leave the EU continues to cast a shadow over UK retail and will do much to determine the sector’s success in the short term at least [Source: Delolitte]
The changing and challenging retail landscape retailers finds themselves in presents Store Managers with a raft of challenges. Store teams are looking for a more engaging work experience, with extra involvement and ownership in the business, whilst customers want a much richer, connected shopping experience, interacting with well informed, enthusiastic and knowledgeable store staff.
Updating store teams on corporate activities, delegating tasks, implementing new procedures, checking compliance, educating team members, working out staffing schedules, printing shelf edge tickets are just a few of the things Store Managers deal with on a daily basis, yet in many cases they are forced to waste as much as a third of their time doing so, when all of these activities can be simplified and in many cases, automated. Instead of spending time guiding, coaching and leading store teams to best serve their customers, many Managers are tied up in back offices with undue amounts of administrative paperwork to complete.
Store Managers and their teams deserve better – they require more efficient and productive tools to run smooth operations, which is where Metro comes in.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing Store Managers is a lack of tools and processes to communicate effectively with teams and colleagues across the business. With email and company intranets proven to be one of the biggest contributors to wasting time, Managers need to be able to communicate and engage with employees from the moment they are hired, keeping them informed, involved and connected from Day 1. Employees today want to work in a culture that makes them feel part of a team – if retailers get it right, staff turnover falls and job satisfaction increases, all adding up to superb service, higher standards, better morale and ultimately, bigger profits.
Another challenge and contributor to inconsistency is the use of paper-based checklists and forms. Introduced decades ago as a way of demonstrating compliance and due diligence, checklists and tick forms are only as good as the accuracy (or should that be the honesty?!) of the people completing them, with many in our experience being completed retrospectively or not even at all. Retail today requires mobile, digital processes that not only drive positive behaviours and best practice but also allow compliance to be monitored visually across the retail estate. Conducting store audits and daily checks should provide your business with actionable insights into how your stores are operating. If all that information is locked away on forms and tick boxes in back offices their value is lost. Head office and field teams have no way of knowing where best to invest their time and help those stores that need attention the most.
To find out how Metro can help your Store Managers address the challenges they face today, get in touch for a personalised demonstration.