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HeadCount News Features

Podcast: Driving sales when store traffic is down

February 10, 2020|

Declining store traffic is often cited as the key reason why sales are down, but retail analytics expert and two-time author, Mark Ryski has a different take on it.

He says, retailers often don’t have a traffic problem, they have a shopper conversion problem. And he has the data to prove it.

Listen to the Podcast hosted by Judy Mottl , editor of Retail Customer Experience.

 

 

“Many retailers are squandering their precious store traffic.

If they put as much effort into converting the shoppers who are already in the store as they do trying to get traffic in the store in the first place, they would be far better off.”


Mark Ryski

Author, CEO & Founder HeadCount Corporation

Every retailer must be able to answer two questions:

(1) how many people visited the store?
(2) what percentage of the visitors made a purchase? Sales data captured by your POS system is vital data, but it only tells us about the sales outcomes and nothing about how the outcomes were generated. Retailers that run their stores using sales transaction counts to guide them have two serious operational blind spots – store traffic and shopper conversion insights eliminate them.

  1. Brick-and mortar-stores have a significant shopper conversion advantage over online retailers. This is a key strength of brick-and-mortar retailing – play to your strength. Remember: every shopper who crosses the threshold of your store has a high probability of being converted into a customer.
  2. If you want to get people to buy more, you need to understand why they don’t buy in the first place. Conduct simple exit surveys of non-buyers to understand purchase intent and to identify drivers of non-purchase. So much of conversion rate optimization is about executing the basics – having actual shopper insights to inform actions is critical.
  3. One of the biggest benefits of having store traffic data is to schedule store labor effectively. Tracking store visits by the hour enables retailers to perfectly align their staff resources to when people are visiting their store. Sales transaction counts are not a ‘good enough’ proxy for store traffic. To avoid under/over staffing, schedules should be driven by store traffic activity, not POS transaction counts.
  4. Shopper conversion measures store experience. Measuring “store experience” is another important area that store traffic can help with. If shopper conversion rates are low or sagging on certain days or day-parts, it means people are visiting but not buying – a telltale sign the store has an experience issue. Conversion rate sags show you where to look.
  5. Store traffic and shopper conversion provide powerful insights into true store performance that sales results alone cannot. Store performance is largely determined by sales results, but a sales-only view can mask the true performance of a store. By breaking sales results into the underlying sales drivers of store traffic, shopper conversion and average sale, the retailer will gain deeper insights into how stores are performing and better understand what they need to do to improve sales.
  6. Every retailer can improve conversion rates and deliver better financial results by focusing on the shoppers already in their stores. Conversion Rate Optimization is proven but largely untapped by the vast majority of brick-and-mortar retailers. In a retail world of systemic store visitation declines, CRO has never been more important – start now.

Store Closures Mask Retail as an Investment Hot Spot

Stories about store closures and bankruptcies mask the fact that retail is an active investment hot spot where cash flows, IPOs flourish, and opportunities boom. “When we see a dramatic reduction of stores it’s often a precursor of larger financial failure.” In other words, the retailer was poorly managed before deciding to close stores,” says Mark Ryski CEO of HeadCount. Hidden among all the store closings is a healthy, vibrant industry that is attracting huge amounts of investment capital. Read the article 

October 19, 2020|

Is It Best To Be On Retail’s Cutting Edge? Maybe Not.

Some of the most headline-grabbing retail technology is just the kind of stuff that retailers are hesitating to adopt. But robots, drones, beacons and facial recognition have thus far been adopted by fewer than 10 percent of retailers. “Retailers are wise to be cautious about investing in cutting edge technology,” says Mark Ryski, CEO of HeadCount Corporation. “However, at the same time, retailers also need to stay apprised of the latest technology advancements and carefully consider specifically how they might be leveraged to produce better store experiences for shoppers and improved business results for the retailer.” Read the article

October 3, 2020|

Is It Best To Be On Retail’s Cutting Edge? Maybe Not.

Some of the most headline-grabbing retail technology is just the kind of stuff that retailers are hesitating to adopt. But robots, drones, beacons and facial recognition have thus far been adopted by fewer than 10 percent of retailers. “Retailers are wise to be cautious about investing in cutting edge technology,” says Mark Ryski, CEO of HeadCount Corporation. “However, at the same time, retailers also need to stay apprised of the latest technology advancements and carefully consider specifically how they might be leveraged to produce better store experiences for shoppers and improved business results for the retailer.”  Read the article

October 3, 2020|

REI Sells Its Headquarters. Others Should Take Notice

REI Co-op has announced plans to sell its newly completed corporate campus in Bellevue, WA. Instead of the central location, the co-op will embrace a new HQ set-up of multiple satellite campuses. Mark Ryski, CEO of HeadCount Corporation, drove home the point that doing this — and doing it right — very well may be a necessity.”All companies need to find ways to cut expenses and operate their businesses — as drastic as this move by REI may seem, we’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the months to come,” wrote Mr. Ryski. “This is far from over.” Read the article

August 18, 2020|

Burlington banks on in-store shopping

According to the NRF, the hottest apparel retailers in terms of market share gains are TJX, Ross Stores and Burlington. It might be a coincidence, but these three retailers make little or no use of ecommerce. “While this move may seem counterintuitive in the connected world we live in today, for Burlington it just makes sense. The ‘treasure hunt’ category is one of the truly few concepts that simply doesn’t lend itself well to online shopping,” says Mark Ryski, CEO of retail analytics firm HeadCount Corp. Read the article

August 11, 2020|

Social distancing will merge with facial recognition

In Australia, facial recognition is being offered as an enhancement to support contact-free payments, temperature checks, mask-detection and surveillance. “Facial-recognition is a slippery slope, and retailers should be cautious about deploying this type of technology,” says Mark Ryski, Author, CEO & Founder of HeadCount Corporation. “While facial recognition may be helpful during the pandemic, there are other methods for ensuring a safe store environment that don’t rely on facial recognition technology. The pandemic has most certainly accelerated the acceptance of all sorts of new processes and protocols, but I don’t believe the benefits outweigh the potential risks with facial recognition.” Read the article

August 11, 2020|

Should Walmart Reinstate In-Store Returns During A Pandemic?

Although public health officials say it’s unlikely COVID-19 infections can be spread by surfaces or physical objects, retailers are being cautious about how they handle returned merchandise. “This is a tricky issue that retailers are going to be grappling with for the foreseeable future. No doubt consumers have become accustomed to 100% returns, no questions asked, for a long time. However, the pandemic has rightly changed that. Retailers have no way of knowing if returned merchandise has been contaminated, and so limiting returns is reasonable,” says Mark Ryski, Founder and CEO, HeadCount Corporation.  Read the article

August 10, 2020|

Will The Retail Workforce Ever Return To Pre-Pandemic Levels?

The pandemic has hastened the evolution from analog to digital across all types of businesses, and retail is no different. How long will it take for retail employment to return to pre-pandemic levels — if it ever does — and what that means to recruitment and career paths in retail in the years ahead. “The lingering effects of the pandemic will be felt for years as the industry recalibrates. Not only will there be fewer employment opportunities in general (notwithstanding pockets of growth), but working in retail — especially frontline — has become less desirable,” says Mark Ryski, Founder, CEO and Author, HeadCount Corp.  Read the article

July 27, 2020|

How Macy’s Can Make Christmas Joyful This Year

Macy’s is looking into spreading holiday promotions, extending hours and playing up curbside pickup to better manage crowds this upcoming holiday season. Seasonal success, however, may be in large part out of retailers’ hands this year. “The holiday season will be entirely contingent upon the pandemic,” says Mark Ryski, CEO of Headcount Corporation. “If the economy continues to lurch forward and progress is being made on a vaccine or treatments, then I would expect to see a strong holiday season. However, if the virus spread continues unabated and retailers are forced to re-close some locations, then I would expect a weak holiday season.” Read the article

July 16, 2020|

For Restaurants, Outdoor Dining Merely A Stopgap

As cities begin to open back up in the U.S., social distancing requirements remain in effect in hopes of preventing a rebound of COVID-19 infections. One architect recently created an outdoor dining template for restaurants to make use of the limited street and sidewalk space in New York City.” Outdoor dining will help create more capacity for those restaurants that have the time and money to create suitable outdoor eating space, but it’s not a panacea,” says Mark Ryski, CEO of Headcount Corporation.  Read the article

June 3, 2020|

Should Jewelers Require Consumers to Wear Masks?

In some jurisdictions, wearing masks is now mandatory when in public. In others, it isn’t. Some jewelers have been “strongly encouraging” or “politely asking” customers to wear masks. The implication is clear: They want customers to wear them. They don’t want to force them to. “Retailers have an obligation to provide a safe environment for the employees and shoppers, regardless of how politically incorrect that might be. Countries that have had the best results in minimizing spread, such as South Korea, have adopted face masks en masse. If some customers don’t feel comfortable with or don’t agree with face masks, they are free to shop at other stores,” says Mark Ryski, Author, CEO & Founder of HeadCount Corp. Read the article

May 12, 2020|

L.L.Bean CEO Calls On Federal Government To Assist Middle-Market Retailers

Middle-market retailers are under particularly intense pressure from the COVID-19 outbreak — they lack the resources that larger retailers can tap to survive the crisis, and they may not qualify for the same relief being made available to smaller companies. “Virtually every business is being affected by the crisis and can make a strong case for federal government support,” says Mark Ryski, Founder and CEO of HeadCount Corporation. “But the federal government is so preoccupied with life-saving efforts, I just don’t think middle-market retailers are going to hit high on the priority list,” says Mark Ryski, Author, CEO & Founder of HeadCount Corp.  Read the article

April 1, 2020|
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