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Five Ways to Maximize Retail Performance with Stronger Store Communication

Business success relies on effective communication. It influences everything from productive internal meetings and discussion making, to corporate reputation with external audiences, to the ability of a company to ensure internal alignment in reaching its organizational goals.

For the brick & mortar retail industry, communication between management in HQ and those at the store level is even more critical. It influences compliance levels, the strength of employee engagement, the vibrancy of the in-store customer experience, and overall store performance. It also allows the big ideas and vision from the top to make their way to store teams, ensuring directives are effectively communicated, executed, and followed.

Far from the old days when organizational communication was one-way, aligning and strengthening retail teams now requires the right tools and processes to ensure effective communication between management in HQ and those frontline employees who have a unique and powerful local point of view. The visibility management can gain into store operations with the right tools also provides them with a powerful understanding of local insights that can have a big impact in strengthening and localizing go-to-market strategies.

It’s no surprise then that when organizational communication is lacking in retail, the implications are significant. From frustrated store employees to missed or misinterpreted planograms, compliance becomes difficult to achieve and stores fail to reach their potential. Revenue is impacted, and both merchandising and marketing execution run the risk of not resonating with local customers.

As retailers navigate through our post-pandemic normal and seek strategies to improve store operations and localize go to-market-strategies, priority should be given to tools that strengthen team communication in a way that is required for success in today’s world. Retailers that do so will benefit in five important ways:

1. Plan with intelligence. Management teams that have full visibility into their stores can take an informed approach to strategizing, planning, and executing at the local level. Having accurate store-specific information, local data, and a dedicated communication platform allows retail leaders to understand why and how each store is unique – including everything from layout, to fixtures, to inventory and customer behaviour. With those insights, brand leaders can allocate a messaging hierarchy that they can be confident will resonate locally, while generating and communicating detailed plans quicker.
2. Execute with precision. A strategic use of physical retail space is critical for gaining and maintaining a competitive edge, and retail leaders rely on stores to bring that strategy and vision to life. With OR, brand leaders can take that vision and provide clear direction to stores for execution, while ensuring compliance. With the recent introduction of OR’s photo compliance feature, achieving compliance has never been easier - for both management and employees on the floor.
3. Foster a culture of brand ambassadors. Employees that have clear direction from management and understand what is expected of them tend to be more engaged than those that don’t, and engaged employees are significantly more likely to prioritize meaningful customer engagement which can lead to brand loyalty. Empowering the front line begins with communication and creating an environment of trust, transparency, and clarity of expectations. Optimizing retail operations begins with optimizing employee engagement.
4. Increase productivity. Processes and tools that rely on multiple platforms to communicate with stores can be inefficient and time consuming as store employees sort through messages, prioritize direction, and communicate back to management when tasks have been completed. With OR, messages and direction are clear, streamlined, and timely which can lead to greater productivity, a reduction in non-sellable hours, and stronger store performance.
5. Maximize the customer experience. Shopping habits have changed since the pandemic, with most customers now spending less time in store than pre-pandemic – a shift that retailers are seeing become permanent as many parts of the economy reopen. As retailers and store employees continue to navigate changes in consumer behaviour and evolve how best to provide a personalized and impactful customer experience – with the only customer interaction often being curbside – ensuring employees are armed with up-to-date messaging and information means they can deliver an impactful experience that keeps customers coming back.

Having the right tools in place for retail communication with stores has the power to propel an organization forward by aligning teams in locally executing a brand vision. Strengthened organizational communication is therefore becoming a cornerstone of retail strategy, particularly as the localization of visual merchandising and strong compliance rates are becoming table stakes for competitive brick and mortar retail.

OR offers retailers a powerful platform that drives visibility, engagement, and compliance, while integrating with internal employee management systems and third-party apps (such as SAP and Oracle) to streamline data and insights - capturing them in one place along with planograms, store audit information, and behavior insights such as shopper traffic patterns and customer engagement. By prioritizing local communication, management teams and those at the store level are empowered with critical information – from visual merchandising to health and safety measures – that allows them to be nimble, agile, and able to deliver a superior and localized customer experience.

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