Revisiting Non-Selling Tasks

Back to basics. It's the philosophy of any successful retailer. Sure, they look at cutting edge technology and innovative practices, but smart retailers also return to the basics. Smart retailers understand the need for a solid foundation before tackling complex issues. They've witnessed substantial improvements by ensuring fundamental principles were in place. And they know it's difficult to reinvent the wheel. Returning to the basics makes sense particularly in the case of non-selling tasks. I'm sure you're aware of what needs to be done, but can you say for certain they are getting done? Even the most astute retailers need reminders that it's time to revisit the basics. Because we've all overlooked the simple solutions at some point, sometimes at the loss of significant results.

Check List
When was the last time you examined the fundamentals of your non-selling tasks? Take a look at the tasks and processes currently utilized for the following activities:
  • Stocking
  • Price changes
  • Merchandise maintenance, including
  • cleaning and straightening
  • Re-merchandising and layout changes
  • Scheduling
  • Cash reconciliation
  • Payroll
  • Inventory management within the store, including generating orders and updating unit inventory
  • Communication

As you revisit the fundamental elements of non­selling tasks, keep in mind industry performance indicators:
  • Apparel price changes (units per hour): 350+
  • Accessories and domestics price changes (units per hour): 150+
  • Remerchandising / floor moves (units per hour): 250+
  • Office support as a percentage of total store labor hours: 4%

You'll see a marked improvement in operations and the bottom line upon re-examining and enhancing non-selling tasks. Benefits include:
  • Reduced labor expenses
  • Additional selling time
  • Increase revenues

Case in Point
A $15 billion department store chain client improved its non-selling tasks by returning to the basics. The retailer streamlined existing activities, eliminated duplicate tasks, and implemented best practices in several non-selling areas, including receiving, replenishment, recovery, loss prevention, service desk and more. The retailer achieved approximately $20 million in recurring annual operating savings. In addition, substantial improvements were seen in sales, customer satisfaction and productivity.

For more information on this topic contact Pat Fitzpatrick at Atlanta Retail Consulting Inc