Earlier this week, Johnston & Murphy, a luxury American shoe brand, was featured in STORES Magazine profile on the company’s success with boosting sales and service through leveraging ShopperTrak’s analytics.
Read the original article below to see how Johnston & Murphy used retail analytics to not only increase conversion rate (sales), but to offer better customer service by improving of scheduling processes.
For additional insight into Johnston & Murphy’s adoption of ShopperTrak’s People Counting & Conversion solution, watch ShopperTrak’s interview with Executive Vice President of Retail and eCommerce, Danny Ewoldsen.
William F. Kendy | May 17, 2016
This article was published in the May 2016 issue of STORES Magazine.
Shoe and apparel company boosts service and sales through improved staff scheduling
Getting qualified customers to walk into a bricks-and-mortar store is challenging. Getting them to purchase something is even more difficult.
Inventory selection, merchandising, pricing and providing quality customer assistance compound the issue. Then there is the task of keeping track of what works, what doesn’t and what needs to be changed to make everything better.
One of the stickier areas for retailers is effectively determining and projecting customer shopping volume and patterns. Understanding the patterns of shopper traffic allows a retailer to schedule staff for optimum results. If a store doesn’t have the proper number of sales associates on the floor, especially at peak times, frustrated customers leave — and spend their money elsewhere.
Additional goals include turning more browsers into buyers and increasing the average purchase amount.Long ago, gathering that data was referred to as “click-it and ticket.” Retailers kept track of every customer who entered the store (click) and then added up all the cash register receipts (ticket) to find out how many customers visited, how many bought and what was the average gross revenue per sale.
Now the process is all high-tech.
Johnston & Murphy, founded in 1850, provides high-quality shoes and other products for men and women; the company, based in Nashville, Tenn., has provided footwear for every U.S. president since Millard Fillmore. Johnston & Murphy has nearly 170 retail stores and factory outlets in the United States and Canada, and its customers have high standards for service and are willing to pay for quality.
“We are blessed with great customers who are smart, educated, successful and down to earth,” says Danny Ewoldsen, executive vice president of retail and e-commerce. “Our customers have plenty of money, but what they don’t have is time. That means when we see them, we need to be ready.”
In addition to offering quality products, the company is passionate about customer service and delivering results in the field. To that end, Johnston & Murphy is committed to the training and development of sales professionals.
“An interaction with a sales professional is inevitable and we are 100-percent committed to making it a great experience,” Ewoldsen says. “Our people do a tremendous job. [They] are the face of our brand and impact our level of success every day.”
Store associates were generally delivering fine service to customers. But after visiting stores during peak periods, Ewoldsen found that they weren’t able to get to all of the customers in order to optimize sales opportunities. Feeling that the company had a service opportunity related to a scheduling opportunity, Johnston & Murphy engaged retail analytics firm ShopperTrak to do a pilot project with the goals of offering better service through improved scheduling and realizing an increase in conversion while still maintaining average transaction size.
ShopperTrak specializes in helping medium-size and larger retailers learn how many customers are coming into the stores, when they come and where in the store those customers are shopping, along with other statistics.
“We help retailers match shopper traffic patterns with their work schedules so that they … have the proper number of associates scheduled,” says Kevin Kearns, ShopperTrak’s chief revenue officer.
The company provides a “shopper to associate ratio” that retailers can use to determine when they are understaffed or overstaffed, he says, and adjust their schedules to optimize customer experience.
“If stores staff appropriately, their conversion rates and transaction factors go up as well,” Kearns says.
The traffic pattern data also helps retailers measure the effectiveness of their merchandising efforts and gives them a handle on whether specific advertising efforts are increasing traffic through their doors.
“The job of retail marketing is to get shoppers into the store. Retailers spend millions of dollars on advertising, and they don’t really have a good way to measure whether it is successful or not,” Kearns says. “We can measure marketing effectiveness by capturing whether the number of shoppers went up after a retailer ran ads or campaigns.”
Another area that ShopperTrak concentrates on is conversion rates. According to Kearns, the number of bricks-and-mortar shoppers who actually buy something ranges between 15 and 35 percent. In a multiple-store operation, each store may differ depending on the market and shopper behavior.
ShopperTrak can measure each location to provide benchmark data that allows chains to better understand the relative performance of each store and initiate change. Individual store information can be overlaid with local market data that ShopperTrak has accumulated to reflect special local market scenarios.
“We can help management identify which stores are lagging behind their peers and also help them understand how their stores are performing in the context of the overall and specific markets,” says Kearns.
ShopperTrak provides market data by ZIP code, “and they can tell a retailer if that market is up or down, and match and evaluate store performance by those individual metrics on a daily basis.”
Ewoldsen says Johnston & Murphy realized how valuable the data was within a few weeks of the program’s commencement and was surprised by some of the results.
“We had some great early lessons,” he says. “First, in aggregate, we had more traffic than we thought, which was a very welcome surprise. Secondly, we found out that no two stores are completely alike.”
Based on the results of the pilot, Ewoldsen decided to roll out the process for the whole chain. The collaborate effort, which encompassed Johnston & Murphy’s retail operations team, store managers, sales associates and ShopperTrak, resulted in what Ewoldsen refers to as “tremendous progress.
“We were able to achieve our goals very quickly. Right off the bat, we saw a 10 percent increase in our conversion, and we’ve sustained that double-digit gain … . We actually saw gains in our average transaction sizes, as well,” he says.
“We couldn’t have done it without the ongoing support of the ShopperTrak team. They were instrumental in educating our team and creating buy-in across the enterprise: Countless conference calls, quarterly recaps and even participating in our annual sales meeting. They were clearly interested in seeing us succeed.”
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