With last year’s Black Friday generating a 10% increase in footfall compared to previous years, research from retail experts Gekko shows that a lack of staff could cause retailers a big headache for the Christmas shopping period.
A staggering 50% of shoppers, surveyed by Gekko, said that there is often not enough staff on the shop floor to help them when making a purchase decision. There is also concern over the manner of in-store staff, with over half (52%) of shoppers complaining that they are too pushy about making a sale.
Despite the growth of online sales, latest figures from Gekko show that nearly three quarters (74.2%) of shoppers benefit from the touch, feel and physical comparison of products when making purchase decisions. A quarter (26.35%) of shoppers buy in-store when they are purchasing items they need to think about and choose carefully and over half (56.8%) head in-store for advice when making a considered purchase.
Sarah Mandeville, recruitment manager at Gekko believes that staff hold the key to converting sales during the peak-time rush. She said: “Whether they are full-time or temporary over the peak period, retail staff must demonstrate passion for the product and the ability to make a positive impression on shoppers. In-store is a vital touch-point for consumers, and retailers need to ensure that their staff are trained to maximise every opportunity. In a competitive landscape, which is heightened during peak, a retailer will only get one chance with the consumer.”
To manage the peak-period, Ms Mandeville has provided five important action points for retailers to get the most out of their staff:
1. Allow time for training - Speed is often important when training temporary staff in the run-up to Christmas. However, staff will be more motivated and likely to convert more sales if they are immersed in the role. Take time to build your team’s knowledge and understanding of the brand, company background and product range. In an omnichannel environment, where shoppers can obtain product information using their smartphone, your brand ambassadors must know more than just the product they are selling.
2. Ongoing support — Training shouldn’t just be delivered at the beginning of the peak-period. Once the staff are in place, ongoing revision, recaps and coaching should be continued to keep the team sharp on sales messaging and promotions.
3. Create a team environment — staff may not all work on the same days or in the same locations. Using group chat or social tools such as Facebook or Google Hangouts can help to communicate simultaneously and build communities. To lead the team environment, allocate a mentor as a point of contact to motivate and be contacted at any time.
4. Don’t just motivate with money — Monetary incentives can be short-lived. To motivate the team, it’s worth creating friendly competition with leader boards and prizes. This can be a fun way to build a positive attitude among the workforce.
5. Treat everyone the same - To make employees feel part of the team, employers need to treat temporary staff as though they are full-time employees. Putting effort into training and making temporary staff feel part of a larger team can be a motivating factor for staff in itself.