Retail Performance Enablement: 3 Ways to Increase Floor Sales

There’s one question on the minds of retail executives as recession looms: How can businesses increase floor sales as consumer spending tightens? Research shows that today’s consumers are looking for value-aligned, high-touch shopping experiences at brick and mortar retailers and, under the right conditions, will spend more in stores than online.

The problem is, many sales floors have become ghostly and depleted as organizations have decreased average head count per store by 10% in cost-cutting measures to compete with e-tailers. Per HBR, by neglecting frontline workforce, retailers are squandering their most potent weapon for sales and revenue. 

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How can retailers right the ship to tackle economic headwinds and increase floor sales? More specifically, how can retailers maximize the efficiency of every floor associate on a sparser floor? Let’s take a look at 3 ways market-leading retailers are using sales enablement and performance enablement to optimize their frontline workforce to boost productivity. 

1. Personalize incentives, visualize progress, and provide immediate actions for meeting goals

It’s no wonder frontline sales productivity lags, considering the factors contributing to frontline motivation are often overlooked. To get the most out of sales reps, companies need to understand and invest in what motivates their performance, especially in this historically tight labor market. 

Much has been written about frontline competition from the gig economy. Rather than hand wringing endlessly about losing out to the “Uberized” economy, smart retailers are “gigifying” their own operations— that is, offering the benefits of gig work to their frontline workers. 

A crucial strategy for this is personalizing incentives. Research shows the number one factor driving people off of the sales floor is flexibility. Folks want to be able to set their own goals and work towards them. Offering nominal flexibility around sales and development — creating some space for the frontline to define their goals — is the most basic version of this strategy, and of limited efficacy. 

The challenge is not in having the frontline name their goals, but continuously supporting them in meeting those goals. That’s where performance enablement comes in.

Market leading retailers are not just paying lip service to flexibility and personalization. They’re using performance enablement to harness the power of data to drive incentive completion in real time with right person, right time, right action triggers. Performance enablement empowers the frontline to actually meet their goals by telling them exactly what they need to do and keeping them motivated with progress visualizations and incremental recognition. 

When the frontline knows exactly what to do and when, floor sales increase exponentially. 

2. Incentivize upskilling and continuous learning to build the most competitive sales force

Now that we understand what’s motivating the frontline, we can tackle what’s motivating consumers and optimize for their behaviors and preferences. Depth of product knowledge has been shown to be a key element of customer experience. It makes intuitive sense that reps who know what they’re selling well, sell more. The way to cultivate this crucial knowledge is through training and upskilling

But research shows that nearly one-third of retail store associates receive no formal training. This deficiency takes away the biggest advantage traditional stores have over e-tailers, according to HBR: a live person who a person can talk with face-to-face. 

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To create a better customer experience to increase floor sales, retailers must incentivize upskilling and continuous learning to build the most competitive sales force. This goes far beyond traditional LMS or LXP systems, which use limited data to lead associates through predetermined learning goals which are not tied to sales KPIs. 

To increase floor sales, market leaders are using performance enablement which integrates performance data with learning and upskilling so every sales associate gets exactly the right learning or upskilling action to serve the overall sales KPI. This is not learning for its own sake but genuine performance optimization which uses learning and upskilling to drive real, measurable results. 

But it’s not as ruthless as it may sound— Rallyware’s performance enablement technology uses behavioral science to make upskilling and training fun with gamified badges, friendly competition via leaderboards, and high-frequency recognition and reward. The results are profound not just for sales productivity but engagement; members of distributed workforces using Rallyware go as far as to say they’re “addicted” to learning!

3. Enhance communications between the HQ, store managers and associates

We’ve covered frontline motivation and consumer motivation as it relates to increasing floor sales. Now let’s look at the pivotal third component— management. 

Where does management — HQ and store managers — come in when it comes to sales productivity? As the engineers of the sales strategy and stewards of organizational morale, the primary need for HQ and store managers is seamless communication; that is, making sure the frontline is aligned and ready to deliver on KPIs. 

But communication between levels of the retail organization is often dispersed and disorganized. This is a huge pain point and inefficiency for retailers looking to increase their floor sales. 

Management’s job is to communicate not just the “what” to its frontline, but the “how” and “why.” We’ve covered how frontline motivation is key to driving floor sales. Per Deloitte’s research, HQ and store managers must constantly engage and reinforce the frontline’s commitment to meeting KPIs by drawing a clear link between daily work and the retailer’s overall success. That means communicating consistently and seamlessly. 

The most competitive retailers are using performance enablement to do just that. 

Rallyware’s communication solution, part of its performance enablement platform, simplifies and streamlines communication between all levels of the retail organization by housing all relevant information in one place, ensuring continuity and relevance. Robust metrics and analytics are shared across teams, creating the visibility and alignment necessary to increase floor sales. 

To see how Rallyware’s performance enablement platform can transform floor sales for your retail organization, request a demo here