PETA_120114_COVER

Hitting a Retail Home Run

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While most of those reading this are thinking about the hot weather, your air conditioning bills, family vacations and possibly the upcoming school year; my crazy mind is far, far away from any of those thoughts.

My mind is firmly focused on two things: The unofficial start of the holiday shopping season is only 150 days away; and how is “my” baseball team going to finish the rest of the season. Two things many of you may have no thoughts about right now.

However, maybe you should, at least the first one.

Baseball is still our country’s national pastime. And yes, I am fully aware of the NFL, and its legions of fans, including myself. But, that is a bit away and we have zero control over that, as opposed to the upcoming shopping season.

Baseball has many things that are quite similar to our pet retail businesses, such as the importance of statistics. Baseball has: RBI’s, runs batted in; AVG, usually a player’s batting average; ERA, earned run average; OBP on base percentage and many more.

When managing a pet retail operation, there are also numerous important statistics to watch and manage. What is the average ring at your “register,” or it may be known as the average “bill,” or average total? Let’s call this ATP, average total purchase, since many, if not most, are using a computer devise to “ring up” the customer.

Let’s call the average number of items purchased, ATI, average total items. Then we have stats related to store traffic, ANC, average number of customers, which is simply counting how many people enter your store on a specific day or time period.

What I covered above is just the tip of the iceberg. There are way too many stats for me to list and describe them here. If you have a POS, or point of sale, system, which I strongly suggest, then you may already be automatically getting these statistics on a regular basis from your system. Good for you. However, I sadly already know many of you don’t have such a system, but need to get and manage this vital information.

Before I get into how to increase certain statistics in your stores, let me just say this, even in the midst of the hot summer, it is never a bad time for a “spring cleanup/makeover” for your business. Wherever you are, please take a quick trip to your largest chain of a supermarket, not as a consumer, but rather as a competitor and as a merchandiser. It is never a bad time to get a reminder how they merchandise their stores to optimize the consumer’s actions and profit of their store.

Now that you are back in your store ask, where are your consumables? In another words, where are your eggs, milk and cheese? Is it too easy and quick for your customers to grab a bag of pet food and checkout? Why aren’t you making them walk through other parts of your supplies?

Let’s address the ATP and the ATI in your stores. What products are displayed in the front of your store near the checkout?  Are they heavy, bulky or high priced?  Or are they simple, small, and inexpensive? Remember, the supermarket has their gum, candy and other small less expensive items right next to their checkout to increase their ATP and ATI’s. Why aren’t you?

And let us never forget to always, and I mean always, have your staff trained to greet every customer who comes into your store. There are numerous consumer studies that show and prove that when a consumer has been greeted once they enter a retail store they are much more likely to make a purchase than someone who is not greeted.

Is the entrance in your store open, customer friendly and not difficult to get around?

Take a look at your store from an outsider’s point-of-view, or get a friend to do it for you. Large retailers change the merchandising in their store all the time. A customer is not going to stop buying from you because items are in a different place, but may due to many other issues. So start managing those stats that matter and compare them to last month and last year to see where you’re headed.

- Howard London

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