WORKFORCE

Study: How to boost store conversion and traffic

BY CSA STAFF

Retailers are always asking how they can increase the numbers of shoppers who visit and buy goods at their stores.

According to a study from store traffic and conversion measurement provider HeadCount, “In-store Traffic and Conversion Study: Retailers Find Keys to Impressive ROI,” the answer lies in combining data-driven coaching with analytics.

HeadCount conducted seven discrete experiments spanning four retail verticals and more than 600 stores to measure the effect of data-driven coaching of store managers and the application of analytics on store traffic and conversion. Managers were provided with customer data and given specific instructions on how to interpret and apply the data to their store activities. In particular, researchers focused on traffic productivity, or sales generated per traffic count.

Aggregate results across all seven experiments showed the test group had a net sales productivity improvement of 537 basis points compared to the control group. That is equivalent to a $0.67 sales gain on every traffic count logged.

Across the four individual retail verticals that were included in the study, housewares had the highest net sales productivity improvement of 772 basis points, or $.1.01 sales gain per traffic count. Following were consumer electronics (652/$0.81), interactive media (441/$0.56) and apparel (210/$0.26).

Researchers also tested a short-form daily traffic and conversion scorecard which laid out the previous day’s traffic and conversion trends by hour, indicating where loss was occurring. The scorecard was given to store managers every day at 9 a.m. Test managers reported this “push” reporting was much more convenient than pulling data from the Web or gaining access to it via a portal, making the scorecards much more likely to be reviewed.

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C-SUITE

Gap exec moving over to specialty athletic retailer

BY Marianne Wilson

A store development executive from Gap Inc. has been tapped to head up real estate for Foot Locker.

Foot Locker announced the appointment of Scott Martin as senior VP – real estate, effective June 13. Martin succeeds Jeffrey Berk, who retired in April after almost 20 years with the company.

Martin, who will be responsible for the development and implementation of the company's global real estate strategy, joins Foot Locker from Gap, where he has worked since 2014 as VP, store development, Asia Pacific. He previously held senior strategy and store development roles at other large retailers including Starbucks Coffee, Home Depot, and Sears Holdings.

"Through our remodel and vendor partnership programs, each of our banners has created a strong in-store experience designed especially for that banner's core customer," said Richard Johnson, chairman of the board and CEO of Foot Locker. "We are pleased that Scott is joining us and bringing his strong experience at similar leading global companies as we continue to execute our existing real estate strategies and lay the groundwork for the next generation of exciting customer experiences across all of our channels."

Foot Locker, as of April 30, 2016, operated 3,396 stores in 23 countries in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

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FINANCE

Big Lots makes big splash with profit growth, healthy sales

BY CSA STAFF

Another value retailer has posted a stellar first quarter, outshining traditional department stores and many specialty stores. Big Lots Inc. surpassed Wall Street expectations with net income and revenue performance that one major presidential candidate might term “huge.”

The discounter reported net income of $38.66 million, a 20% gain from $32.31 million the same quarter a year earlier, or 82 cents a share (excluding some items), topping the 70 cents projected by analysts. Big Lots also raised its annual forecast for earnings to as much as $3.50 a share. It had previously targeted no more than $3.35.

Net sales rose a better-than-expected 2% to $1.31 billion from $1.28 billion. Same-store sales increased 3%, the ninth consecutive quarterly increase.

“I'm very pleased with our first quarter results,” said David Campisi, CEO and president of Big Lots. “First quarter comps increased for the ninth consecutive quarter and were at the high end of our guidance range. Jennifer (Big Lots’ core customer persona) continues to respond positively to our strategic focus on ownable and winnable merchandise categories, improved merchandise presentations and more consistent in-store execution.”

Big Lots forecast same store sales growth from flat to 2% in the second quarter and low single digits for the full fiscal year. The retailer also expects full-year total sales to be up slightly.

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