TECHNOLOGY

Cycle Gear in high gear with new traffic & conversion program

BY Marianne Wilson

Cycle Gear, a specialty retailer of motorcycle parts and apparel with 140 stores in 38 states, is on a roll, hitting its goals, growing and opening new locations. The company is demonstrating how to increase comp sales quarter after quarter — all while keeping wage budgets in line.

Just five months after launching HeadCount Corp.’s traffic and conversion program, Cycle Gear improved its revenue and bottom line. By the end of 2017, the retailer reported its best Black Friday to date. The HeadCount program included analytics, reporting, and coaching, with everything designed to optimize conversion rates in Cycle Gear stores using existing traffic.

“My wage budget has been well in line and yet I’m getting better results,” said Rodger O’Keefe, VP of store operations for Cycle Gear. “When I speak to my board of directors and they ask, ‘How’s traffic doing,? ’ I can now tell them we are doing the right thing. Our results show it.”

After just a few short months, Cycle Gear already sees the program as a great investment.

“Yet we are still in the infancy stage of understanding the true potential of HeadCount, and are still growing with the program,” O’Keefe said.

A critical shift in culture throughout the field team is what will solidify the program as a long-term solution and not a short-term fix, according to HeadCount. The shift is focusing on what store managers can control instead of worrying about traffic.

“I want the team to have as much data as possible for their ‘four wall,’ “ O’Keefe said. “It’s not about finger-wagging, it’s about how we can make it better.”

O’Keefe said he has seen several critical advantages of Cycle Gear’s new approach to conversion:
•Data now drives problem solving, not just measurement
•Critical shift in staff scheduling approach.  Cycle Gear went from automating staff scheduling against sales transactions to scheduling against foot traffic. This shift in approach, along with small tweaks in scheduling, resulted in a huge payoff across the board.
•Power in simplicity. How much can two minutes help? A lot. Cycle Gear has a new, simple ‘every day’ habit that is helping them drive their business forward.
•The importance of ‘Controlling Your Four Walls’: When a store is empowered to drill down to what they can control, overall it doesn’t matter if foot traffic is down or weather is bad, staffing factors and conversion rates can be adjusted to increase comp sales. Cycle Gear’s store and district Managers proactively use their new data to ‘control their four walls’ instead of worrying about traffic.
•Field managers are highly engaged. To ensure everyone understood the key concepts and were inspired by the new program, Cycle Gear launched the program at their store managers’ conference in Las Vegas.

O’Keefe said the teams were “blown away” by the launch.

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Tesco to shutter non-foods website

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Tesco Direct is shutting down.

Following a “detailed review,” U.K.-based supermarket giant Tesco is closing its non-food website, Tesco Direct, as of July 9. In addition, the company will also close the fulfillment center which handles the shipment and pick-up of Tesco Direct orders. All orders feature a range of general merchandise, including technology, homeware, clothing and toys.

The closure will impact approximately 500 employees.

Tesco blames the closure on a number of factors, including high costs for fulfillment and online marketing. Both issues have prevented the company from delivering a sustainable offer as a standalone non-food business, according to the company.

Despite multiple efforts, Tesco said “there is no route to profitability for this small, loss-making part of the business.”

Tesco already features some general merchandise items, such as toys, home and cookware, on its grocery e-commerce site, Tesco.com, and in-store. Tesco will continue building its non-foods offering online, a move that will give its shoppers one location to buy all merchandise, according to the company.

“We want to offer our customers the ability to buy groceries and non-food products in one place, and that’s why we are focusing our investment into one online platform,” said Charles Wilson, CEO of Tesco UK & ROI. “This decision has been a very difficult one to make, but it is an essential step towards establishing a more sustainable non-food offer and growing our business for the future.”

The company will continue to offer its Uniform Embroidery Service and Tesco Mobile products, two services that are currently available on Tesco Direct, on its online grocery home shopping site.

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Ahold Delhaize launches Peapod Digital Labs; names chief e-commerce officer

BY Antoinette Alexander

Ahold Delhaize USA has created a digital solutions company to enhance the online experience for its customers.

In a move that leverages its Peapod grocery business, the company has launched Peapod Digital Labs. The company appointed JJ Fleeman as president of the new entity and also as chief e-commerce officer of Ahold Delhaize USA.

Fleeman previously served as executive VP of commercial services and strategy for Retail Business Services, the chain’s recently formed support services company. Prior to that, he was chief strategy and development officer for Delhaize America, and played a key role as the global integration and program leader for Delhaize Group during the merger that created Ahold Delhaize. He also led the creation of a digital center of excellence at Delhaize America.

“We are excited about this new company, which will serve as the engine that powers our U.S. e-commerce and digital strategies,” said Kevin Holt, CEO for Ahold Delhaize USA. “The creation of Peapod Digital Labs and appointment of JJ to lead the new company and serve as chief e-commerce officer will enable us to sharpen our focus on leveraging the size and scale of the U.S. brands to provide customers with a personalized and effortless shopping experience.”

Peapod Digital Labs was created to accelerate growth of the digital and personalization capabilities for Ahold Delhaize USA’s local brands and serve as the innovation lab for the U.S. portfolio of companies, the retailer stated. It will also oversee the local online grocer brand Peapod, which is headquartered in Chicago. The company will build out Peapod Digital Labs in the coming months and expects to have the new organization fully operational by year end.

“Ahold Delhaize USA is creating Peapod Digital Labs, which will drive market-leading digital and e-commerce capabilities to power the company’s six local brands as they create best-in-class customer experiences,” said Fleeman. “We have a tremendous opportunity to build upon Peapod’s longstanding history of innovating to meet consumers’ needs to create an unparalleled omni-channel grocery experience. Whether it’s searching for inspiration on meals, shopping online or driving digital and personalization in-store, Peapod Digital Labs will enhance the digital experience to the benefit of U.S. consumers.”

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