You are just about to finish the most exciting sales season of the year. Starting in early October and running through New Year’s Day, seasonally merchandised supermarkets can expect a lift in transaction count and, more importantly, an increase in the average sale amount.
Further, there is a spirit that prevails in most stores that in itself generates incremental sales—a spirit fed by happy employees and a well merchandised and nicely decorated store.
Additionally, the store’s productivity increases. Employees are happy when the store is busy; time moves faster and the part-timers get more hours. Employees will go out of their way to make sure customers get everything on their shopping list.
What if the prevailing spirit of the “holidays” lasted all year? I am not naive enough to think every month could mimic December, but I am optimistic enough to ask some “what-ifs?”
- What if…immediately after the Christmas holidays, senior management took time to recognize the effort extended by each of its store managers to deliver the lift in sales and the increase in productivity?
- What if…every store manager took the time to thank the employees for their contribution to a successful season, not overlooking the assistant manager who traditionally is a heavy lifter?
- What if…department heads knew their manager appreciated the hard work they put into planning and scheduling to deliver such a drastic increase in sales and productivity?
- What if…the team that keeps the store shelves fully stocked knew that their manager appreciated the extra load they carried?
- What if…all checkers understood the manager recognized their increase in sales per hour?
- What if…every holiday in the coming year were treated like Christmas?
- What if…for Valentine’s Day and Easter the focus was on how much you can sell and not on how much is left over? (By the way, most stores could sell, at minimum, five incremental cases of jelly beans. Red for Valentine’s Day, multicolored for Easter.)
- What if…Mother’s Day and Hispanic Mother’s Day (May 10) were merchandised to the nines? Flowers, both cut and potted, shown tastefully around the store. Memorial Day also draws floral shoppers.
- What if…July 4th were reflected in your stores merchandising with the intensity of the fireworks shows in most towns across the country?
By now you certainly get the drift. By planning, executing and recognizing your team’s efforts, you will get more sales when the day is done than you will if you don’t.
Your planning for the new year will begin to come together soon. Commit now to approach all seasonal sales events next year with the energy, passion and excitement you do the Christmas holiday season. Let the spirit live all year! What have you got to lose—sales?
Chase those sales; they won’t chase you!
After a 40-year grocery career that included executive-level positions with Safeway, Lucky Stores, AppleTree Markets and SaveMart/Food Maxx, Art Patch retired from the grocery retail business in 2007. He is on the ExecuForce Team of Encore associates, is a counselor for SCORE, helping new and emerging businesses, and Chairman of the Board of the Stanislaus/San Joaquin County Food Bank. He welcomes your feedback. Email him at [email protected]