Sunday, 22 April 2012

Are Gen Y now more stable than Gen X ?

After years of hearing how Gen Y are so transient and hard to please it seems the trend is changing and it is in fact Gen X who are getting itchy feet. In a recent survey by Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI), which polled nearly 170,000 people across all generations in 30 countries we saw around 66% of the global workforce intend to search for a new job next year, with Gen X workers being the most likely to quit.

The survey found only 44% of employees globally feel valued by their employer in these uncertain economic times. While many respondents expressed unhappiness in their current jobs, and are actively searching for new opportunities, others said they are content with their current employment position. However, those people are seeking greater engagement and meaning from their positions.

When evaluating potential employers, the results showed the most important factor job seekers consider is corporate reputation (58%) followed closely by location (52%). This resonates especially strong with skilled professional and technical employees.

Across the generational groups, the way individuals weigh their job choices varies as people age. Personal fulfillment or work-life balance is found to become progressively more important as people mature. But for Gen Y, the leading consideration is personal growth or advancement when choosing to accept one job over another.

Across all generations, personal fulfillment, work-life balance and personal growth both outweigh compensation and benefits when choosing one job over another.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sales without discounting – The solution is easier than you think

At 94.5 index point, consumer confidence is at its lowest rate since August, down 1.6; this has been reflected in retailer’s expectations,71% were expecting poor results over Easter weekend (Roy Morgan Research).
In the days leading up to the four-day weekend, it was clear that retailers were creating excitement with sales, deals and extended shopping hours. Judging by the crowds over the weekend, reports of an expected 5.3% increase on last year could be realistic.
Is constant ‘sales–mode’ successful? Is it really the fault of the penny pinching customer?
As Kmart managing Director  Guy Russo said recently, Kmart used to focus on its percentage margins, but I think if you focus on customers and not margins, you’ll end up with a better result.”
“Manipulating margins around to work out how your profit is going to be is really short-term, so my main focus with our team is focusing on delivering the lowest prices you can and delivering on high quality.”
“So I’m actually happier to run lower percentage margins than we’ve ever had in the past to get the customer the benefit of the lowest price, which means that your penny profits lower. However, the equation that I’m working on from a profitability point of view is if you’re best in price then volume will go up, and then you’ll make a lot more profit.”
Turning foot traffic into sales is the only way. And here’s how: hire the right team.
We’ve all heard about the war for talent, a phrase that was coined in 1997, today when I Google searched that heading over 80,000 results came up.
The war for talent is real and retailers need to start seeing that their team is their most valuable asset; globally; full stop. All of the marketing and promotions will only get you so far, I am certain that most retailers are missing the biggest opportunity for sales growth – PEOPLE!
The Marxist theory of war is quasi-economic in that it states that all modern wars are caused by competition for resources and markets between great (imperialist) powers. My view is that this war for talent is definitely a competition for resources but you don’t have to be the biggest or the greatest, even the little guys can win the war for talent.
A highly effective manager will increase conversion, grow store turnover, drive successful company promotions & campaigns, create positive word of mouth & brand awareness, create repeat long term customers and train their staff to do the same.
Wish these candidates grew on trees? So do we. And that’s why it’s important that you snap up top talent as soon as it comes to market. Finding people who embody the traits above is becoming harder as candidates become more scarce and yet employers seem to be moving slower than ever in snapping up the talent.   Effective Store Mangers are presented with multiple offers are able to be picky. Competition is fierce and employer branding is more important than ever. Look at the whole package and remember that these candidates are not looking at salary alone.
  1. Create a strong employment brand – look at the whole picture Progression, Culture, values and incentives. What does your brand represent for a team member not just a consumer
  2. Get in quick – effective candidates with a proven background aren’t on the market long, some being interviewed and hired the same day they apply.
  3. Appreciate that your team is your biggest asset and the quickest way to get profitable sales growth.
The art of war is like the art of the courtesan; indeed, they might be called sisters, since both are the slaves of desperation —Pietro Aretino
Don’t let it get to the point of desperation, adopt these three simple steps and you’re on the way to winning the war and an absence of war, is usually called peace.

- John Caldwell

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Good bye Bricks and Mortar, hello Bricks and Clicks

The face of retail is changing. It’s no longer about stores or online shopping; successful retailers are combining both to give consumers what they want.

Although people argue for either case, the future of retail lies in being able to engage with both mediums successfully and harmoniously.

Leading Australian womens wear brand Sportsgirl is a great example of aligning with customer needs. Introducing interactive mirrors to their Chapel Street flagship store, shoppers can share their look with their friends through social media and obtain comments about their proposed purchases before buying. Window Shopping at brands like Wittner has also taken on a new meaning, with online ordering made simple through the introduction of QR Codes. Cotton On has launched ‘Try On Your Sound’, a first fitting room experience that uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to enhance the customer experience.

‘Try On Your Sound’ combines music and fashion to enhance the shopper’s in-store experience by creating a mini gig environment in the fitting room. Selected garments, are tagged with a unique RFID code and when these garments are taken in to the purpose built fitting rooms, the RFID technology initiates a playlist individually selected to reflect the style of the garment being tried on.

Sportsgirl Interactive Mirror

Wittner "Window Shopping"

Not everyone gets it right though. In the recently announced Internet Shopping Awards the results highlighted the lack of integration by the traditional bricks and mortar stores in
winning positions with online-only stores taking pole position in majority of categories. Congratulations can be given to the Dick Smith business who was announced as the winner for Australia’s best online store at the Online Retail Industry Awards (ORIA).

Even the fast food industry is cashing in on the growing online integrated strategy with an ever increasing number of businesses developing their websites, SEO and more importantly their on line ordering systems through smart phone applications, mobile sites and even fax and email ordering. Dominos pizza on-line/mobile site ordering now accounts for over 40% of sales and that is up 44% over last year and the company expects online sales to reach in excess of 60% of total sales.

As consumers continue to feel the pinch, retailers are looking to short term leases, or “pop up “store concepts with minimum space. This cuts down on long term rental payment commitments and has the benefit of creating consumer excitement.

As we head into this dynamic environment, it’s important that retailers look at all aspects of their operations and ensuring that they have a sales strategy that is totally integrated. Even with all this change the focus needs to remain on the coal face and the 'moment of truth' service experience whether that be online or in person, with that said retailers need to focus on their staff profile. Creating a completely different customer experience doesn’t come at the click of your fingers. Staff training on different procedures is vital – knowledge and customer service can be a key point of difference. There is a world of choice out there and consumers will spend their money where they feel it’s deserved; ensure your team know all aspects of any new releases way in advance, even if you feel they won’t directly be dealing with it, a consumer won’t separate the two and will expect your team to know what the business is all about, as good as your online or business growth strategy may be, if your people don't deliver on the brand promise or understand your objectives and how to serve consumers in the new and more competitive millennium, all that money that has been spent on being contemporary will count for nothing.

All commerce, not e-commerce. It’s the way of the future.
- John Caldwell