We created the Zipline State of Store Comms report to establish an industry benchmark for an historically overlooked and underserved section of the retail organization: Store Communications. Together with Qualtrics, we surveyed 356 retail professions in the U.S. and Canada to find out whether comms is being disrupted as the industry undergoes transformation.
Our hope is that the survey results inspire executives and communications professionals to reconsider the way they are currently communicating to stores and check their assumptions around “status quo” communications methods.
To that end, here are three particularly fascinating stats we gleaned from the 350+ responses that might inspire you (or your team) to make a few changes to your communication strategy:
According to the survey, a “well structured publishing cadence” is when “the majority of communication is published at deliberate times.” Instead of publishing information to field teams as soon as it’s known, or ad hoc throughout the day, companies that employ a well structured publishing cadence hold information and send it out at a predetermined time – usually in a daily or weekly bundle.
The relationship between publishing cadences and readership isn’t surprising. When field teams know when to expect new messages, they’re more likely to the content HQ sends in a timely fashion. As a bonus — they aren’t constantly pulled away from customers on the sales floor to check for new communication ad-hoc.
At Zipline, we’ve found that a daily communication cadence is the most effective way to transmit timely information from headquarters to stores. Retailers should stick to a once-a-day publishing cadence and, unless it’s an emergency, hold off publishing new messages until the next day. This daily repetition builds better habits: Associates check for updates immediately after clocking in, then fully shift their attention on to their customers’ needs without anxiously hitting “refresh” on their email every two minutes (or worse — running to the back office to check for new messages). Instead of becoming a source of constant stress, communication becomes instinctual, just like brushing your teeth in the morning.
It goes without saying that the only results a business can drive are the ones they track and measure consistently. But thanks to the State of Store Comms survey, we can quantify just how important tracking those metrics is.
Many retailers will invest a great deal of time, money, and effort into implementing new store communications platforms and channels – but will then forget to prioritize gathering the metrics that ultimately prove if those investments were worth it in the long run.
When evaluating Store Communications platforms, retailers should make sure their pick surfaces actionable insights on what stores need to know (communication) and do (tasks) to every level of the organization:
Many retailers rely on more than one communication tool to spread information through their company. Different communication channels satisfy different objectives, and when used properly, they can be quite effective. But most retailers lack the discipline needed to employ these platforms correctly, and their communication channels end up not doing the job they were intended to do.
A multitude of communications channels causes confusion. Conflicting messaging is a big problem in Store Communication: Intranet posts, back room binders, emails, text message threads… when stuff updates (and it will), how do you know if your employees are looking at the right thing?
On the other hand, not all communication channels are created equal. And in this way, adherence to a single channel or platform can actually hinder readership and execution, rather than help. A chat from a co-worker doesn’t have the same priority as an email from the SVP of a company. But all of these communications can, and should, exist together to provide context for everyone.
So, what’s most interesting about this particular stat? The significant drop-off in confidence that “employees understand exactly where to go to get the information they need to do their jobs”, happens once an organization reaches five or more channels. This indicates that, to a certain extent, a limited number of different communication channels is necessary — even good.
Not every retailer has the resources to be able to implement an out-of-the-box system that satisfies all of these requirements. Fortunately, there are best practices that can help establish a similar framework for your fleet, giving them fewer places to check for information, and reducing the likelihood of running into conflicting information.
Here’s another stat we’re pretty jazzed about: Data from the State of Store Comms report reveals that Zipline customers have overall higher confidence in the clarity, accuracy, and consistency of the messages they send to stores. That’s because Zipline is the only platform purpose-built to drive field team enablement. Powered by communication and real-time insights, Zipline helps field teams understand company priorities and take action on urgent initiatives, while also surfacing data that coaches employees to better performance.
🎧 Tune into our webinar series! (Can’t make it? No Worries! Register anyway and we’ll send you the recordings AND the report)
If you’d like to learn more about how Zipline can take your store communication strategy to the next level, reach out today.
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