Why Peak is actually the best time to launch a new comms strategy.

It's not as scary as you think.

November 8, 2021

Yep, we know what you’re thinking. “We can’t launch a brand new communications strategy in the midst of Peak! Our teams are already overloaded! We have to keep everything as constant and familiar as possible, so they have the time and space to focus on the customer.”

We deal with this at Zipline all the time, and we get it. Teams are resistant to change, and change can feel overwhelming and hard. But there are actually many reasons why Peak is the perfect time to roll out a brand new way of doing things:

You’ve got a ton of new people working for you. 

During Peak, your fleet is at its fullest. You’re (hopefully) flush with seasonal hires, new blood, people with no preconceived notions of how-things-are-done-at-your-company. Bonus: oftentimes these new hires are young! And you know what young people are generally more comfortable with? New technology! 

Instead of onboarding these new folks onto your old, outdated processes, think of them as “blank slates.” Leverage their fresh enthusiasm as a canvas on which to paint your your big, new ideas. They’re not curmudgeonly, they’re not stuck in “the old way.” They’re not used to binders yet. 

You’re in the most “communications-critical” time of year.

Rolling out a new communications vehicle during the quiet, dead part of your business is kind of like trying to get a Christmas tree farm off the ground in August. Maybe it’s great, maybe it’s the best ever – but if there’s no demand for your comms (or trees) in the first place, adoption is going to suffer.

During Peak, store teams have no choice but to be completely keyed in to HQ-to-store communication. New product, broader assortments, expanded store hours, big flashy promotions, seasonal hiring goals, steep sales expectations – all of these things are prevalent during Peak and all of them require good leaders to stay incredibly close to direction from corporate. So, why not make a change when your employees will actually pay attention to what’s new? Best case scenario – you’ll get higher adoption and more praise for your fabulous new communication process. Worst case scenario – you’ll get a ton of fast, pointed feedback on what’s not working, so you can make tangible adjustments as quickly as possible. It’s kind of a win-win, in our minds.

During Peak, meetings abound.

Like it or not, Peak preparation usually necessitates a proliferation of in-person (or virtual) meetings. Leaders need to sit around a conference table and align on priorities and plans of action. District Managers need to get into stores more often to ensure their teams are properly prepared for increased traffic. And Store Managers need to rally their teams – especially new seasonal hires – to keep them motivated during the busiest time of year.

New information is more likely to be retained if the listener/reader has to hear/read it more than once. Meetings – like those that happen so often in advance of Peak season – are another chance to get your message across, thus increasing the likelihood that your new communications strategy will be adopted and appreciated. Plus, adding this roll-out to a meeting agenda incites discussion and collaborative learning, further enforcing the “stickiness” of your new initiative.

Leadership is listening

You know that time of year when everybody in retail decides to take two weeks off for a relaxing vacation? Well, Peak is not that time of year. As much as we mourn the loss of “holiday shutdowns” in retail, the November-January time period is so critical to business that leaders – especially executives – rarely lean out. Instead, they lean in. Way in.

So, what better time to roll out a game-changing initiative than when all eyes are on you? Higher-ups who make the decisions around raises, promotions, bonuses and equity will undoubtedly pay attention. So bask in the spotlight! You’ve got this – it’s your time to shine.

Change or Fail

Remember what happened during the early days of COVID? Successful retailers didn’t shirk away from innovation because it was “too much” or because their teams were “already overloaded.” No, successful retailers realized early on that innovation and change was necessary to survival – survival of their business, and survival of their frontline workers who bore the brunt of COVID-required changes.

As a result, retail innovation actually blossomed. Companies implemented BOPIS, curbside pick-up, and contactless payments. They stood up same-day delivery services and online order fulfillment capabilities. And they did this all in a matter of weeks – not months or years. In fact, some retail consultants estimate that the pandemic actually accelerated digital innovation by at least seven years! All the more reason to capitalize on Peak as the right time to make a much-needed change.

As you start planning for peak, consider Zipline as your one-stop Holiday shop; your vehicle to deliver the seasons’ top priorities and initiatives in real-time along with task and readership reporting to help keep everyone across the fleet on track. If you’d like to learn more about how Zipline can help during this time of year, reach out today.

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