Why Store Execution should be your new “Monday Morning Metric”

and why Zipline’s the platform to make it happen

May 19, 2021

Picture this: It’s Monday morning, and you’re huddled together with the rest of your brand’s LT talking about what you always talk about at this time – the weekend’s business.

During this meeting, you’re probably looking at a lot of metrics. Across every channel, online and in-store, you’re scanning the same numbers: topline sales, gross margin, units per transaction, traffic, conversion. Maybe there’s a dip, maybe you’re not hitting your targets. Everybody, from the Head of Stores to the CMO to the VP of Strategy, has to speculate: Maybe it’s because the current product assortment isn’t landing? Maybe we need more targeted marketing? Maybe it’s just the weather?

But what if it’s not because of any of those things? What if due to poor store execution?

Research shows that only 29% of direction sent to stores by corporate headquarters is correctly executed by store teams. This means that your brand’s initiatives, driven by the C-Suite, aren’t effectively coming to life in stores. Your marketers, merchandisers and communications teams are wasting time planning for campaigns and programs that will never be accurately implemented. 

And it’s costing you money.

The problem? Store Execution can be hard to track.

For years (decades, even!) retail executives have relied on antiquated methods to assess if their teams out in stores are actually doing the things they need to do: putting up new marketing, pulling inventory out of the back room, rearranging fixtures on the sales floor, or talking to customers about the latest promotions. They might send their upper field leaders out into stores for surprise visits, or comb through the weekend’s customer experience survey results. 

But there are two big problems with that approach. First, the information you’re getting is anecdotal at best and usually not indicative of larger trends across the fleet. (How many times have you sent a “911” email to your Field Leaders because one Merchant happened to stop in one store over the weekend and saw their product displayed incorrectly?)

Second, and most importantly, assessing store execution in this way only allows you to fix store team behavior after it’s already had a negative impact on the other areas of your business. In short – you’re playing defense, not offense. Chances are you’re only asking your DMs to check on store execution if your sales numbers are looking bleak. And by that time the damage is already done. It’s too late.

But: with the right tool in place, it’s easy.

We built Zipline from the ground-up with a focus on driving better store execution through streamlined, clear communication. Unlike other task management platforms on the market, Zipline gives executives, upper field leaders, and even cross-functional business partners instant visibility into what’s getting done in stores. This level of transparency, in turn, drives increased accountability at every level of a retailer’s brick and mortar fleet. 

Zipline’s approach allows your teams to take action and get store execution back on track before it takes a toll on your business. Here’s how:

Zipline doesn’t just give teams tasks – it gives them context, too.

Like it or not, store managers are going to make their own decisions about where they’re spending time. That’s why better store execution starts with giving them the proper tools so they can effectively prioritize and plan. One of these tools that retailers often overlook is context

Today’s retail leaders are running multimillion-dollar operations, and they’re making day-to-day decisions that impact brand reputation and in-store sales. Zipline is the only retail communications platform that allows you to connect what stores need to know (the “why”) with what stores need to do (the “what”) in a way that gives them context to understand how to effectively prioritize their tasks. Through Zipline, HQ has the power to make their store leaders better stewards of the business and proactively influence where they spend their time.

Zipline empowers your Upper Field Leaders to take action before issues reach the C-Suite.

Surprise! The real job of your Regional Directors, Territory Managers, and District Leaders isn’t to simply forward emails from corporate to their stores. It’s to coach and guide their store teams to more precise, consistent execution so your vision comes to life in the field.

So how do you empower this middle level of your organization to hold their store teams accountable? By getting everybody – especially your Upper Field leaders and your store teams – on the same page. 

Zipline makes it easy to provide both Upper Field leaders and Store employees with access to the same information, so everybody understands what the company priorities are and what good looks like. For instance: if Store Operations sends tasks related to a new technology roll-out down to store teams, District Managers have instant visibility into what those tasks are and if their stores are completing those tasks on time. Giving DMs insight into the full spectrum of messages sent just to their group of stores also helps ensure 

Zipline enables you to do what you do best: inspire your teams, at scale.

Executives in retail have a harder job than most: They not only have to set the company’s vision and hold teams accountable to metrics, but also have to do all this without the ease of gathering their entire employee population under one roof. You might even say that retail is the original “remote work.” And we all know how difficult it is to rally employees remotely.

Geographically dispersed employees isn’t the only issue, either. Retailers also see a challenge in engaging all employees because associates are often part time, trained once and then left to learn on the job. Ironically, these employees are closer to customers and trends than corporate could ever be, so it’s especially important that they embody your brand’s culture. 

Zipline makes it possible for executive leadership to reach all the way down to frontline employees directly through written communication, video messages, and even two-way chat. No need to wait until your once-annual Store Manager Conference to rally teams behind your company vision.

Ready to see more?

Want to learn more about how Retail Zipline can help you align your store teams and boost store execution? We’ve made our solution easy to implement, fun to use, and useful for stores and HQ alike. We’d love to give you a deeper look. Reach out today to learn more.

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