Are you a retail leader? If so, you’re probably slammed with new and frightening business questions right now. As eCommerce poaches market share from the world of brick and mortar, and global supply chain fails repeatedly, your customers are more demanding than ever. Are they looking to your competitors to buy products? Are industry titans like Amazon crowding you out? Perhaps an expert’s insight will help you make the right decisions in this turbulent world. For just that reason, the Expert ENGINE team held interviews with retail thought leaders in our longstanding network, like retail leader Jeff, to help our clients and other industry professionals to gain insight into this ever-changing marketplace. Read in-depth insights from Jeff below:
All About Jeff –Retail Expert for 30 Years
Currently a CEO, leadership coach, retail analyst and international author, Jeff possesses 30 years of experience as an executive leader for three household names in retail. Jeff’s career history spans big box, home improvement and major outlet bookselling. Now, at his own consultancy, Jeff leverages a “business world hybrid” approach, sharing advisory insights and creating structured blueprints for retail clients to achieve success. In our interview, Jeff discusses his new book, successful in-store experience models, products and pricing, customer feedback, success stories, suggestions for c-suite innovation, employee training that really works, and case studies of physical establishments self-reinventing to include digital access for their customers.
Jeff’s new book — a manual for small, medium and large retailers hoping to thrive in the digital world — divides an action-driven guide into ten pillars designed for businesses to succeed. A successful adaptor in his own right, Jeff has shifted his own approach from “flying around” with constant onsite work and client consulting to creating a thorough new retail ethos and making it available online. The goal: To provide “complete satisfaction” to retail stakeholders in the midst of a global pandemic. Jeff stays updated on publications in this industry, so his book synthesizes empirical evidence and research with his own omnichannel retail tenure.
Behind the Curtain – The Retail Customer’s POV
Jeff consults regularly on employee engagement, customer service and merchandising. He is most frequently asked about store operations, increasing market share, employee morale, and increasing topline revenue. How to meet those goals and maximize ROI? Consider what your customers are seeing. Try to imagine your business from their point of view. During his time with the largest home improvement retailer in the U.S., Jeff implemented results from feng shui into experiments on “how energy flows into a store,” creating a peaceful and pleasant environment for customers and employees — and, in turn increasing revenue. Examples of chaos to be mitigated start with the customer’s first impressions near the entrance. Are they seeing trash or errant shopping carts? If so, you’ve got something to fix.
For Jeff, success in retail is about people. That’s why, in his exact words, “talent retention is the most important thing.” He adds, “You can’t retain if you don’t have the talent already in the building.” As a result, Jeff considers the following three things to be the most important in any organization: Onboarding processes, performance review, and organizational culture. Sometimes he spends weeks working with clients just on this combination of topics. He stresses the importance of giving employees credit for what they’re doing well — not just shortcomings. Good news and bad news, Jeff observes, can both travel quickly. He advises leaders to praise in public and criticize in private — and to give their employees clear guidelines in directives. He advises retail leaders: Don’t grade your employees for tasks they don’t even know exist!
Looking Forward: Creating a New Retail Strategy in 2022
How will you create a new strategy in 2022? What can you expect as numerous aspects of the retail landscape continue to change? In our next installment — the final chapter of the “Shopping Insights from Retail Experts” blog series — we continue to share Jeff’s industry insights. In the upcoming post, we review the four sacred E’s of competitive retail: Engagement, experience, entertainment and execution. We’ll also discuss changes in customer demand, retailer transparency, social media and brand awareness, speed, efficiency, and seamless customer interactions. Stay tuned!
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