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Fact vs Feeling – World Kitchen’s Workforce Management Evolution

worldkitchWe recently presented on a Retail TouchPoints webcast with Michael Chester, VP of Store Operations for World Kitchen.  During the presentation we talked about smarter Workforce Management and Michael shared more about his smart scheduling journey and results.  We had some great Q&A from participants and actually ran out of time for all the questions. 

Workplace:  Mike, I understand when you first joined World Kitchen, the organization was scheduling with good old fashioned pen and paper.  That’s how I used to be scheduled when I was a teenager in the late 70’s!  What spurred your decision to update your process?

Retailers – Turn the rise of social media to drive in-store engagement

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A recent report from Deloitte has identified that digital technologies currently influence 36 percent of in-store retail sales and this is estimated to be 50 percent of in-store sales by the end of 2014. This provides further validation, if needed, to developing a joined up customer experience across all channels. It is essential for retailers to understand the interaction between customers, their different devices and what customers are looking for from an in-store experience. I recently wrote in Power Retail about how retailers can at a practical level turn the instant and mobile nature of social media to their advantage – through supporting four strategies:

How to reinvest labor hours to drive sales

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The average fashion retailer schedules approximately 23% of their labor budget at the wrong times. With nearly 30 years of retail experience helping to create smarter schedules, Workplace makes it easy for retailers to reinvest labor hours in order to maximize sales. 

In-store or online, make it seamless for the customer

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For some retailers the phenomenon known as showrooming, where customers use physical stores to research their purchase but buy online, is a little scary. But the reality is that there are many ways that innovative and forward-thinking companies can harness the power of mobile and the internet to drive sales growth in physical stores. This is partly because the picture of how consumers are using online channels is not as simple as the headlines suggest and research shows that while many consumers want to do their research online, there is still a great appetite for buying in-store.

Your next great employee? The misunderstood millennial

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I’ve been writing about the relationship between younger employees or associates and their mobile devices. But how about their relationships with us as employers? Or rather our relationships with them?

Use Mobile Technology to Empower your Workforce


Maximising mobile opportunities in-store will not only have a positive effect on your customers, but will add enormous value by empowering your retail sales associates as well.

There is no doubt that innovation in mobile technology is enabling retailers to provide a more dynamic and personalised in-store customer experience. New technology iBeacons, for example, allows retailers to deliver tailored discounts or rewards direct to customers’ smartphones when they are in a store.

Zero Hours – a zero sum game?

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“Zero-hours” contracts are controversial. They create an “on-call” arrangement between an employee and an employer where the employer has no obligation to provide work for the employee but the employee is obliged to be available nonetheless.

How are you Gearing up for the Fourth of July?

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The Fourth of July holiday is nearly upon us and with it comes the promise of increased footfall, especially as Independence Day falls this year on a Friday – effectively giving consumers an extended weekend.

While the Fourth of July may not seem as significant for retailers as, say, the Holiday Season, the retail potential has been steadily growing each year. Last year Visa’s annual 2013 Independence Day Spending Survey found Fourth of July spending to be up 58 per cent. The poll found that spending rose from an average of $190 in 2012 to $300 in 2013, whether consumers were travelling or staying at home.

Are you maximising your peak season sales?

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With 4th July holiday approaching in the US and the school holidays on the horizon in Europe, maximising these peak volume sales periods will be front of mind for retailers. Peak sales periods (from monthly promotions through to seasonal sales) amount to 12-22 weeks a year that have the highest sales volumes and which retailers rely on to drive most of their revenue. One of the biggest factors of success is the correct alignment of staff to meet customer demand.

Do Retailers have Clouded Judgement?

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At NRF14 the keynote address from IBM outlined the convergence of technological shifts (cloud, big data, social and mobile) and how these are fundamentally reshaping commerce. The keynote continued that this isn’t about technology, it is about making the right business model decisions; which in turn will enable retailers to make better decisions, be more agile and aligned to customer needs, and compete more effectively. One of these business model decisions is the adoption of the cloud and SAAS (software-as-a-service).

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