Retail Analytics

The POLC method: Tips for retail business management performance

Written by Tony Loxton
Feb 17

Managing the performance of a retail business has traditionally relied on estimation. Aside from the receipts that give you the hard facts about how many products you’ve sold, it’s tough to get a handle on how customers move in, out and around your store, especially at busy times of year. The festive season is one such time. But as technology has evolved, we’ve discovered new and more effective ways of measuring the ways customers interact within stores.

With devices like foot traffic counters and analytics software, it’s possible to obtain data that speaks volumes about what goes on in your store.

When you combine powerful technology with the foundations of solid business management, you have a powerful advantage over your competitors. In this article, we’ll look at four steps of business management, and how they integrate with the technology available today.

Step 1: Planning

The first step towards ensuring good business management performance, like so many other things, is to come up with a plan. With a good strategy in place, you’ll have a clear idea of where your business is going, and the steps you’ll need to take in order to get there. Planning requires your managers to understand the challenges the business is facing so that they can forecast future business conditions and set goals in order to achieve them. Plans should be regularly reviewed and adjusted based on performance in order for them to remain on target. For the best results, make sure that the plans you set follow the SMART acronym – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely.

Tips for Planning:

o   Dedicate a time each day to review your plan’s performance and make any necessary adjustments.

o   Include preventative action and contingency within your plan – no matter how far ahead you may be thinking, disasters do happen and this will help you get through them sooner.

o   Always account for ‘thinking time’ in your project plan. Coming up with effective strategies can often take longer than you think.

Step 2: Organising

Once your plan has been put in place, the next step is for managers to identify and allocate the necessary resources to ensure that it is successful. These resources can be anything from physical items, to capital, to staff and time, so it’s important that you take a broad view of everything that your plan will require in order to function efficiently. Organising also requires managers to assign specific tasks to their team members and ensure that responsibility has been delegated for all necessary activities.

Tips for Organising:

o   Tackle your to-do list as early as possible. Even though there may only be minor tasks to attend to, you’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have to make up for lost time on a busy day.

o   Use technology wisely – tools like workflow management software are essential in managing your team’s responsibilities and keeping track of task progress.

o   Make sure you have extra hands on call in case of an emergency. Having a failover will help you remain productive when disaster strikes.

Step 3: Leading

A good plan is worth nothing if it has nobody to champion its cause and make sure that everyone is buying into it and doing their part. Communication is an essential part of leading, so you’ll need to make sure you’re keeping everyone on the same page and checking in regularly on an individual level if necessary. Leading by example is always a powerful way to get your staff to get involved, so make sure you’re practicing what you preach. You’ll need to monitor your staff’s performance to some degree in this step, but think carefully about how you approach this – micromanagement can quickly take the wind out of even the most committed team’s sails.

Tips for leading:

o   Use technology effectively – emails, instant messaging and social media are your best friend when communicating with your employees.

o   Have a clear plan, and communicate it often. When you are clear about what you aim to achieve, it’s easier for your team to help you get there.

o   Be passionate. Your team will feed off your energy and pour everything they have into helping your plan succeed.

Step 4: Controlling

The last step in implementing a good business management performance plan is to measure how effective it has been. To do this, you’ll need to still have clear sight of the goals you set during your planning phase, and have kept a detailed record of the data you need to assess how well you’ve stuck to the plan. Managers will need to be able to compare forecasted and actual results, as well as to identify reasons for any deviations and how they can make up the shortfall. It’s also important to remember that this doesn’t just apply to monetary factors – every facet of your performance should be considered and tweaked if necessary.

Tips for Controlling:

o   Use technology wisely – make sure you’re storing any and all relevant data. You’ll need to access it when you’re reviewing your plan and coming up with new ideas, so having it on hand is essential.

o   Software tools can help predict the outcome of your plan at any stage provided you feed it the data it needs. Consider using one to save you from potential disaster.

o   Make sure you’re doing the necessary research throughout all parts of your organisation. Having accurate data goes a long way to ensuring a good business management performance plan.

If you want to find out more about how technology can help you formulate effective plans that help you reach your business goals, you can read more about Blix Traffic technology on our website.

Learn more about Blix Traffic for retail

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