5 Steps To Better Store Communication

Getting stores to read your messages

Retail Communications
August 12, 2017

Ever send out a text and not receive a response? Did you find yourself staring at the screen for some reassurance that it was received and read?

Well, you’re not alone: retailers around the globe experience the same frustration with their store communications. From promos and markdowns to a higher frequency of new products, things are constantly changing for store leaders. In an increasingly changing retail landscape, it’s no wonder why retailers are testing new initiatives to keep teams responsive, engaged, and accountable in an effort to always better their in-store execution.

Effective communication is critical for store execution, which has a corresponding lift in sales, employee engagement, and store compliance. We asked top retailers such as Banana Republic and Levis what are the most effective ways to improve store communications and found 5 main themes that emerged.

Here are 5 steps to achieve better store communication:

1. Centralize all information.

With a dizzying array of messaging platforms and inboxes to check daily, it’s no wonder store leaders are confused about which narrative to follow. Make it easy for your team to follow store campaigns by reducing the amount of inboxes and portals to reference. By investing in one manageable tool to communicate with your team, they’ll spend less time searching more time executing. Also, having everything in one place makes it easier for those in charge of in-store execution to not forget to check one of the many communication channels, or to not let lots of time pass between when the message is sent and when the action is executed. This increases the effectiveness of promos and other tactics that need to be executed in a timely manner.

2. Connect the dots to tell a story.

You know what needs to be done and how to accomplish it. How do you paint a picture so your store leaders understand the end goal? Tell your readers a story through your communications by giving them what the end goal is, why it’s important, and what needs to get done (essentially a retail version of a beginning, middle, and end). Use the filter of “what stores need to know” and “what stores need to do” to tell your story (“The holidays are coming up, it’s the busiest time of year, and we need to change store visuals to reflect the new product assortment and massive marketing campaign”). A detailed task breakdown of what needs to be executed can help keep your stores organized and on track about what needs to happen when (“Receive posters for women’s section on Monday, July 6th.”). And don’t forget to follow up with the results to drive engagement! (“Your work this past week increased sales by 30%!”).

3. Target information to those who need to know.

Target information to only those who need to know to be heard above the clutter. Why send messages to US stores when the content only pertains to Canada? Sure, you might be creating bit more work by crafting a different message for each audience, but you’ll reduce the amount of questions by targeting audiences with relevant content. Also, by reducing the amount of irrelevant messages that each employee gets, you can increase the attention each message gets, and the timeliness in which its read.

4. Make communications consumable and fun.

There’s nothing more dull than a wall (or worse, multiple walls) of text, so inject a little fun to get your team engaged in your store communications. Short explainer videos can give an overall understanding of what needs to be done. Pictures of visual merchandise displays, new employees, or company events can increase clicks and entice your team to read future communications. If your company voice and tone permits, funny GIFs are always a crowd pleaser.

5. Enable a feedback loop on completion.

More often than not, retailers don’t have line of sight into what’s been completed. A whopping 72% of retailers guess their store execution. By implementing a feedback loop, store leaders will have a clear view into what’s being done and increase accountability for their teams.

Studies show that effective store communication can increase your store’s performance. By following these 5 proven techniques, you can make sure that you are getting the best possible results from the tactics you developed. After all, a perfect plan is not very effective if it’s not executed well.