If Podium and Doorcounts had a baby, its name would be More Sales.
They say love comes in many shapes and sizes. And if you are a successful brick-and-mortar retailer, what you love are good reviews–because good reviews mean happy customers, and happy customers mean more sales.
Another thing you love is knowing that every person entering your store is greeted by a knowledgeable professional who gives them the help they need that leads to a purchase.
Just in case you’ve been living in some faraway universe in another time and place, here’s why you need the powerful combination of Podium and Doorcounts.
Podium™ is a revolutionary review and messaging system that lets you collect and manage your online reviews in one central platform. This means you can rank higher, answer quicker, and close deals faster than ever with Podium, and:
• Bolster your online presence
• Respond to reviews
• Improve your business ratings
• Manage your reputation
The Doorcounts Retail Sales Cloud™ is a game changing business intelligence technology that helps you improve your traffic conversion rate and so much more —Just think, DOORCOUNTS CONNECTS!
• Doorcounts Connects a smart camera to a CRM Database
• Doorcounts Connects customers to your salespeople
• Doorcounts Connects better insights to your business decisions
• Doorcounts Connects more sales to grow your business faster
When you combine the awesome power of Podium and Doorcounts, you are improving every shopping experience and maximizing every sales opportunity.
You simply can’t afford to let a single customer leave without connecting.
Not everyone buys on the first visit because people have different ways they like to buy.
No worries… we’ve got you covered.
According to our Q4 Retail Traffic Benchmark Report, the average conversion rate of our top 20th percentile of retailers is 33 percent. This means 7 out of 10 shoppers leave without buying and, if you play your cards right, they will make a purchase at a later time. The best you can do is to make sure you connect before they disappear.
There’s a lot of talk these days about how your customers have already researched you online before they ever enter your store. This is great news, because if they are in your store, they are ready to buy. The question is: How do you know what happened? Did you ask your salesperson how it went after they left and hope the customer comes back like they said they would?
Or, did your customer enter your store, get assigned to a salesperson, where you tracked the entire engagement and got a review after they left, all in the same system so follow-up is a snap?
If you don’t have Podium and Doorcounts working together, the answer to the above question is a big fat NO WAY JOSE’!
Maybe you don’t know the answer to the question above. If so, there’s good news, because you can do something about it right now. YES… I WANT TO MAKE MORE MONEY
Well we don’t blame you…
Most of our customers have previously experienced one of those inferior “people counters” and know the frustration of constant down times, no real-time data and information that just doesn’t ever seem to add up.
What you may not be aware of are the constant improvements and hundreds of new features we’ve added to Doorcounts in the last 12 months, like integrating Podium so you never lose connection with your customer ever again.
If you love your customers, then set them free to buy the way they want to. The secret is to stay connected, and the best way to connect is with Podium and Doorcounts.
Don’t leave your sales to chance! Know the moment a shopper walks through your door and what happened while they were in your store. And when they leave, get a review and get another chance to make a sale and create a lifelong customer.
So Podium and Doorcounts can’t really make a baby (just in case you thought we were serious). But if we did have a baby, it would be the most beautiful thing to behold. Not just to brick-mortar retailers, but to their customers and salespeople as well. Because success in today’s fast paced world of retail sales is about connecting to potential customers long before they enter your store and long after they leave–whether they buy or not–and this is exactly what Doorcounts and Podium lets you do.
THEN > NOW
White Pages > Google/Bing Search
Yellow Pages > SEO/PPC
Interruption > Permission
Outbound > Inbound
Collection > Connection
Statements > StoriesEgocentric (We, Our) > Client-centric (You, Your)
Brand as Hero > Brand as Guide, Client as Hero
We all have regrets about the past… an opportunity we missed, if we only knew what we know now.
They say hindsight is 20/20. But it takes foresight to combine a vision of the future with the right action properly informed by the past.
Nelson Mandela said: “Vision without action is just a dream, action without vision just passes time, and vision with action can change the world.”
Well, you may not be out to change the world, but here are a few things you can do to make the most of every past, present and future opportunity:
Don’t fight your last war.
In 1929, Lieutenant Colonel J. L. Schley, of the Corps of Engineers wrote: ““There is a tendency in many armies to spend the peace time studying how to fight the last war.”
It’s natural to rely on past experience. But sometimes focusing on what worked or didn’t work last time can blind us from seeing a better way. So before you move forward, ask yourself if you are fighting your last war.
Learn from others.
Reflecting on your experience is critical. But so are the experiences of others. Instead of relying solely on your own wins and losses, learn from others. Join a study group and seek out best practices and benchmarks to compare and contrast your business at every opportunity.
Moving forward is about motivation and the story we tell about the past. We all lose motivation sometimes, and the best thing to do is think about past accomplishments and get nostalgic about what it felt like to win the day.
So if 20/20 hindsight is about what we “woulda, coulda, shoulda” done, then let’s make 20/20 foresight about looking back to look forward for a better understanding of the connections between the past and the present—always doing and never wishing we did.
“Layin’ in the sun
Talkin’ bout the things
They woulda-coulda-shoulda done…
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From the one little did.”
— Shel Silverman
Be the first to see the results of our Q4 of 2019 Retail Traffic Benchmark. See how your business compares to your peers across key areas like:
– Total traffic counts
– Daily revenue – Revenue per transaction – Conversion rate – Time with customers
Not all businesses are created equal, and there are many variables that determine your success. The Doorcounts Retail Benchmark Report is a way for you to think about the potential of your business and how to improve.
It’s our commitment to you to deliver essential information and data that helps you convert more traffic by connecting a camera to a CRM, customers to your salespeople, better insights to your business decisions, and more revenue to your balance sheet.
If you have Doorcounts™ and you are not seeing 30+ percent conversion rates, speak to one of our experts. Let us see if we can help you maximize your Doorcounts™ ROI and grow your business faster.
If you don’t have Doorcounts™, get it today.
It is easier to paddle a canoe on a calm lake.
Resilient systems are much more efficient and effective. They rely on workflows that function in spite of setbacks, barriers or even limited resources. They do not rely on top-down hierarchical structures but, instead, they create a latticework of self-organization.
Its faster to get where you are going when everyone is rowing together, to the same place.
A static business plan becomes obsolete almost as soon as it is written. On the other hand, an accurate map that’s measured and marked makes it easier to know where you are and how far you have to go.
A compass is better than a map, if you know where you are and where you want to go.
A set of guiding principles are better than an instruction manual. Good guiding principles are like a compass, empowering your people to apply common sense and make appropriate choices based on the circumstances. No manual can do this.
So, if you want to build a resilient business to thrive in any market condition:
• Design workflows for every situation.
• Chart your course so your team knows where they are going.
• Create the principles to guide your people, so they don’t get lost.
You know that thing where you become aware of something—an unfamiliar word, item, image, or action—and then see it again and again, seemingly everywhere you look. It’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.
…It works in the other direction, as well.
Troxler Fading is an optical illusion where, if we are presented with a steady image in our peripheral vision, we eventually stop seeing it over time.
So if we tend to over-see at first, and stop seeing once something‘s too familiar, how do we see what we need to see to improve?
The answer is to see differently.
How, you ask?
Here’s three ways to start:
1. Step back.
Most of the time you are just too close to see what you need to see.
2. See the other side.
Whatever you are looking at, there’s another side to see it from.
3. Say what you see.
Talking about what you are looking at will make what you see clearer.
Sherlock Holmes famously said to Watson: “You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.”
According to the American Optics Association, ”If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance.”
But your success is not about seeing what can normally be seen, is it?
Have you ever seen an opportunity to grow your business before there was evidence it existed?
Or do you say,” I’ll believe it when I see it?”
The thing is, we typically only see the full potential of something after someone creates it.
James Goldsmith said, “If you see a bandwagon, it’s too late.”
If you’ve ever built a successful business from scratch, you know that simply doing what others are doing is a good way to start.
Eventually, there’s a breakthrough…
Someone builds a better mousetrap, and if you are an early enough adopter you have a competitive advantage. That’s until the early and, eventually, late majority catch on, and then whatever differentiated your business turns into what makes it the same as all the others.
So to achieve meaningful and sustainable growth, you need to see the next opportunity before there is evidence it exists. This is that idea you have… an intuition that something would work if you could only figure it out.
But to see something before there is evidence that it exists requires faith.
Like it says in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
One thing for certain is there will always be things you cannot see today that will grow your business faster tomorrow. The question is, will you see what they are before or after your competition creates them? And if you do, will you be early enough to take advantage of them?.
Either way you operate, it is always good to remember what Martin Rees so eloquently once said and Carl Sagan popularized:
“The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”
I don’t know about you, but I get pretty excited about the future at this time of year.
For most companies, this is that time of year when dreams are made and plans are laid.
Winston Churchill was right when he said “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”
The problem with plans is that they are obsolete almost the moment they are put into action.
The truth is, unless they are constantly adjusted as we go, business plans can have little relevance to what is happening in the moment. And, in our effort to control the future, we can commit to a plan in a way that blinds us to the present opportunity and kills potential.
As for dreams, I agree with Colin Powell who said, “Dreams don’t become a reality through magic.It takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
So, instead of wishing on a dream or relying on a rigid plan, do the following instead:
1. Cast your dreams of the future within a clear and concise vision and mission statement that tells a story and inspires your team.
2. Decide on 3 or 4 business directives to focus on how to get where you want to be and the guiding principles to get there.
3. Each quarter choose your campaigns and chart your course of actions in the direction you want be in 90 days.
4. Measure your progress each week and make adjustments as you go. If your team is in the same location, use a whiteboard and create the following columns using the 7 Ds: Directives, iDeas, toDo, Doing, Done, Defer, Delete.
Once your board is set up, assign action items with your team and move from left to right, producing the desired results. If your team is not local, there are a number of excellent systems like Asana and Monday that will easily replicate this process within a digital format.
Think of your business plan like a journey over time, measured in weeks, moving forward in a quarterly direction, powered by detailed actions that produce desired results to move your business where your dreams and the future converge.
And if you do all the above, in a year from now, you will be glad you started today.
Travel to any small town across America’s vast heartland, and one of the the first things you will see, from a distance, is a water tower.
In simpler time, all it took was a gentle breeze to push the veins on a windmill that ran the pump that filled the water tower. Gravity made sure there was clean water at every level of demand.
Like a town needs a constant source of clean water, your business needs essential data. And like a water tower, you need a way to store your data so it can be accessed when, where, and however you need it.
Today, the road a person travels to become your client is called the “customer buying journey”.
Frankly, I’d say, the “customer buying journey” is a phrase that is becoming far too popular for its own good.
Anyway, if you use modern marketing methods, you can see a customer’s buying journey from the moment she visits your website, downloads your lead generator, and clicks on your ad. And you can even see the moment a potential customer enters your business and connects with your representative.
Best of all, if you have a way to collect the essential data about your customer’s buying journey, you can access that data to improve their buying experience at every step of the way and maximize every sales opportunity as well!
John Steinbeck said, “Ideas are like rabbits, you get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
This is especially true with new ideas about innovation.
A different kind of idea is when something just doesn’t seem right… like there’s something missing. Maybe it’s a sales number that doesn’t make sense or simply the notion your business could be doing better than it is.
Whether it’s about innovation or a sinking suspicion, ideas must reach a point of critical mass before they can be realized.
The term, critical mass, comes from nuclear physics, referring to the smallest mass that can sustain a nuclear reaction at a constant level.
This is the point where you decide to take action… the moment you try something new, like building a prototype, or digging deeper into the data. These initial steps can create a shift that causes a chain reaction of transformation.
As Arnold H. Glasgow said, “An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.“
The best ideas are the ones that begin as an intuition and, when realized, instantly change the way you see something forever.
With your new insight the path forward is clear. It was there all the time. Your idea just had to reach a point of critical mass.
When everything is working in your business, there’s a pace that feels good, a groove or a kind of synchronicity that just seems to naturally flow. But we live in a world of exponentially increasing technology advancements, and keeping up with the pace of change can feel like crossing a red line into confusion and chaos.
The red line is a figurative point of no return, a point in which certainty, and even safety, cannot be assured. It is also a method of removing certain text from a document.
In history, the red line represents a boundary drawn on a map to divide the territory at the end of a war.
Intuitively, going faster will produce better results. But mostly it leads to problems because of a missed detail overlooked in the rush, hidden within the data or, perhaps, right there in plain sight.
This is why, to go faster, we must slow down. To quote the Navy Seals motto: Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.
The gauge that measures how many revolutions per minute (RPM) an engine is turning is the tachometer, and a red line on the gauge indicates a point where sustained RPMs are harmful.
It is always good to test the limits and stretch things beyond what is comfortable. It’s how we grow.
Red lines can help us see when we are moving too fast, edit out what is unnecessary and set boundaries.
Most of all, a red line can help us see the problem before it arises. And a problem identified is a problem half solved.
All things are connected.
Zoom out far enough and a large city becomes a tiny speck of light.
Zoom in close enough and listen in on a conversation between two people in a cafe sharing their hopes and dreams about the future.
It is easy to see these two worlds as different, but in reality they are one in the same.
From far enough away, your business looks exactly like every other one of its kind. And one way to think about its different parts is like the way a car is made up of an engine, chassis and wheels. Unfortunately, in today’s hyper-connected world of information, this way of thinking can lead to serious trouble.
The idea of separating a business into its functional categories was a good one back at the beginning of the last century when building cars on a factory line.
In the Industrial Age each of the individual units on a production line were connected by a top down hierarchy that controlled every moving part of the factory.
If you have ever started a business from scratch, you know this method is absolutely necessary in the beginning. But as a business grows, it becomes more about what connects its individual parts.
Today information moves too fast for the control and command methods of the past… at least if you want your business to reach it full potential. Now it’s all about self organization, where a constant feedback loop creates an opportunity to integrate an ecosystem of connectivity and continuous improvement.
I think it was Aristotle that first said: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” True connection happens when people share a set of beliefs within a common purpose. This leads to better results, because the beliefs and purpose as a whole exist within the individual parts of your business instead of it individual parts simply making up the whole business.
What story do your people tell about their place within your organization? Are they empowered with decision-making responsibilities and encouraged to bring fresh ideas to resolve organizational challenges? Or are they isolated within an operational island of disconnection, unable to see how the organization exists within the work they do?
Today business can get by with a certain amount of disconnection, but in the near future this will not be the case. Waiting for a weekly report or a monthly analysis to measure performance will no longer be sufficient. There is a bright future ahead for companies that strive to make connections across every part of an organization.
The question is: Do you want your business to be about the whole within its parts or about the sum of its parts?
There is so much talk about disruption these days and typically it has to do with innovation.
A new company or product hits the market and displaces existing market leaders — and even eliminates entire industries over time.
The 12 original components selected by Charles Dow to make up his original Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896 were: American Cotton Oil; American Sugar; American Tobacco; Chicago Gas; Distilling & Cattle Feeding; General Electric[ Laclede Gas;National Lead; North American; Tennessee Coal & Iron; U.S. Leather Preferred; and U.S. Rubber.
Not one of these companies is on the Dow today and most of them no longer exist.
What they all have in common is they have experienced the effects disruption through innovation.
Disruption is the interruption of process, work flow or sequence. And innovation is a new idea, a modern thought or a better application.
But innovation did not always have this positive connotation. In the early settlement of America, innovation was a negative concept that meant rebellion, revolt or even heresy.
Come to think about it, today, innovation and disruption are good or bad depending on where your business is when it happens.
Clayton M Christensen said, “Disruption is a process, not an event, and innovations can only be disruptive relative to something else.”
What if the “something else” is under performance in an area of your business?
Like a pounding drum, each passing day marches a disruptive process closer to your business.
Can you hear the drum?
It’s a subtle change it the order of operations… the elimination of an unnecessary step.
It is the distant drone of shifting markets or the internal silence of a fixed mindset.
Is your business ready for the next big market move?
Markets move fast, and large companies are slow to change, but a small one can spin on a dime.
If you operate a small to medium size company, disruption can be a good thing.
Because what can be disrupted will be disrupted. It is only a matter of time. And there are significant risks if ignored and significant opportunity if embraced.
As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said:
“In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!”
Because nothing stays the same forever, at some point, some kind of change is needed if you want your business to keep growing.
But knowing exactly what to do and when to do it isn’t always easy.
Sometimes it can feel like the only thing you can do is to take a leap of faith.
In its most commonly used meaning, a leap of faith is the act of believing in or accepting something outside the boundaries of reason.
Faith plays an essential role in our personal lives, but when it comes to making objective business decisions, accepting something outside the boundaries of reason is simply bad business.
Because there are ways to know what you need to know, faith is not necessary in its literal sense.
Now a leap, on the other hand, is very useful in making business decisions, because once you have the information you need, it is time to jump into action.
Paralysis by analysis is the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken. And a rush to judgement can result in bad outcomes simply because the proper time was not given to consider a person or situation.
These are two kinds of cognitive bias that can negatively impact results, and rarely do we recognize them until they do.
Today there is no shortage of information, but the key is to slow down your decisions whenever possible.
And when it is time to make a change, have faith in knowing there is always a way to gather all the information you need, and, once you have it, take the leap that moves your business forward.
According to our Q3 Retail Foot Traffic Benchmark Report, 41 minutes is the average time a potential customer visits a furniture store to make a purchase.
Contrast this with the 7 year repeat purchase rate, and the phrase “there is no time like the present” can take on significant meaning.
For most people, time just seems to be something ticking in the background. But not for you…
As the world rotates on its axis and circles the sun, your advertising reaches across space and time to customers who will visit your store years into the future. And when they do, 41 minutes may be all you get before they are gone, perhaps for another 7 years.
John Archibald Wheeler said time is what stops everything from happening all at once.
What does stop everything at once is a camera. A click of a lens captures a moment in time and freezes it for an eternity…
Well, maybe not an eternity.
This is why we publish the Doorcounts Retail Foot Traffic Benchmark Report. It gives our customers a way to stop everything all at once (real-time) and compare what the Doorcounts Retail Sales Cloud data is telling them about where they’ve been and how they got to where they are.
And while the sun moves across the sky, retail shoppers come and go like shadows changing in direction and length, as days turn into nights, ushering in each new season until the next time they return to buy again.
“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone?”
Joni Mitchell is right…
Too many times we only know about an opportunity after it happens.
A window opens and lets in a breeze of opportunities… And then it closes again.
It’s that period of time in which suitable action can achieve success.
But how can we identify this moment and do something in real time?
Maybe we never totally can, but here are three things we can do:
Seek first to understand.
Things are not always what they seem. But they can seem like they are when we become familiar with our surroundings and what we are seeing. This is especially true when it come to your foot traffic data.
We see it every day. A long-time customer decides to level up, reaches out to our team and improves their business.
All it usually takes is a step back to see things from a different point of view.
Know when to connect.
It is only once we have someone’s attention that we can effectively connect with them to deliver our message about how we can help them get what they are searching for…
…not by persuasion but through inspiration…
..through meaningful engagement at the peak of their attention, like when someone walks into your store for the first time, ready to buy.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. Better yet, treat others the way THEY want to be treated.
This is about empathy and respect.
There is tremendous power in unconditional respect. It opens the window for dignity and fairness, especially when someone does not expect it from you. The window of opportunity opens every time someone walks into your store and closes when they leave without connecting to a salesperson.
The key is to see when it happens and be ready to take action when it does.
Our Q3 Benchmark Report will be available soon. If you are not getting it in your inbox, click here.
Could you be losing sales for no reason other than you think you are?
Sometimes selling (and everyone sells something) can feel like you are in one of those dreams where, no matter how loud you speak, no one can hear you.
That’s what it feels like when I realize I am so close to a situation that I can’t see what’s really happening.
Do you know what I mean?
Have you ever had that feeling that the answer is within arm’s reach but you just can’t put your finger on it?
But sometimes a feeling is all you need to make something a reality.
Our intuition can create a self-fulfilling prophecy that will make something come true.
Take the economy, for instance. Right now the yield curve for treasury bonds is inverted, which means short term bonds pay more than long term bonds. This is a leading indicator of a slowing economy and, even, a recession.
But whether or not an indicator is right or wrong, we can make It so.
For instance, a CFO of a large company gets an indication of a slowing economy and decides to hold off on spending which, in turn, fulfills what the indicator was signaling.
Now this indicator may be right, or it may be wrong, but how we feel about it causes us to take action. This begins a self-fulfilling prophecy and a constant feedback loop that continues until another indicator says the coast is clear. If enough CFOs act in the same way, we can end up in a recession.
It’s like watching something happen in slow motion.
But it’s better to be safe than sorry. Right?
And it’s definitely better than being caught completely by surprise, like what happened from 2007 to 2009.
During the last recession, there were plenty of indicators that pointed to what would come.
Just like seasons in the year, there are times that the likelihood of a sunny day is high, and there are other times when it’s a good idea to have an umbrella handy.
The good news is that all indications point to a positive 4th quarter!
Whatever you think the situation is, instead of relying on how you feel, make sure you have the best info to see what is happening, and be as prepared as you can be.
Our Q3 Benchmark Report can help, and it will be out in the next couple days.
It’s in the click from a thousand miles away and every time your door opens.
It’s in the moment a salesperson connects with a first time shopper and when a lifelong customer returns to buy again.
It’s the insight that helps you make better business decisions.
It’s your retail foot traffic data, and it is essential to your future success.
The phrase “door opener” is about the beginning of an opportunity.
On a metaphorical level a door can become an entrance to almost anything, but it is most commonly used to symbolize the entrance to another world. In business this means a world of insights into the hopes, dreams and aspirations of what our customers really want and need… Not just the external material things, but the internal need for creative expression, human connection, acceptance and, dare I say, even life’s meaning.
Now that’s a heck of a lot to expect from your retail foot traffic data!
When a door is locked it keeps people out, and when a door is opened connections are made and possibilities are realized.
But what about you?
Is your traffic data locked behind a door of mystery? Are you left to predict what’s happening, making metaphors to try and explain what is unknown?
Even when we think we have the answers, there are things unseen, hidden from sight.
One of the oldest metaphors using a door is when Jesus explains what it takes for a rich man to get into heaven. In it, he says it is easier for a camel to pass through “the eye of a needle”. The eye of the needle has been claimed to be a narrow door leading into the City of Jerusalem when the main gate was closed at night for security. It is said to be too small for a camel to pass through unless it was stooped and had its baggage removed.
Here, a literal door provides a metaphor about how to see deeper meaning into one of life’s greatest mysteries.
But the answer to how to grow your business is no mystery. It lies in your ability to collect essential data and use it to improve every shopping experience and maximize every sales opportunity.
Each year, hundreds-maybe even thousands-of people travel from all directions and pass through a seven foot wide door to enter your store, with hopes of finding what they are searching for.
The question is, when they do, will you have the data you need to help them find it?
A good place to start is to get the Doorcounts Retail Traffic Benchmark Series delivered directly to your inbox.
Around 8 out of 10 people who visit a furniture or appliance store leave with out buying (according to our 2019 Benchmark Series).
Make it 7 out of 10 and you get a 50% increase to your conversion rate! Not bad, eh?
The average foot traffic conversion rate is about 27%—with a range of 16 to 38%.
I don’t know about you, but these numbers are downright unsettling. Especially if your conversion rate is at the lower end of our research.
Think about it… Going from the bottom 16% to the top 38% would be more than a 100% increase to your retail foot traffic conversion rate.
What’s the difference between the low and high number, you ask?
Well, there are many factors to consider, none more important than belief… belief that something is possible—belief not just by you but by your people as well.
I believe in what J.M. Barrie wrote in Peter Pan:
“The moment you doubt you can fly, you cease forever to be able to.” Well maybe not so much the, “…you cease for ever to be able to” part. Because I believe we can decide to believe change is possible and make it so.
The “make it so” is the key, because believing alone is not enough.
Action is required.
Constant action to make a belief a reality is what successful retailers like you do. By daring to believe, you set in motion the actions that inspire others to welcome change and encourage them to believe in what they can achieve.
You show them the routines and rituals, the steady execution of the smallest of tasks, carried out step by step. This is the daily evidence that builds momentum and encourages progress toward a desired outcome.
But there is something else…
Something much less tangible. Something way more essential than following rules-based rituals and routines.
It is the principles we choose to guide us that truly make the difference.
Equipped with the right guiding principles, your team is empowered to choose the right way. Not to mindlessly follow a set of mundane tasks, but instead, to think about the best action based on the appropriate principle.
But guiding principles are something we must choose for ourselves. They cannot be simply mandated.
So with this in mind, here are 4 guiding principles the Doorcounts team rely on to serve our customers:
What gets measured gets improved
This one is a no brainier. The problem usually is not whether to measure something, but what and how to measure it. This is why we dig into the data that leads to better results, so you don’t have to.
80% of the effect comes from 20% of the cause
You may know this as the Pareto principle (also know as the 80/20 Rule, the Law of a Vital Few, or the Principle of Factor Sparsity). The approach here is to analyze the top 20% of data samples with the understanding that herein lies best practices and the insights that lead to opportunities for greater improvement.
150 is the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships
Known as Dunbar’s number, it deals with how many relationships an individual can effectively maintain. Bottom line is, there’s a maximum number of opportunities your salespeople can effectively manage, and if they are over that limit you are losing sales.
The annual price of a product or service should yield a 10x return to the customer
Knowing how to price your product or service is always a challenge. This is why we created an ROI calculator that is designed to deliver a 10x ROI for every 1% increase you make to your retail store foot traffic conversion rate.
2019 is rapidly coming to an end. Give your team the belief they need to finish the year strong and get the jump on 2020. And if we can help, let us know.
Because, most of all, I believe what Ray Dalio , in his book, Principles, said is true:
“The greatest gift you can give someone is the power to be successful.”
There’s a famous line from the 1932 film, The Western Code, that goes:
“This town ain’t big enough for the both of us and I’m going to give you 24 hours to get out!”
At final showdown, the bad guy reaches for his gun but the Sheriff gets the drop on him before he can fire a shot.
Like the bad guy in an old Western, incomplete (bad) traffic data can cast a dark shadow over every opportunity to grow your business. This is typically due to an inadequate approach to collecting, measuring and comparing essential information.
With the bad data out of the picture, possibility creates openness and a culture of fairness that inspires your team to reach higher and encourages them to keep improving.
In the classic tale this is how the story begins:
All is well, but there is trouble riding into town. The townsfolk don’t even see it coming, and when trouble arrives they don’t know what to do.
Is this like your business?
According to a recent report by Smith Leonard, “year-to-date, new furniture orders fell to 3% lower than the same period in 2018 with 70% reporting lower orders year to date.”
This is the kind of market movement that can be the beginning of a dark cloud over any business and, like the townsfolk in our film, there’s nothing your people can do to control it.
But what you can control is the little things, the small wins sometimes hidden far from sight and hard to reach.
I’m talking about the insights hidden within a comparison of your salespeople’s average conversion rate, a sudden drop in average tickets, daily traffic counts and more.
And, even if you have good data and all the latest tools, it is easy to lose your edge and fail to implement best practices over time.
It happens to all of us…
There are just those times where opportunity escapes our grasp and can lead to a mindset of limitations, mediocrity, even cynicism or worse.
Blind spots and illusions about the data play tricks on our brain and make us see things not as they are. This is because our brains are hardwired to maintain the status quo and will go to great lengths to avoid change that might come from seeing things differently.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have become an essential part of helping to solve many challenging problems in data management and will continue to play a bigger role in the future.
But maybe all you need is a fresh perspective—a way to see things in a new light.
This is where our Quarterly Benchmark Series could help. Because maybe what you need is an easy way to compare your business to your peers and know what you can do to improve. Being in business today means it is totally possible to see clearly and add value with fewer tools and a smaller investment than ever before. The possibility is your traffic data becomes so integral to your business, that every detail gives you the instant feedback you need to stay fully connected to what is happening the moment it happens.
Now there is no place where bad information about your foot-traffic can hide from the long arm of real-time business intelligence.
So, like the sheriff in a Western that saves the day, you can save your business from the negative effects of incomplete data, so your company can reach its full potential and grow faster than ever.
Rare is the occasion when you utilize the full power of the technology tools available to grow your business.
I am talking about the advanced features—the ones that require a deeper dive into understanding and implementation.
Part of the reason is that when we implement a new technology, procedure or workflow, we typically do it from the inside out. This is because the people leading the implementation are usually experts in the technology, not in satisfying customers and growing sales.
And the people facing customers have little time to learn and implement new technologies, procedures and workflows.
What you end up with is either an organization driven (or limited) by the capabilities of its technology tools or one that organizes its technology to satisfy its customers’ experiences.
The former is like a hammer, and every new challenge is a nail. The latter is about the right tool for the job, especially when the job is to satisfy every shopping experience and maximize every sales opportunity.
In your business, at any given time, you and your people can be going through every imaginable situation life has to offer… the good and the bad… the ups and the downs… all while you are doing your best to make your most intelligent business decisions and grow.
But to make an intelligent decision you need information.
Many times in our lives, we are required to make decisions regardless of whether we have the information we need or not. The opportunity arises, the situation presents itself, and you must decide.
And as we know, all too well, no decision is a decision.
Some of the hardest decisions are the ones where you will not see immediate results. Now, not only do you need information about making a decision, but you need ongoing information about the decision you made.
This is where a meaningful set of guiding principles and key performance benchmarks can help. Like the ones in our Retail Benchmark Series.
Too much information leaves you blinded by information overload, and not enough can keep you in the dark.
But time marches on and there are decisions to be made.
And the million dollar question remains:
How much information does it take to make an intelligent business decision? The answer is… the right amount of information! Not just any information, but the right amount, when and where you need it.
No more. No less.
“A rising tide lifts all boats” is an aphorism associated with the idea that an improved economy will benefit all participants.
Most business owners would agree that a strong economy makes it easier to win.
But when things are going well, it is also easier to stop making the improvements you need to stay competitive. This can leave your business exposed to underperformance when the economic tide eventually goes out.
As Warren Buffet once said, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who has been swimming naked.”
You may be worried about the exposure to the effects of a slowing economy on your business. If you are, you might want to schedule a call with one of our specialists to get a free traffic analysis and see how we can help you increase your revenue.
On the other hand, you may be performing at the high end of our Benchmark Report. If this is the case, Congratulations!
And if you are already a Doorcounts™ customer, you may not be aware of the many improvements we’ve made in 2019 alone. These improvements are a part of our guiding principle of continuous improvement.
… because the thing about continuous improvement is, whether the economic tide is high or low, you know you are always wearing a swimsuit.
Just as there are seasons in a year, there are business cycles in our economy.
In the same way that spring brings the promise of new growth, the first phase in a business cycle signals economic expansion. Economic expansion leads to a peak and, like summer leads to fall, the peak phase of a business cycle ends in a recession. A recession is followed by the trough phase which is the winter of an economic business cycle.
From the years 1945 to 2009, the National Bureau of Economic Research has identified eleven business cycles, with the average cycle lasting slightly over 5-1/2 years.
The current business cycle has lasted over 10 years… the longest in history.
An Indian Summer is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn.
Like an Indian summer, the peak phase of the current business cycle feels like an economic recession will never come. But we know better, and you may already be seeing signs of a recession in your business.
And, like the seasons of the year, the economic business cycle has its purpose.
No cycle is the same, and each phase is an opportunity to grow your business… not only during the expansion but during the recession and trough phases as well. These are times for pruning things back and integrating new systems. So, like spring, when economic expansion returns, you can maximize the growth of your business.
In a few weeks the Doorcounts team will be releasing our white paper on The Store of the Future. Sign up today and get it delivered to your inbox the moment it’s finished.
“Can’t see the forest for the trees..” is part of an expression used when you are too close or too involved to see something you need to see.
This is where averages can be useful. They let you zoom out on the situation. They give you a broader view.
Sometimes all you need is to take a step back to see things clearly. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
You may recall that we wrote about a tree in the forest on page 11 in our Q1 Benchmark Report.
Like the trees in a forest, your business consists of a lot of data, but it’s possible you could be too close to see what you need to see. And like a tree that falls in the forest that no one is around to hear, there are things you can ever really know.
The thing about making sense of the data in your business is that you need a lot of it over time to see what is happening. And you need the right data in the right format.
The key is to collect the essential data about your business every day and organize it in a way that is useful.
Looking at averages is just one way to see your data. But not all averages are created equal. For example, there are the mean, median, and mode averages, and each has it purpose.
I once heard someone jokingly say: “If you put one foot on a block of ice and another on a fire, your average temperature would be just right.”
This is an example of the misuse of a mean average.
That’s the thing about averages… context matters. And, within the proper context, averages can be a powerful tool… like when you compare the average number of engagements to daily tickets, you get a salesperson’s conversion rate.
There are many ways to see your data and improve your business. But there may be times that you are too close and need to take a step back to see the forest through the trees. And like a tree that falls in the forest when no one is around to hear it, there may be things you can never really know.
In a couple of weeks, the Doorcounts™ team will be releasing our white paper on the store of the future. Make sure you are signed up to get an early release as soon as it’s finished.
It’s ironic that it can be easier to connect to someone halfway around the world on the internet than it is to connect the moment someone enters your store.
Our benchmark research shows that an average of 13% of shoppers who visit a large-ticket retail store leave without ever properly connecting to a salesperson.
The “Customer Buying Journey” is a popular way to describe how a potential customer finds your business and makes a purchase. At a high level, the 3 stages are: Curiosity, Enlightenment and Commitment. There are many more levels depending on how detailed you want to get.
Regardless of the number of stages, almost every large-ticket purchase either starts with “see online” and ends with “buy in store” or vice versa. This gives large-ticket brick-and-mortar retailers an advantage over their internet-only competition… because customers want to physically see and try out what they are buying. And they want to talk to a salesperson when they do.
If you’ve been in business for the past two decades, you’ve seen a lot of change…but nothing like what is happening today.
To keep up, over the years, you may have patched together legacy systems with proprietary programs as a work-around solution. Today it’s called stacking, and entire industries are being disrupted literally overnight as new applications are stacked to create a seamless experience for your customers.
Gone are the days of outbound marketing alone. Advertising works, but simply advertising and counting on a certain percentage of people to show up and buy is no longer sufficient.
Those were the “good ole days” but these days are better if you can keep up with the times.
So the question is “When does your customer become a customer?” Is it the moment they begin investing time to make a purchase or only after a purchase is made?
The answer to this question can transform your business, if you can make a meaningful connection at the point a potential customer starts an internet search, or at the moment she enters your store.
There is no way to avoid disruption to your business caused by adding a new location, a change of location, or even a remodel. These are physical or external changes.
But what about the disruption caused by internal changes such as improving workflows or the performance of your team?
This kind of change can create an internal conflict in the minds of your people.
The dilemma posed by an internal conflict usually takes the form of an emotional or philosophical question. An emotional question might be, “Am I good enough?” or “What was it I did wrong?” A philosophical question might be something like, “Why can’t things stay the same? Why do they always have to change?”
Watch almost any movie and you are seeing internal conflict as it plays out. It is the struggle that occurs within a character’s mind… like when the character wants something, but just can’t reach it.
In the movie Star Wars, the hero, Luke Skywalker, practices every day and dreams of being a Jedi Knight. Then the change happens that calls him to action. He questions his ability, is encouraged by his mentor, faces his fears, and wins the day.
Your people are the heroes in your company’s story. Fortunately, in real life, most change happens slowly and doesn’t threaten the entire existence of your business. But, to your people, change can cause internal conflict that impacts their emotional and philosophical mindset, and, ultimately, their performance.
The key is to create a culture that embraces change by making it a regular part of your everyday operations… Because if you want to improve, there is no way to avoid change and the disruption it causes.
The question is: How much change can you spare when it comes to growing your business?
Can you remember every detail and decision that got your business to where it is today?
Of course you can’t… (Watch this video series and see how you can!) These memories are buried in mountains of information that make the human brain an unreliable source for accurately recalling history.
A modern gold mine moves 4 tons of earth for every ounce of gold it produces.
We don’t expect the facts of the past to be as easily recognized as grains of gold glittering in the sand; nor do we expect the knowledge of past experiences to be effortlessly deployed into meaningful action.
This is because uncovering essential insights from past experiences can feel like sorting through tons of trivial detail to find the nuggets you need to move your business forward.
Most people love history. We want to know about the past because it teaches us valuable things, both about others, and ourselves.
One of your primary responsibilities as a business leader is to learn from the past by constantly subjecting it to critical scrutiny. Have you ever had an idea that didn’t work but you just couldn’t see why? How about an idea that worked so well you stopped doing it?
Both of these questions offer particular lessons, and objective comparison could be especially illuminating. But such a comparison can be intellectually rigorous, taking into account the complexities of each situation to carefully weigh their similarities and differences.
This would require comparing two completely different sets of data and an array of variables… that is, if the data was actually collected in the first place.
Herein lies the problem: If you don’t collect the data, real-time, it won’t be available in the future when you need it.
The data you collect today about your business is tomorrow’s grains of gold glittering in the sands of your future success.
Our introduction video ends by saying:
“Either you are closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to see, or you are unaware of how many people are walking away.”
There are things we cannot see without the help of another point of view. This point of view can be through the eyes of another person, or through the lens of a device designed to help us see what the naked eye cannot.
This also works in reverse.
We may be unaware of how we are seen–how what we are doing is affecting our results and the lives of others.
Another possibility is that we are choosing not to see something. Maybe because if we did, we would have to make an uncomfortable change.
This may not be you at all. There may be people who don’t want you to see something because of the changes you would make.
Or what if you simply didn’t know there was a way to see something?
Take our Q2 Retail Benchmark Report for instance. Maybe you didn’t know there was a way to compare your business to a wide array of peer performance metrics.
Is your business operating at the low end of our Benchmark Report, or is it at the high end?
Or could it be that you don’t even know what your conversion rate is? In which case, you could have a blind spot…
You could have a blind spot that is preventing you from seeing the full potential of your business.
We all have blind spots. The question is, what are you going to do about yours?
Some people prefer to close their eyes to a situation they do not wish to see. Others are simply unaware of how many people are walking away without buying.
Which one are you?
Maybe neither, in which case you are probably operating your business at the high end of our Q2 Retail Benchmark Report.