By Brian Walker
CEO & Founder, Retail Doctor Group

“Consistency of performance is essential. You don’t have to be exceptional every week but as a minimum you need to be at a level that even on a bad day you get points on the board.” – Sean Dyche

One interesting aspect that has entered our retail vernacular in recent times, or perhaps been omitted is the C Word in retailing.

And it’s just so politically incorrect these days to not mention Cyberspace, Crypto, Customer experience and possibly even Congruence of Channels.

No shortage of the C words in our sector, however, the largest and most currently important retail metric, especially in a contracting currency market (got to love those C words) is in fact the good old fashioned, unsexy, even tedious hard work to achieve retail growth and that word is:


That is putting a product into the hands of skilful motivated retail teams and placing that product in danger of being sold, and possibly even sold with a companion in a consistent brand supporting manner.

And with all the changes afoot within our sector – have we gotten fitter (consistently better) in achieving an increase in sales and service standards such that we could lift our retail sales and margin increases?

Here’s some evidence that might influence our thinking

Recently our deployment team reviewed over 1000 Mystery shopper reports that we provided to customers over the last few years.

Interestingly, in data spreads to a 100 percent score, and a common trend includes:
  • Retailers generally present well over 85% on average
  • Staff are generally pleasant and attentive generally over 75% on average
And it’s when we want “the product to be in danger of being sold’ we see the decline in averages, notably:
  • Opening the sale averaging 60%
  • Probing and solution sets averaging 70%
  • The add on sale averaging 45%
  • Closing the sale averaging 40%

Now these are averages, and you can imagine what the ranges look like, however they are generally quite clustered close to the mean.

The common ingredient amongst lower scores is staff member confidence, notably:
  • Knowledge of product and ability to determine the features and benefits of a product.
  • The ability of training to “test” staff member understanding
  • Making training incremental and interesting to the recipient.
  • The role of coaching to help guide and monitor enhanced performance.

The value of good training culturally, in staff retention, and productivity are all a given.

And economically? How often do we measure the cost of poor service?

Poor service has often been described as the most expensive cost to many retail businesses.

Try measuring the effect in your business by:

Looking at your number of yearly transactions, your average sale, extrapolate this to an increase of 10% (10% more sale transactions and 10% increase in the average transaction value). Then, add this increase in sales to your profit and loss with little additional expenses and you will be amazed at the difference to the bottom line; it could be as much a 50%, 75% or even 100% increase in profits.

Effective training, coupled with measurement, incremental increases and a winning culture is worth its weight in gold. Good retailers know this and invest in staff to provide that extra service that is remembered by customers which causes them to return time and again. In addition, they mention a good experience to their friends as readily as they mention poor service, effectively building your brand credentials for you.

Don’t get caught in the mass market of average, vanilla service. Stand out and be the best by investing in your front-line people. The rewards can be your gold.

Interested in lifting your sales and margin by 10-20% and above? Talk to the Deployment team at Retail Doctor Group – (Peter, Josh, David at or check out