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Top 7 KPIs Store Operators Need to Manage

Store operators are charged with creating a positive shopping experience, and there are a number of store key performance indicators (KPIs) that all operators need to use to judge their success. These KPIs apply to the vast majority of stores, from mid-sized to big box. Let’s get right into these KPIs that store operators need to collect data on in order to improve customer experience. 

1. Associate Training Programs 

Your employees are at the frontline and they have the ability to improve the experience of each and every shopper. All retailers invest heavily in training (to the tune of $1,200 to $1,900 per employee) and in years past it was hard to determine whether or not employees were following that training in their everyday customer interactions. Store operators need to know if customers are greeted, whether they are asked about loyalty programs, and given full product information, such as information on warranties and features. 

In addition, store operators can have mobile mystery shoppers walk around several different areas of the store to see what associates are working on. They can receive this data based on specific questions that ask shoppers whether they encounter any employees stocking shelves, pricing, working on displays, talking with other associates, and beyond. Next, mystery shoppers can report back on whether any of those employees working on specific tasks greeted them or offered assistance. A store operator needs eyes and ears on the sales floor and that’s exactly what mobile mystery shoppers provide. 

An image of shopping carts.

2. Front of Store Conditions  

First impressions matter. When shoppers first enter your store, what do they see? There should be shopping carts available to start their shopping trip off on the right foot. What about greetings? Each and every shopper should feel noticed with a warm welcome as they enter the store. Particular stores might have unique greetings explained in employee training, are those being followed? Store KPIs that operators need to keep track of are the ones that impact the customer experience most.  

3. Store Cleanliness 

Once a shopper is greeted and gets a shopping cart, store operators need to ensure that their stores are clean and tidy. Unruly aisles create confusion and can turn away even the most loyal customers. If shoppers don’t feel comfortable in your store, then you are not meeting your store KPIs. But with the help of in-store data, you can determine what’s going wrong at the store level and get it corrected as soon as possible.  

4. Associate Time to Assist 

An important in-store KPI is how long it takes a shopper to be helped by an employee. Shoppers don’t want to roam aisles looking for someone to help them. Well-staffed stores should be able to find shoppers quickly and answer any questions in a timely fashion. Mobile mystery shoppers can easily test time to assist across locations using Wiser’s in-store data collection app (watch MSNBC reporter JJ Ramberg put it to the test here). Armed with their smartphone, shoppers can go to specific areas of the store and time how long it takes for an employee to offer assistance. Beyond that, store operators can have mystery shoppers ask about certain products to determine how effective product-specific training has been.  

An image of an employee standing next to self-serve area in a grocery store.

5. Out of Stocks 

Out of stocks happen occasionally, but the speed at which employees correct the issue determines how much of an impact it will have. The average product in an aisle should be consistently stocked and this becomes even more important for end caps. They are designed to attract attention and encourage sales, but what about when those end caps are out of stock? That leads to a bad customer experience and missed opportunities for the brand in question. When smartphone-enabled mystery shoppers enter your store, have them locate specific endcaps and report back on how they look and how well-stocked they are. Stock level is one in-store KPI that store operators can’t ignore because it will make or break sales.   

6. Checkout Line 

There are a few critical questions store operators need the answers to in order to accurately report back on their checkout KPIs.  

  • How many cashiers are open at any given time?  
  • How long are the checkout lines? 
  • How long does the line take? 

All three of these impact the customer experience. Shoppers want to be able to enter your store, find what they’re looking for, and buy it without friction. Quantifying this data is the only way to improve performance.  

This is an aerial view of a clothing store, with racks of clothes and accessories on a table.

7. Checkout Experience  

While shoppers may not enjoy waiting in line, it is a store operator’s duty to make it a positive experience. Each shopper checking out should be greeted, asked if they found what they were looking for, and thanked for their purchase. Are all of your employees accomplishing this? Put mobile mystery shoppers on the case and get the data you need to improve on such an important KPI for store operators.  

What KPIs do you use to measure success in your stores? Feel free to leave a comment with your response to add to the discussion.  

 Need better data to inform your decisions? Whether in-store or online, Wiser has you covered from pricing to assortment to promotions. Schedule a meeting today to learn how to turn retail data into action.  

Angelica Valentine

Angelica Valentine is the Marketing Manager at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions, and a contributor to VentureBeat, Business Insider, The Future Customer Engagement and Commerce, and more. She holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University.

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