Our 10 Key Takeaways to Retail Execution Excellence


In the fast-paced and technology-assisted world we live in, organisations using digital tools to enhance their retail execution is a common sight. Unfortunately, about 70% of company strategy changes fail. Research into strategy changes has uncovered that the primary root cause for strategy failure is the separation between strategy and execution. Separation in discipline and process, in mindset and action.

With the ever-increasing pressure from e-commerce and increased expectations from Omni customers, a strong retail execution strategy is critical to retailers.

Look for the unseen, listen for the unsaid

Retail execution can seem simple on paper; get the right people to do the right things, in the right way, at the right time. In reality, retail execution is a Hydra, a many-headed monster. It covers many disciplines such as store openings, assortment optimisation, performance analysis, sales & service, marketing, just to mention a few.

Because of the complicated nature of retail execution, it is understandable that managers overlook the invisible factors which work as both drivers and barriers. These factors include communication, leadership abilities, motivation, and habits. All of which impact organisational layers. Despite being invisible, these factors can be a spoke in the wheel or work as a lever of force for retail execution.

This dilemma is particularly true for large retailers with store networks. As they can no longer compete on product range or price, customer experience is where they can flourish.

Simplify front-line execution

An obvious solution to this dilemma is for retailers to simplify their strategy execution. Obvious but difficult. A big step in the right direction is to simplify and align the front-line execution. This means consistent, scalable, and engaging communication between HQ, managers, and in-store staff.

This is something we have helped multiple organisations do through the ATOBI app-suite. By aligning KPI reports, training initiatives, VM guides, and more, managers and staff have time to focus on what matters, customer experience.

Below we have gathered the 10 best tips for organisations wanting to kickstart their retail execution.

10 point checklist for better retail execution:
  1. Implement one communication channel, rather than using emails, intranets, instant messages, etc.
  2. Shift from pull to push. Store managers are expected to keep themselves updated on a vast amount of information. On busy days (aren’t they all?), this does not get done. Rather than information overload, prioritise information and push the most relevant when needed.
  3. Reorient information to be action-oriented. 96 page VM guides seldom get read. Convert training into small and easily digestible actions.
  4. Give field and district managers the power to prioritise information to stores, as well as a tool to direct store focus and monitor progress.
  5. Pre-produce specific action plans focused on improving KPIs. Store managers will, therefore, have the tools to improve results.
  6. Monitor store manager progress on critical tasks and action plans – and give feedback. The optimum performance feedback ratio is 4:1; four times as much positive as corrective feedback.
  7. Integrate sales and product training with campaigns, competitions, and KPI improvements. Placing training within real-life goals and examples not only makes it more relevant but also promotes a holistic approach to retail execution.
  8. Focus on habits, as they control 50-80% of human behaviour.
  9. Put engagement and motivation in the front seat. Allow store managers to communicate easily with each other and show them how they can improve themselves and their teams.
  10. Do not send out information and expect stores to act on it. “If they only know it and want to do it, they will do it”. Unfortunately, this just does not work.

If this has sparked your interest and you want to learn more about how to optimise your retail execution, book a demo, and we will put you on the track to reach and exceed your goals!