Merchandisers know the scenario well: The holiday display is supposed to be up to specifications a full-month before the festivities begin. But come that dreary day when the manager comes to check, employees are scrambling to get it done—hanging banners in the wrong place, arranging products on the wrong shelves.
Where’s the disconnect? Are employees simply not on task, or does the problem lie with organizing, communicating, and training for these moments?
If execution is a problem you have regularly, no matter which employees are on the roster, chances are the quality of the planning, training, and communication is the culprit.
WorkJam, a digital workplace platform that incorporates messaging, training, task management, and other tools, can solve many pain points that bedevil merchandisers, whether in setting up seasonal displays or managing merchandise on the daily.
Here are six ways that a digital workplace can help merchandisers.
1. Merchandising checklist form creation
The head office has definite rules on how merchandising should be prioritized in given store locations. A merchandising checklist can communicate those directives with ease but developing an effective one is no easy task. The checklist form must be sufficiently clear, devoid of repetition, and flexible enough to be enacted at each store.
District managers can help create a workable form, but the back-and-forth required to obtain and collate their feedback can be chaotic. District managers can use communication and collaboration tools WorkJam offers to access the merchandising checklist draft and offer feedback within the platform. And as a result, the head office gets streamlined input on how to calibrate the form to create clear, concise standards that will work for all locations.
2. Signage setup
It can difficult for managers to convey exactly where and how signs should be put up. Employees may be confused and lack an easy way to ask for timely guidance, leading them to take their best guest—and quite possibly get it wrong. Managers may need to direct a redo at the eleventh hour, wasting their employees’ time and energy, and frustrating everyone.
With WorkJam, in-platform training, video, and communication channels allow managers to provide explicit, easy-to-follow instructions that employees can refer to as they work with signage, including video guidance. If employees are confused, they can quickly ask for clarification, including by recording their own videos to demonstrate the spatial situation they’re working with. Managers can give explicit instructions in real time, even when they’re not in the store.
3. Staff training
Training staff on merchandising is a major lift for managers since product stocking and display are major, complex, and ever-changing parts of retail employees’ work. Creating seasonal displays requires very different training than day-to-day merchandise-management, so mangers must consider how to train for both types of merchandising while simultaneously keeping the store running smoothly.
With WorkJam’s training tools, employees can easily access relevant training and use gamification to stay motivated to complete required sessions. In-platform videos can enhance training for spatially oriented tasks. And task management tools allow frontline employees to see all the tasks-to-be-done for a project or a shift, including details for execution.
4. Seasonal programs or rotating displays execution
With so many holidays and other events throughout the year, creating the correct seasonal and rotating displays in the right way at the right time takes careful coordination and execution. Managers have the complex task of making sure employees know when and how to proceed for each event in the merchandising calendar.
WorkJam’s in-platform task management, training, and targeted communication can assist managers in making sure staff is on-target with every display that needs to go up. Employees can receive alerts, see task checklists, access training videos and guidance, and ask questions for feedback, all through a single platform.
Managers must be able to quickly identify and address merchandising problems as they arise. Having a full suite of communication, training, and feedback tools available in a single place is a useful asset for busy managers who don’t have time to trouble-shoot.
With WorkJam, employees can mark completed tasks with a timestamp and video feedback, allowing managers to track progress and identify problems. Managers can use the platform to communicate immediately when something goes wrong. And task management and training tools allow managers to designate who is responsible for rectifying each problem, set a target dates for resolution, and offer advice or video demonstrations about how to resolve the issue.
WorkJam makes merchandisers’ lives easier. Once they start using the integrated platform to manage their teams, they often can’t imagine how they ever accomplished it before.
6.Get feedback directly from the frontlines
Merchandisers crave information – it’s critical for them to understand how their category is performing and be able to make adjustments quickly to optimize sell-through and avoid markdowns. While spreadsheet upon spreadsheet pours back into headquarters for them to look over, there’s nothing quite like the qualitative feedback that comes from a frontline associate directly communicating back to a category owner how things are going in the store – how customers are reacting to the products
With WorkJam’s communications module, merchandisers have a direct line of communication to frontline associates. They can shoot a video on their phone and explain why they chose the products and displays they chose or broadcast messages to them. Several of WorkJam’s customers merchandising teams say that this is a game changer in terms of getting the frontline associates – the most important employees in the customer journey – bought into their strategy. Imagine what possibilities open up for a merchandiser when they can explain the products, the strategy, and get feedback on how things are playing out so they can make adjustments in real time.