5 Important Steps you need to take in 2020

Read Time: 6 minutes

So, let me begin by saying I apologize for the delay in getting you our first article of 2020, but with Global Pet coming, and lots of great changes to our organization it was hard to find the time.  Not to mention I really wanted this first article to be more of a message of hope since I felt like 2019 was more about ‘Doom and Gloom,’ I want 2020 to be more about the inherent hope of new beginnings. 

Over the next few weeks, I hope to really dig into not just some emerging trends in the Pet Industry but also let you know of specific technologies that can help you address them.  As always, I’ll do my best to be unbiased in my assessment but please don’t judge me if I mention Pet Rewards POS, its hard for me to not be proud of what we have accomplished with that product. 

Before that happens though we need to lay the groundwork, and I was lucky enough to attend the Global 2020 NCR Kick-Off and couldn’t help but notice that we all have the same hopes, fears, and goals for this new decade.  So today I want to share with you just 5 of them so that when we start discussing what priorities your business may want to focus on, we always keep them in mind. 

Step 1: Adopt the Mantra to Engage, Enable, Evolve

Every action in your Pet Store should incorporate this ideology.  If you are going to invest any of your hard-earned revenue this year, you should ask yourself does it help us to better engage with our customers, enable my employees, or evolve to meet the everchanging demands of the pet industry.

  1. Engage with your customers to really understand where they are coming from. 
    • While this concept isn’t new, it’s become more important than it has ever been before.  Who are your customers? What are their needs? How would they like to buy from you? What changes can you make to improve your customer experience?
    • Don’t just read my articles, or do online research, ask your customers.  No one knows them better than they do. 
  2. Enable your employees.
    • Have you ever called the Cable Company to complain only to spend 15 minutes talking to someone who doesn’t have the authority or access to help solve your problem? How did that make you feel?
    • While your store is the most important thing in your life, it isn’t the most important thing in your customers.  By enabling your employees to answer questions, solve problems, and create a better Retail Experience, you will save your customers time and allow your employees to allocate more time to revenue-generating activities. 
  3. Evolve
    • I spent a lot of time last year talking about the evolutions necessary to stay competitive with Amazon and Chewy (HERE). You might be thinking, “It’s always changing, how do I keep up?” I understand how you feel, but I’ve learned that change is life’s only constant.  My best recommendation is to listen to what your customers want and work it into your store. You don’t have to change everything at once, but you will have to fulfill your customer’s changing needs.

Step 2: Customers Remember How you make them feel not just what you do.

When I consult with salespeople, I always drive this point hard, but I rarely talk about with my retailers but it’s just as important in the retail arena.  As retailers, we often overlook this because the nature of the industry is one of reaction and emulation.  If you go to a store and see a salesperson ringing up customers on the floor you might think oh, I like that, I should do that. If a customer says do you have a website you might think, “I really need to get one of those.” Yet that’s not always the best way to do this.

When you start asking your customers questions like, “Would you find it beneficial if we added local delivery on our items?” don’t just stop there.  Follow that question up with, “If we did, how would that change or addition make you feel?” or “By adding that service, would it add to the overall enjoyment of doing business with us.”  Just these two questions will help you take a ton of guesswork out of what steps you need to take in 2020, and how you should prioritize them.  If you get a lot of responses that don’t necessarily make your customers “Feel” better than maybe place those at the end of your list.

Step 3: Set Goals

I once had a mentor that taught me, “The difference between a dream and a goal, is just Goals are written down.” It helps me guide my entire career.  So for this step, I will just dig into my core tenants of Goals and hopefully inspire all of you to take the time to set goals for your business in 2020, write them down somewhere, and go back to them regularly.

Goals are:

  1. Measurable- able to ascertain the size, amount, or degree of (something) by using an instrument or device marked in standard units or by comparing it with an object of known size.
    • ex) I will increase my Year-over-Year (YoY) growth by 23%. To do this, you need to know what your current YoY growth.
    • ex) I will increase my staff by one groomer, and one-floor clerk. To do this, you need to count your current staff and make sure to account for lost employees.
  2. Attainable- While I want you to create goals that are far-reaching, there are zero points in being unrealistic with them.  I realize that may sound contradictory but if you set unattainable goals you’re setting yourself up to fall short.
    • ex) Instead of saying “This year I’ll make 3 million in sales”. Try “This year I’d like to increase my sales by 30-50% this year.”
  3. Definable- This one is always my favorite as without fail I always hear things like “I will make my customers happy.” What does that mean to you? What does that mean to them? You’ll need to do some research on this one.
    • ex)I will increase my customer satisfaction by 30%. I’ll do this by adding a rewards program for loyal customers.
  4. Have Deadlines- There are absolutely zero points in setting goals unless you have a timeframe you want to complete them by.
    •  ex) If you say “I will increase my customer satisfaction by 30%.” You should include “by 12/1/2020.

Step 4: Complete a SWOT Analysis

Similar to setting goals, I feel that the SWOT analysis(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is often overlooked & extremely important.  You can always download a sample SWOT spreadsheet and description here.  For the sake of this article though I will just go over the purpose I think is most important for my clients in the Pet Industry. 

  1. According to Business News Daily, a SWOT Analysis is a compilation of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The primary objective of a SWOT analysis is to help organizations develop a full awareness of all the factors involved in making a business decision.
  2. To run a successful business, you should regularly analyze your processes to ensure you are operating as efficiently as possible. While there are numerous ways to assess your company, one of the most effective methods is to conduct a SWOT analysis.
  3. Perform a SWOT analysis before you commit to any sort of company action, whether you are exploring new initiatives, revamping internal policies, considering opportunities to pivot or altering a plan midway through its execution.

Step 5: Don’t just be afraid of Amazon and Chewy, Learn from them. 

This one is my favorite because here I am working with a Global Technology company that’s over 130 years old.  They practically invented the cash register, and they are also talking about the Elephant in the Room, which is Amazon.  Yet what they were doing differently than all of my clients usually are, instead of discussing how they are a disrupter and how they need to beat Amazon, they were talking about what they can learn from Amazon.  So what I’m asking all of you to not fear Amazon and Chewy but learn from them, understand their value proposition, dissect their playbook, and most of all adapt to the new retail world they are molding. 

In order to do this yes you have to shop with them once or twice but how else are you going to do it.  I only shop local when it comes to my pets, but I was driven to go to Petsmart the other day. I’m not kidding when I say they’re already remodeling and redesigning their stores to create high touch, high consultation environment.  All to combat Amazon.  So this weekend download the Amazon App, download the Chewy App and download the Walmart BOPIS App.  Go through the purchase process and pick apart where they could make improvements. Then implement those changes in your store.

Well that’s all the time we have for today so join us next week as we do a deep dive into local home delivery, Is it right for your business? And what technologies can help you make this change if you feel so inclined. 

About the writer:

Mark Nelms is a Business Development Manager for Pet Rewards POS.  He has conducted over 400 interviews with retailers from almost every vertical and size.  In prior roles, he’s assisted clients like Cumberland Packaging Corporation (Sweet N’ Low), The New England Patriots, and NCR (National Cash Register.)