Juno’s what to do with the Weather? Reflexis StorePulse® Does
How Reflexis StorePulse® automatically helps store managers to align sales floor coverage with customer demand in response to real-time changes such as weather.
12 AM, Monday, January 26th, 2015: Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an Executive Order banning all travel as a pre-emptive measure to save lives in the face of Winter Storm Juno. The ban lasted until January 28th, by which time parts of Massachusetts were blanketed by as many as 3 feet of snow.
As serious as it was, Juno was just one of several weather events to impact the region in a short time span. Residents were still digging out from the blizzard when they were hit by the 2015 “Groundhog Day” storm. In between the two storms, which prompted inevitable runs on certain types of products such as “bread and milk,” another event occurred in New England — the big NFL football game — that drove increased demand for other kinds of products.
Retailers know weather and other local events drive sudden changes in customer traffic and product demand. They also typically publish schedules one to two weeks in advance to ensure associates can plan activities such as childcare and medical appointments around work shifts. The challenge is realigning labor to respond to weather and other event-driven demand changes while keeping associates happy by not requiring shift changes that put unnecessary stress on their personal lives.
At NRF 2015, Eric Bass, SVP of Operations, Staffing, and Productivity for Belk, Inc., made a presentation about how his company is using and benefitting from Reflexis solutions. During his presentation, he talked about a scenario where stores have to realign labor in response to weather. He spoke specifically about how rain can drive increased traffic at some stores and how getting additional labor to serve the influx of customers can be a challenge, at least before having implemented Reflexis solutions.
At one of their department stores near Myrtle Beach, the store manager knows that traffic will likely be slower on warm sunny days. Reflexis scheduling software can take this into account based on historical sales data and weather patterns, so the allocation of labor will be on the lower end.
Belk also knows from experience that when it rains, customers will come into its stores in droves at some locations. The problem store managers face is how to adjust schedules and inform employees ahead of time to maximize weather- and event-driven sales opportunities while respecting associate work preferences.
The answer lies in having a real-time execution platform that is cognizant of the store’s schedule, weather/event patterns, and historic sales. In the instance where rain is predicted in the next day or two, the real-time execution platform can issue a notification to store managers telling them that, based on historic sales patterns, customer traffic will be higher. It can also tell the store manager that there is not enough labor scheduled on that given day and prompts the store manager to send alerts to unscheduled store associates offering shifts in departments expected to see higher traffic.
Associates, knowing that increased traffic leads to more sales opportunities and potentially higher commissions, can choose to come into work. As shifts get filled, the real-time execution platform fills in the schedule so that the store will have the right number of associates on the floor— not too few and not too many.
Using a real-time execution platform covers the store managers on all sides. They consistently allow associates to plan ahead based on advanced schedules, give associates the choice to pick up shifts when circumstances change, and align shifts with customer demand.
To avoid losing sales or upsetting associates, a real-time execution solution such as Reflexis StorePulse® is essential. To learn more ways StorePulse can help, check out these additional scenarios!