LP Magazine

SEP-OCT 2017

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION to competitors and demographics of shoppers in the trading area), weather conditions, microeconomic factors, and variations in the skill, experience, and effort of the store staff—all create variability that make comparisons challenging. So unlike online conversion rate optimization where changes can easily be made and consistently applied with a few keystrokes, in brick-and-mortar stores adjusting variables like staff levels, for example, must be applied at the store level. There's another important difference between online and brick-and-mortar conversion optimization tests—traffic. In an online experiment, traffic can be precisely controlled so that each website version receives the same amount of traffic. In brick-and-mortar stores, the amount of traffic each store receives can't be controlled and can vary significantly by store. Since conversion rates tend to be inversely related to traffic (in other words, when traffic goes up, conversion rates tend to decline), extra care needs to be applied when interpreting brick-and-mortar conversion optimization test results. But just because the conversion variables are harder to control in physical stores doesn't mean that conversion rates can't be optimized or measured using A/B testing. Here's an example to illustrate. The Test: Simplified Reporting and Conversion Coaching. The challenge store personnel have with improving conversion rates is twofold: first, they often can't easily see where the conversion opportunities are being missed; and second, they struggle with how to adjust behaviors in-store to improve conversion. A series of A/B experiments were conducted with a group of 600 brick-and-mortar stores across four different retail segments. The hypothesis for the study was simple: store managers who can easily spot conversion opportunities and are encouraged to act on this information will outperform store managers who don't. In each experiment, a sample set of stores was identified and clustered into A and B groups. The group A store managers received a simplified daily conversion scorecard indicating where conversion rate sags were occurring along with series of brief conversion coaching sessions conducted by phone to discuss the conversion patterns and behaviors they should consider undertaking to improve conversion rates. Group B store managers did not receive the simplified reporting or coaching. The Result. Group A stores consistently outperformed group B stores. You can read more about the findings at headcount.com/ROIstudy. Start with the Biggest Conversion Driver—People While there are many variables that impact in-store conversion rates, staff scheduling and deployment are at the top of the list since front-line associates and managers play a critical role in converting store traffic into customers. An effective CRO system for brick-and-mortar retailers must begin with ensuring staff schedules are aligned to store traffic patterns. But aligning staff schedules to traffic is only the first step. Second, retailers need to examine how staff are deployed—tasking versus The hypothesis for the study was simple: store managers who can easily spot conversion opportunities and are encouraged to act on this information will outperform store managers who don't. 54 SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2017 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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