During my time at both Best Buy and Disney, the constant research being conducted is how to improve sales. The problem management has to define is how to manage its current resources, such as personnel. During the initial stage in the research process, both companies need to identify where the resources come from and how to implement them to the fullest functional impact available. There for, a question that is always asked by management is “how to schedule impact associates appropriately to meet sales quotas throughout the day.” At Best Buy, for example, we used individual sales information that is gathered from various systems we used that indicated which sales associates had large volume sales, had installation and services sales, which have a large gross margin for the store, and so on. Once we identified these benchmarks, those sales associates are then moved to appropriate time slots on various key sale days to ensure that the stores meet weekly sales goals.
Another important factor that is used when scheduling is the retail customer experience. Using methods such as customer surveys, myBestBuy rewards and other systems, we were able to see what our customers were looking for and how to interact with them. Some of the topics covered in the International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management that Best Buy also uses to ensure sales are up by “creating a total customer experience by enabling customers to solve important problems, capitalize on the power of respectfulness, connect with customers’ emotions, emphasize fair pricing and save customers’ time and energy” (Shilpa & Rajnish, 2013). For example, in 2011, the retail industry was struggling to compete against Amazon.com and other online e-retailers to have sales in the stores. After conducting research in the early part of summer 2011, Best Buy began launching “experience stores” or what are called “Stores-Within-A-Store” (SWAS) to help create these experiences for customers, from entire home theater setups to an entire mobile solution platform, Best Buy Mobile, to break into the mobile technology arena.
Moving to on to Disney. The problems of Disney compared to Best Buy are less vast and not as complicated. The reason being, Disney is a brand on its own. At the Disneyland Resort, for example, both theme parks are able to average around $12-million dollars in revenue, in excess of $18-million dollar on a holiday or promotional weekend. Here, Disney is more prone to conduct guest research in regards to how the experience for each guest was and where to improve. Although not completely related to sales in the stores within the park, the guest research conducted by the Disneyland Guest Relations team is an overview of how the park is operating and where guest see improvements can be made. While conducting this research, Disney (Disneyland specifically) can see how guests moods are while in the parts and their spending habit within the parks. For example, we ask a guest questions like “During your recent trip to the Disneyland Resort, did you shop at any of our stores and boutiques?”
If a customer answers yes, the question evolves into a more in-depth questionnaire as to find out which stores, what type of products and so on. We never ask the amount spent as we can usually decipher the average amount of sales from the store locations on a daily basis. Currently, Disney Parks states that the average spent on memorabilia and purchases in stores within the resort are about $55 for a family of four. This does not include any food or drinks purchased throughout the day in the parks. As well, Disneyland is able to track the spending habits of annual passholders and come up with targeted advertising to that group in order to promote sales.
Annual Passholders make the smallest impact on sales for Disney Parks, except for the occasional merchandise purchases through certain times of the year, such as the Holiday Season. Accordingly, passholders are more frequent to the park and annually spend about the same amount as a once-a-year vacation family, because of the frequent visits to the parks. As well, they are more likely to recommend and bring family and friends who are not normal visitors to the park, becoming an advertising extension of the Disneyland Parks.
Ultimately, both Disney and Best Buy must ask the question “how can we improve our services and increase our sales.” Both companies do it by using different methods and techniques, but need to start off on the same step to make sure they can create accurate plans and hypothesis in order to test within their locations and make sure to receive accurate information to improve system process and, if needed, revamp them in order to meet customer needs and wants, while minimizing the impact to increasing personnel and overhead cost and increase the bottom line.
Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2014). Business Research Methods (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. Li, S., & Vincent, R. (2011, June 23). Best Buy to downsize brick-and-mortar footprint. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/23/business/la-fi-best-buy-bigbox-20110622 Shilpa, B., & Rajnish, J. (2013). Measuring retail customer experience. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 41(10), 790-804.