How To Run Operationally Excellent Stores with Rachel Williamson

February 7, 2021



Our special guest, Rachel Williamson, brings over 30 years of experience in brick-and-mortar retail to advise our audience on how to provide the best possible in-store experience. In what ways was COVID a blessing in disguise in pushing retailers to adopt customer journeys they should’ve taken on board a while ago? What trends should retailers be skeptical of implementing?

  • What should digitally native brands know about opening their first retail locations, and what should brick-and-mortar old schoolers do to keep up with their online counterparts?
  • We discuss these retail questions and more with our special guest, Rachel Williamson, owner, and CEO of Running Great Stores. Rachel brings over 30 years of experience in brick-and-mortar retail working across a range of organizations starting with mom and pops all the way to the GAP. 
  • Rachel now devotes her time to consulting and advising retailers on the best ways to spend their dollars, how to create their own pathways to success as opposed to copying what everyone else is doing, and how to pivot on a dime.

Conversation Rundown

[ 09:10-10:36 ] No pandemic can stop the growth of nimble retailers.
There are a lot of retailers right now sitting and waiting for this pandemic to pass. They blame the pandemic for everything that's going wrong in their business. Sitting and waiting is never the right strategy. The retailers that are going to come out stronger are the ones grabbing the bull by the horns.

[ 11:11-13:30 ] How to become a truly customer-centric brand?
Digital transformation projects usually take years. It's absurd, but it's the reality. In the age of COVID, retailers rolled out omnichannel projects in 8 weeks. But fast doesn't always mean good. Empathy is key to understanding what your customer wants and why.

[ 14:30-16:20 ] Do retailers need to re-evaluate their strategy post-pandemic?
Retailers have begun accepting cloud and SaaS as part of their tech stack. But sticking a technology into your stores without the necessary training is never going to be successful. The whole team needs to be on board.

[ 16:38-17:35 ] Why store associates decide the future of your brand?
Store associates are critical to retail success. Yet when brick-and-mortar stores underperform, so few look at their store associates to understand the core problems. In order to run operationally excellent stores and thereby profitable stores, you need associated that stand by your brand. You need associates that love interacting with people and feel part of the team.

[ 18:10-19:44 ] Why store associate training is critical to customer experience?
Store associates are the key to retail success. Investing in your team starts with hiring the best talent, and then putting a strategy in place to help them evolve. Most retailers out there cut associate training when times are tough.

Meet the Experts

Rachel is an experienced retail expert that focuses majorly on store operations, customer behavior, the transformation journey of physical stores, and customer experience. Her insights are very important because they are pivoted through her vast experience of 20 years backed by brands like Justice, Bath and Body Works, and Ascena.

Retail Tips & Tweetables

The success of the organization is dependent on the success of both digital and retail.

Retailers need to be nimble and quick because it is a constantly evolving industry.

If the customer is not our north star we are almost doomed to fail.

Online is no more a different channel; it is an extension of brick-and-mortar.

Store associates decide the future of your brand.

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