Retailers: Understanding and Increasing Your Average Sale

Bob Phibbs gives a great drill down into metrics that matter in terms of retail success. Staff training focusing on engagement with customers show that an interaction with an employee has a 50% more likely chance of that interaction resulting in a sale.

Rewarding Experience Drives Revenue.

Moneyball, the movie with Brad Pitt showed how one baseball team began winning by picking players based on their averages rather than a gut feeling how a player “could do.”

As a retail consultant, I always run six financial reports when working with a new retailer. There are two retail sales reports in particular that detail the averages any retailer must look at to increase their sales:  Your Average Sale (also known as the average check in the restaurant industry,) and Your Average Number of items.

Here is why each is important and how to increase. These two metrics are most able to increase your retail sales and profitability.

Average Sale / Average Check

This report shows the value of each customer that day. If you have a lot of part-timers, they might not have the highest retail sales because they work in the “off” shifts. Average sale shows you when they do help a customer, how much – on average – a customer purchases from them.  This can help you spot the bright stars who might be hidden.

Cross Sell, Up Sell, Down Sell

This is the most immediate report you can use to grow retail sales because this report measures how well your sale crew can move your products. The more people like your employees, the more trust employees will be able to create and use to upsell each order.  This is what raises your average sale.

Every business calls it a different thing, from average ticket in a restaurant to the average daily rate in hotels.

Whatever you call it, it is the closest we can get to how many sales you received in a day.  Careful Analyticals don’t get caught up thinking of exceptions that can bring your average down like ringing up a piece of candy vs. your usual sale.  Using your POS report averages everything so you have a true number to work with.

Be Rational, Get Real

How To Increase Your Average Sale

  1. Prioritize retail sales, not stocking. In the restaurant business there is a saying, “If  you can lean, you can clean.” In the retail business I think it should be, “If you can stock, you can sell.”  Too often we let employees think stocking the store shelves with product is more important than moving the product out the door.  Displays are supposed to get messed up, products are supposed to look almost out. Your employee training has to explain this or your well-meaning employees will fail you.
  2. Hire more employees so there is time to upsell during busy times.
  3. Increase add-ons through impulse items displayed strategically around your store. We’ll cover that in our next chapter.
  4. Raise sales of higher ticket goods by using both features and benefits and add-ons through improved sales training.  We’ll cover this extensively in Chapter 4.

Average Number of Items

This is your total number of items sold divided by number of transactions. Tracking this is another way to measure how good a job your sales crew is doing, and if your displays and signage are tempting customers to add-on.

The higher you can move this, the more profit you will make.  You make profit on the second item so your goal should always be an average of two.


For example, if you are having a big sale, employees should be suggesting, “Since this is such a good price, how about getting two?” That simple suggestion builds the unit sales without any additional marketing costs.

When managaing your retail sales crew, you must utilize your computer printouts religiously to monitor how your crew is actually doing, not just your merchandise.  What tips do you have to increase average sale or average number of items?

For more tips how to grow your retail business, check out my manifesto: Brick and Mortar Retailing At Risk in the Digital Age for suggestions how to win more customers.

‘Electronic Nose’ Prototype Developed

Electronic Nose Prototype Developed at UC Riverside

Research by Nosang Myung, a professor at the University of California, Riverside, Bourns College of Engineering, has enabled a Riverside company to develop an “electronic nose” prototype that can detect small quantities of harmful airborne substances.

Nano Engineered Applications, Inc., an Innovation Economy Corporation company, has completed the prototype which is based on intellectual property exclusively licensed from the University of California. The device has potential applications in agriculture (detecting pesticide levels), industrial sites (detecting gas leaks, combustion emissions), homeland security (warning systems for bio-terrorism) and the military (detecting chemical warfare agents).

How to Develop a Weekly Social Media Schedule

We have been going around in circles about how to set up some consistency in social media. This is a very helpful place to start from. Thank you Laura.

By Laura Gross, Scott Circle Communications

Laura Gross

It can be tempting: Tweeting or posting to Facebook immediately for a business or organization without putting a solid strategy in place. After all, many of us post to our personal pages without much thought on a daily basis. But when handling the social media for a client or your company, you need to plan before you post. Prior to the first Facebook post or tweet, follow these five steps to ensure a seamless social media campaign.

1. Study the Social Media Sphere

As with all PR campaigns—social or traditional—extensive research is the first step. Consider whom you’re targeting. For example, if your campaign is for a theatre performance, you’ll want to engage critics, arts organizations and theatre lovers.

Start searching for these people by scanning the Twitter lists of influential people or organizations. In the case of the theatre performance, a critic might have a list of other critics or people who tweet about theatre. Also do a hashtag search for themes tied to your campaign, and add to your list people who tweet about similar interests.

2. Create an Editorial Calendar

Building an editorial calendar is time consuming, but crucial to helping you stay organized and on message. Figure out when you want to tweet or post to Facebook, and then write content for these dates and times. Don’t forget to note when you plan to post photos and videos. Follow the usual Twitter and Facebook protocols that have been written about to develop a weekly social media schedule.

3. Build Your Profiles

The first thing to take into account when building profiles is to be consistent across all social media platforms. If possible, give all of your profiles the same name, preferably similar to the organization, cause or person.

Next, build a collection of images. The first thing people notice when looking at your Facebook page is your cover image, so consider using to hire a graphic designer to make your Facebook cover image pop. All services on Fiverr are five dollars – a small price to pay for big impact.

As a last step, write your Facebook and Twitter bios with optimization in mind. Add keywords to both and consider using hashtags on Twitter and adding a phone number and address on Facebook.

4. Take Advantage of Technology

There are several sites that help you streamline and simplify your social media campaign—HootSuite is just one example. With this service, you can send content to several platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all at the same time. It might not always be appropriate to post to all three at once, but it is a nice option to have. You can also set up tweets and posts to send at a future date, so you don’t have to worry about social media when you’re out of the office.

5. Conduct a “Soft Launch”

Prior to following anyone on Twitter or “liking” anyone on Facebook, start posting content. I recommend at least 50 tweets and 25 Facebook posts. I won’t follow someone on Twitter if they haven’t shared any content, and you shouldn’t expect others to do so. In order to maximize your time, use Twitter as your primary platform.

As opposed to other sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, you can post ten or more times a day to your Twitter feed. As you tweet, simply pull some of the most interesting content and re-purpose it for your other social media pages.

Now you’re ready to officially launch your campaign. Start tweeting and re-tweeting, sharing and commenting on Facebook posts and engaging with influencers. Word of mouth is also critical. Ask your friends and family to follow you, add links to your e-mail signature and promote the pages on your Web site. If you follow these steps and stick to your campaign, you’ll build a strong following of all the right people.

Laura Gross is the founder and president of Washington, D.C.-based public relations and event planning firm
Scott Circle Communications. She can be reached at You can follow her on Twitter at @lgross.

LinkedIn Company Page Tips for Agency, Corporate PR Pros

Excellent tips from Bill Miltenberg, of PR News. I thought the one about asking all employees to start a company page was up at the top.

By Bill Miltenberg, PR News

On Sept. 6, LinkedIn rolled out its new “Company Pages,” giving companies the opportunity to be more creative and present more content. Since potential clients, customers and employees are checking out your company page, it’s worth your while to make it as attractive, informative and interesting as you can. Now that we’ve had time to digest these changes , it’s time to take the next step and implement some best practices.

Lana Khavinson, LinkedIn’s senior product marketing manager, has the following tips for PR pros on the agency and corporate sides:

If you’re a PR professional working for a firm:

    1. Encourage all of your clients to create a LinkedIn Company Page and provide them with links to media hits about their company, so they can share those media wins with their followers through status update posts. LinkedIn’s own Company Page is a good example to check out, as are the company pages for PhilipsCitiHP and Dell.
    2. If your clients already have a LinkedIn Company Page, make sure they have added a powerful image to welcome people to their page and that they are posting status updates on a daily basis to ensure that they are reaching their entire follower base. An example of a company doing just this is HubSpot.
    3. Teach your clients the best practices of posting: Post in the morning for best reach, add links when possible, share videos to drive viral engagement and tell people what action you want them to take on your post (like, share, comment).
    4. And of course, make sure your PR firm has a stellar LinkedIn Company Page by make your own daily posts and adding a Products & Services tab so potential clients know what offerings you have.

If you’re corporate PR pro:

    1. Make sure that you take ownership of your LinkedIn Company Page as a channel for external communication.
    2. If your social media manager or HR team owns the page, ask to become an administrator of the page so you can post press releases, blog links, news announcements, articles about the company and events that you want to direct followers to.
    3. Encourage employees to like, share, and comment on posts. Employees are 70% more likely to engage with your post, thereby helping you spread your message across LinkedIn.
    4. Mix it up. Post unique content that your company has developed or share industry stories that you think your followers will find interesting.
    5. Lastly—test, test, test. Time of day, tone of message, content type, etc. can all have different effects. Use your LinkedIn Company Page engagement metrics to determine what works best for your company.

LinkedIn is the most-used social network by journalists, making it a media relations playground—92% are on LinkedIn—but PR pros better have their own company’s bases covered before they attempt to connect with media.