Goodwill increases sales via associates

Goodwill stores in Wisconsin are using technology to help sales. (Mike Mozart/CC BY 2.0)

Technology is key to the success of any brick-and-mortar store in 2018, and Goodwill is the latest discount retailer using technology to capitalize on its store associates and gain a greater portion of shoppers' wallets.

Specifically, Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin—one of the largest of more than 162 Goodwill organizations in the world—has teamed up with ShopperTrak to roll out an in-store traffic analytics solution across all 67 retail locations. Using ShopperTrak's technology, Goodwill is improving the in-store process, enhancing the customer experience and increasing sales. 

Specifically, ShopperTrak's data is helping Goodwill to identify more opportunities where store associates can engage with shoppers and alter staffing schedules during peak hours.

When Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin first reached out to ShopperTrak, the organization was interested in gaining a better understanding of its traffic in order to increase profitability, according to ShopperTrak’s VP of Sales, Dan Mahoney. 

So Goodwill rolled out ShopperTrak's traffic counting solution in eight pilot stores and engaged in biweekly training calls for store associates. 

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"Training calls positioned the use case for traffic data—how it should be used to inform labor, marketing and merchandising strategies—and helped associates understand how to use the data," Mahoney told FierceRetail. "ShopperTrak’s highly accurate traffic counts and customized store reports, in which ShopperTrak identified peak hours for each of the unique locations, identified various opportunities for revenue growth; and with actionable recommendations from the ShopperTrak team, Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin was able to capitalize."

Therefore, realizing the impact, Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin opted to roll out the solution to all 67 locations. 

The technology changes have also impacted the mindset of these Goodwill locations. Previously seen as a self-service atmosphere where inventory drove sales, Goodwill soon realized that their associates could directly impact sales as well. 

So with the data in mind, Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin revamped its approach to staffing, placing more associates on the floor and making them available for assistance.

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"Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin aligned their staffing and tasking in relation to traffic," Mahoney said. "Additionally, certain stores altered their product placement and visuals to help customers better navigate stores and locate their desired items."

As a result, the Goodwill stores were able to optimize their staffing and maximize conversion. In fact, conversion rates increased an average of 3% across all eight stores during the pilot.

Ultimately, Goodwill was able to realize the importance of store associates.

"While store associates can be perceived as taskers—someone who restocks the shelves, folds clothes or rings the cash register—they are, in fact, revenue generators. By aligning staff schedules in relation to customer demand, retailers such as Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin are able to optimize their investment in store associates and provide shoppers with a positive in-store experience," Mahoney said.