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Cycle Gear, a motorcycle parts and apparel retailer, is using data to drive business strategy, boost revenue and increase sales.

After just five months of deploying HeadCount Corp.’s traffic and conversion technology, the specialty retailer experienced their best Black Friday sales and increased quarter-over-quarter comp sales, across 140 store locations in 38 states, while keeping its wage budgets in line.

But just as importantly, the ability to boost conversion rate has also allowed Cycle Gear to optimize staffing, including additional hires to help more customers, which has boosted the customer experience.

“We are also seeing our store managers able to spend more time coaching and training our team members. This in turn brings a greater satisfaction for our team members,” explained Rodger O’Keefe, vice president of store operations, in an email interview with Retail Customer Experience. As many studies and reports have noted, happier team members tend to boost sales and the customer interaction.

Eliminating pain points

Cycle Gear had two big pain points in wanted to solve in 2017. The first was to understand its store traffic flow, said O’ Keefe. The second was identifying any deficits the retailer had in its current wage/hour structure from a customer service stand point.

O’Keefe learned of the HeadCount solution from a fellow retailer, which had used the tool and reaped benefits. He then called HeadCount and learned about its philosophy. He also evaluated a few other options. The HeadCount traffic and conversion program provides analytics, reporting and coaching designed to optimized conversation rates in stores using existing consumer traffic. On the cultural side it’s driving a critical shift in allowing store managers to focus on what they can control than being fixated on store traffic.

“Ultimately it was the personal approach that the company provides, from the initial presentation where they took some of our data and provided an analysis on it, to the everyday contact,” O’Keefe said in explaining why Cycle Gear chose HeadCount. “We have with them to help us dive into specific situations. We feel they work with us to tailor their reporting and system to our needs, not make us change. They operate with a high sense of pride and urgency which molds well with our operations.”

Smooth deployment sailing

The technology deployment and implementation went smooth – in fact “shockingly quick and pain free,” noted O’Keefe.

“We did work internally to ensure we can get our data over in a timely matter for the daily reporting. As far as staff training short of our side announcing the launch of this program, Headcount handled the rest including district/store manager training, including one-on-one coaching with each in the chain, about 140 individuals,” said O’Keefe.

And as with any new technology or strategy, there can be some hiccups and blips but in the case of deploying the HeadCount solution the lessons learned were more of a process lesson.

“The main lesson would be making sure your point of sale program can poll timely to ensure reporting gets out timely,” said O’Keefe, adding that the first year “can be a small challenge to interpret some of the data as there is no year over year data. This can be a struggle especially if your business is cyclical like ours.”

Why traffic and conversion data are critical retail elements

Retailers are constantly bombarded by technology makers hyping the latest and greatest and deciphering which are worthy can be a challenge and is often the first obstacle a retailer faces when seeking a tool to boost the bottom line or the customer experience.

“As one executive put it, ‘there’s no shortage of vendors knocking on my door saying that if I buy their solution, it will rain money,'” Mark Ryski, founder and CEO of HeadCount, told Retail Customer Experience in an email interview.

“Today, retailers are demanding that you prove the efficacy of your solution. In our case that means showing a measurable improvement in conversion rates in a sample of test stores compared to a group of control stores. When you can prove your solution delivers results, retailers are more than willing to invest,” he added.

Another second hurdle retailers face is not understanding how their stores are missing sales opportunities because the retailer doesn’t have a clear view of store traffic and conversion data, Ryski explained.

“The insights that come from traffic and conversion data can help store managers see exactly where these opportunities are being missed and capture more of them,” he said. “It’s important for retailers to understand that this is not just about the technology – technology doesn’t deliver better same-store sales, people do,” he said.

It’s about providing retail store managers with easy-to-use analytic insights, supporting them with coaching on applying those insight to get improved results.

“Too many retailers today are trying to algorithm their way to success and forget that the front-line managers who run their stores are the key to better store performance. We provide the technology, analytic insights but, most importantly, coaching for field managers on how to use and apply the insights –that’s truly unique in the industry.”

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Judy Mottl

Judy Mottl is an experienced editor, reporter and blogger who has worked for top media including AOL, InformationWeek and InternetNews. She’s written everything from breaking news to in-depth trends. She loves a great pitch so email here, follow on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.

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