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When you’re a luxury retailer, customer experience takes on a new level of importance. You have to turn up the charm, and make sure it’s consistent across all your stores. That’s no mean feat when you franchise your brand. We gave Pandora the impartial overview they needed to set store standards, balancing efficiency with first-class customer service.
Pandora are among the biggest jewellery retailers in the world, with over 330 concept stores in the UK alone. More than 90% of those are run by franchisees. It’s an effective model for a business with a strong brand, but handing over control of everyday operations makes it harder to keep an eye on performance.
To get a feel for the variance across Pandora’s portfolio, we turned our spotlight on 10 different sites: a mixture of partner-run and owned-and-operated stores. We spent five days in each.
Pandora expected to see differences, but they were surprised by just how inconsistent stores were. We found franchise partners ran tighter staffing schedules, which boosted efficiency but increased the risk of longer queues and missed sales opportunities. Owned-and-operated stores had greater staff resources, but their time wasn’t always used effectively. And there was massive variance across all stores for the time it took to check off stock.
But where there’s difference, there’s also opportunity. We know how important it is to learn from the high-achievers; the stores that are doing things well. We pinned down the factors that all effective stores had in common: their people spent more time talking to customers and helping them try on jewellery, and less time talking through brochures. We also made recommendations to speed up behind-the-scenes processes, like stock handling. Our work gave Pandora practical tips they could suggest to all their partner organisations.
We showed Pandora they could make improvements in all their stores – not just to boost productivity, but to also enhance customer experience. Like creating rotas that match customer demand, and timing breaks to avoid big queues at busy periods. Within their teams, we found a ‘meet and greet’ role wasn’t working and needed clarification. They’re already taking steps to redefine it.
We’re using the SMVs we produced to build Pandora a detailed budget model. It will give them a way to link store performance with store spending – setting a target and a benchmark for investment in resources. It’s a level of insight they’ve never had before, and they think it will play a major role in holding stores to the Pandora standard.
Our crack team of trained analysts timed everyday tasks, like selling a bracelet or updating a display, and came up with averages, or standard minute values (SMVs). We looked at the percentage of time teams spent on activities that added value for customers, and how hard employees were working. And we put different job roles under the microscope to see how each store divided responsibilities.
To give context to those measurements, we plotted staffing levels against footfall and anecdotally observed customer experience and queuing times.
Then we crunched the numbers and put them side by side. We looked at three things: