Transparency, honesty, modern technologies are the three main principles on which the Alfavit shoe chain is based. But these principles are not the only basis for the company's success. Andrey Shirokov, CEO of the Alphabet chain, tells Shoes Report about his most important rules for working with assortment, sales, personnel and customers.
“Our main rule of business is working with new collections. We try to liquidate old collections by all means, sometimes even at a loss to ourselves. We do such bold sales that some suppliers even reproach us for dumping. But we do not dump, we just set reasonable prices, because we do not want to deceive the buyer. "
“About 80% of the assortment should be completely new samples. The public is not interested in old collections, and if last season some models sold very well, this season they will not sell with the same high efficiency. "
“For each store, we try to form our own collection, because consumer preferences differ significantly depending on the location of the store. We often adjust the assortment matrix already in the course of sales: for example, we see that a certain category of footwear is selling better in this store, and we send more of such goods there or transfer it from other stores. "
“We work on the turnover, and not on high trade margins. It's a bit tricky, though, because retail is going through difficult times right now. But low prices are a tribute to our customer. After all, if you tell a person that a product is being sold at a bargain price, but in fact it is not at all, he will sooner or later see the same model in another store and find out that he was deceived. "
“We have a standard markup delta, but we apply different pricing depending on the location of the store. For example, there is a store A near the railway station, which has large windows and good traffic, and there is a store B in the heart of the city. Its showcases are smaller, but we own the premises. And if in store A we set the usual markup, then in store B we can afford to lower the markup. At the same time, in store A, we almost write on the price tags that the same product can be purchased in store B for 100 rubles cheaper. The staff at the station store, of course, rebelled at first. But because of the passable space, they still had high sales, and at the same time we did not lose the store in the heart of the city, since some of the buyers went there for lower prices. "
“We can even open a store in Taiga, and still people will go there, because we set the right prices.”
“We monitor how suppliers' goods are sold using the reporting system in the 1C Alphabet Soft program. We look to see if the supplier meets our requirements for the minimum percentage of defects, whether his models are selling well, whether the collections are growing, whether he is in trend. With someone we part after two or three seasons in order to work only with the most effective partners. "
“The footwear market is very mobile, so you shouldn’t be too short. Of course, it is very difficult to look away if you are working with a supplier who suits you absolutely. But it's not a fact that tomorrow a store with the best prices and assortment will not open next to you. Therefore, you must constantly try new things in order not to miss the trend. Experimenting is always difficult and risky, so the sample size should not be business critical. ”
“If you don't change, you will lose. There are people who have not developed in any way since we met them. For example, some retail representative had 1999 stores in 5 and still has them. Whereas at that time we had only one container on the market in Saltykovka, and now we have 35 shops of the “shoe supermarket” format, 400 square meters each, and a modern system of accounting and sales management. And all because you need to be able to get out of your comfort zone, have the willpower to really change something. "
“Our turnover is 5 times lower than in similar networks, due to the fact that the“ Alphabet ”has built a motivation system. Material - in the form of attachment to personal sales, and intangible - in the form of certificates, holidays and trips to the sea for the best seller. In addition, after our training, an ordinary salesperson in another company can become a department head or even a CEO. We have created a school of personnel reserve, so the departure of any employee does not undermine the network. We can tell the sales assistant: “Seryozha, you’re a cashier tomorrow,” and he will do a great job ”.
“Even when we hire a highly specialized specialist - a lawyer or an accountant - we send him for an internship in the trading floor. Because without understanding where you work and what the people around you are doing, it is impossible to be effective. Besides, after that he can give us something useful. "
“We have a large segment of discount card holders - about 100 thousand people, that is, about 35% of our entire audience. In the cities in which we have been working for a long time, almost all buyers already use gold discount cards. They offer a discount of up to 35%. "
“We are transparent to buyers. We always write three prices on the price tags: the usual one for holders of discount cards and the price for holders of gold discount cards. And this store, for example, used to be our office at the same time. And through the glass walls from the trading floor, you could see who works in the office and what the stock in the warehouse is. "
Development of the company
“The main thing is constant learning. But this is difficult, especially for an adult, because he sometimes loses the desire to learn. We try to constantly develop, keep up with each other, and apply everything at once in practice in order to understand whether we need it or not. It is also important to have a truly sincere desire to grow your business: every day, every week, month and year. Not that you put your collection on the shelf and do nothing until the sale. "
“I think that in the near future we will have a boom in online trade and the development of our own shoe brands. This season we are increasing the share of our brand in the assortment from 15 to 40%, that is, almost three times. "
“Three years ago we expanded our network, and now our priority is to create trendy, high-quality collections at reasonable prices. The network cannot be developed without good fashion collections. Otherwise, what to invite a buyer for? "
The Alphabet Company was founded in 1996 by Andrey Boykov and Andrey Parishin, and I came in 1999. We were all officers, and constant study and mastery of the most modern methods of doing business allowed us to develop our business from a shoe container in the market in Saltykovka to a network of 30 stores. Due to the fact that we all had a higher engineering education, at that time we already printed price tags on a color printer that were not much different from modern ones, and used the discount card system. "
“There are no textbooks on how to do business. Therefore, basically everything we use is our own experience. It is also always useful to observe colleagues in the shoe shop and take something better from their business. "
“Our slogan is“ we work competently ”. We are transparent for both suppliers and buyers, because from the very beginning we did everything right. We were the only ones on the market that had a cash register signed by firefighters and SES instructions. But doing everything right is a lot of work. But it makes you invulnerable, because if you have any secrets, weak points, you can always put pressure on them. Of course, there is a concept of trade secrets, but we do not do anything supernatural in comparison with other companies. We just work a lot. You know, there is such a joke: "When I work 14 days a day, 7 days a week, I get lucky." We have no secrets from competitors, just let them try to do the same. "
"If the decision is taken by the majority opinion, it is the most optimal and more resilient."
“We have established a taboo on the word“ urgent ”. Everything always happens as planned. "
“You cannot manage the system without discipline. There are simple instructions and they must be followed. We transferred this clarity and punctuality to business from law enforcement agencies. But any document is not a dogma, because everything is constantly changing. "
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