I’ve just return from my extended vacation in the Phils. The one thing I could not get over is SM Mall in particular the parts operated by SM, SM hypermarket and SM store. I have a background in retail but most of the stuff, I seen there I just couldn’t believe. They are so unbelievably badly run, I’m starting to think they are secretly state owned, only a government could run a store this bad. I understand they are a publicly owned company, but this is what happens when protected from competition, inefficient practices, bad management and over charging reign supreme. It’s a company, I would love to take charge of cause it’s so badly run, sales could be improve 50% and profits could easily be tripled with minimum effort. If foreign competition was allowed SM would go bust as they don’t have a culture that would allow them adopt. As customers desert they would just shrug their shoulders and carry on as before.
- In SM store there’s way too many staff and they all seem to be employed to stand around in groups of three, with absolutely no work to do. The only positive thing is that they are all turned out well, in very smart uniforms. However they don’t seem to have any function in the store. They provide zero assistance to customers, apart from making customer uneasy about browsing or interrupting customers while making a purchasing decision. Is this some type of employment scheme for recent graduates?
- In SM store there are two cashiers to every till one operating the reg and the other bagging. Yet there are still queues in stores that are not noticeably busy. Paying seems to take forever. Is it so that one operator doesn’t steal the takings?
- What with the .75 peso charge on all goods. It just seems petty, the margins are already high on all these goods 50 – 75% by my reckoning. The prices in SM are actually higher than my home country which has a sales tax of 23% and higher prices than most as a high wage economy. The end result is that they always gives you some coin that cannot be used.
- The SM hypermarket typically has more customers waiting at the tills than there are shopping in the store. Staff on tills work like Zombies, Many times I’ve walked as far as the entrance taken a look at the queue and walked away, doesn’t seem to matter what day of the week or time of the days, long queues, but plenty of unmanned desks. Customer walk away if they see long checkout lines. In a well run store once a queue exceeds 2 or 3 customers, it’s time to open another register. The most important thing in running a store is to take the cash, that’s what counts restocking can be done, when there no cash to take. It makes no sense that in a low wage economy there should be long queues and unmanned desks. As an area controller, I used forgive stores with devastated shelves once they could show the takings were higher than normal for the time of day\week.
- Where are all the managers and supervisors? managers should always be highly visible, it promotes customer relations, prevents theft and encourages positive staff behavior. Does SM employ any managers.? A common tactic in my country is to provide a very small managers office, which all managers use. This helps keeps managers out of the office and on the floor.
- What’s with the heavily promoted loyalty card? It’s so stingy, I’m always asked if I have one but when asked what’s the benefit got a blank stare and a for points sir. I looked up online and they give one peso for every 400 peso spend, so no way I want one, cluttering my wallet, It would make more sense to save all the 1/4 peso coins received in change. Gotta be the stingiest loyalty program in the world. My local store does 2 cents per 100, because I use their credit card and then if can get up to 8 cents reward by using those points against their boost partners. This actually pays my mobile phone bill and I still have enough rewards to take the kids bowling one a quarter.
- Where are the promotions? Modern stores live and die by buy one get on half price, 3 for two and similar deals. SM seem to do no promotion, too much work I suppose. Promotion increase sales and help manufacturers shift excess product, increase brand awareness and promote customer loyalty a heck of a lot more than a crappy loyalty scheme.