Investing in your talent and employee base is a definite way to impact ongoing and sustainable customer experience. That’s exactly what Dollar General plans to do this year.

Dollar General saw its full-year sales rise nearly 8 percent in 2016, along with a nearly 1 percent rise in same-store sales (the company’s 27th consecutive year of same-store sales growth).

“Dollar General is well-positioned to serve our customers with value and convenience given our plans to open approximately 1,000 new stores in 2017,” Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos said during the company’s recent fourth-quarter earnings call. “To strengthen our position for the long term, we are making significant investments, primarily in compensation and training for our store managers given the critical role this position plays in our customer experience, as well as strategic initiatives.”

Vasos said company officials continue to strategically invest in the business for the long term.

“In fiscal 2017, these investments will be focused on an increased compensation structure and additional training for our store managers, as they play a critical role in our customers’ experience and the profitability of each store,” he explained. “We’re investing in strategic initiatives that we believe will help to differentiate us from the competition over time.

During 2016, Dollar General celebrated the grand opening of its 13,000th store, opening 900 new stores and bringing the total store count to 13,320 stores.

“We’re constantly striving to meet the changing needs and demands of our customers,” Vasos added. “In the second half of the year, we made pricing and marketing investments in designated market areas where we saw opportunities to be proactive, as we looked to help drive consumer traffic and improve same-store sales and market share. Our objective was and is to provide our customers with affordability, value, and convenience at a time when they need us the most.”

Vasos said the “proactive pricing actions were implemented selectively across about 17% of our store base and on about 450 targeted, high household penetration, fast-turning categories. We’re seeing anticipated improvements in transactions, units, and weekly same-store sales across the majority of these participating stores. We believe we’re on the right track as these investments are positively impacting sales and gross profit dollars.”

Evan Magliocca, brand marketing manager for Baesman Insights & Marketing, also believes that Dollar General is on the right track.

“It’s great to see Dollar General investing in its store managers,” Magliocca explained. “The term customer experience gets used mostly in a digital format, but the in-store customer experience is really the apex of customer satisfaction.  A bad in-store experience can really stay with customers and impact sentiment. An increase in logistics and distribution is paramount for Dollar General’s store model. Efficiencies in those areas should lead to smarter inventory and better distribution across its massive store footprint.”  

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