How To Run A Retail Store
Running a retail store takes some skill, patience, and diligence but can be very rewarding so here are some strategies to know how to run a retail store properly. We've compiled a list of helpful tips to keep your store in tip-top condition, all the while helping you achieve profitability and productivity.
- Get all staff members on the same page. Have a store meeting where all staff members can get to know one another, understand what is expected of them, know what your expectations of them are, and lay out clearly defined policies and procedures. A store meeting will help keep a store running smoothly and efficiently.
- Be timely. Open and close the store in a timely manner. Make sure all employees are there on time, including you as a manager or owner. Also make sure that you are open for business when you say you are open. Close the store on time as well. If you leave your doors open longer, it can waste money spent on employee time, productivity, and utility bills.
- Keep the store neat and uncluttered. Products should be displayed in a clean and clear manner so that customers have a better opportunity to see what is available to purchase. Anything not for sale in the store should be put away and not be visible to the customer's eye. This includes drinks, food, cell phones and garbage. Walkways need to be safe and open for wheelchair access, and items need to be stacked or folded neatly and in an organized manner.
- Control inventory. A well run retail store needs to have enough back stock of product so that customers will get what they want when they want it. Also, loss detection is important in keeping the store profitable. Ensure that all staff know what to do if they detect loss either by a customer or a fellow employee. Inventory should be taken quarterly or bi-yearly to acknowledge what is in the store, what is selling and what's not. An inventory count also helps you make informed decisions about what to buy or order.
- Merchandise the store frequently and regularly. Customers notice new and different things, and merchandising is a huge part of running a retail store well. Move product around, focus top selling items near the front of the store or in store windows, and consider seasons or upcoming holidays.
- Provide top-notch customer service. Greet the customer, ask if they need assistance, show them new merchandise and inform them of the store layout, make sure you are available to the customer when they need you, be polite at all times, and remember that the customer is always right.
- Train staff and be consistent. Training is the best way to inform employees of your expectations and the company's expectations. It is a time to spend one-on-one time with an employee and make sure they have the knowledge and understanding of store policies and procedures, their job responsibilities and to answer any questions they may have. A training checklist that can be signed by both you and the employee is a great idea to ensure accountability. It's also a good way to get to know your employee better and see their attributes and possibly, downfalls first hand. All training should be the same for all employees.
- Give monthly evaluations. Evaluations are a great way to give positive and negative feedback to your employees so that they can improve in their job. It's also a great way to have accountability. Everything should be in writing, signed, dated, and filed in their employee files. Evaluations help employees know what they are doing well at and what they need to improve on. In the long run, it makes running a retail store much smoother.
- Display return policies clearly to customers. Many people want to know what they need to do if they want to return an item, and it is best to make sure your customer is informed of the store's return policy before they leave the store. It's best for all cashiers to reiterate the return policy, but it is just as effective when the return policy is located on the receipt or on the counter at check-out. Less customer quandaries lead to a better run retail store.