15 Tips to Fine-tune Retail Store Management
1. The customer is always right:
Yes, that age-old saying holds true even today. The customer is the most important facet of any business. Hence, as a retail store manager you need to ensure that the whole team comprehends that the customer is their top-most priority, that the customer should be satisfied with the goods and service you provide, and that you never challenge the customer! The customer is ALWAYS right!
2. Make the customer feel special:
Everybody likes feeling special. So, when you are with a customer, give him or her your exclusive attention, listening closely to whatever they may be saying to you. During that time don’t let anything else interrupt you. You may even go so far as making a flattering comment or two. If it is a clothes store, compliment the customer after he/she tries on something; if it is a food store, give them tips regarding which product is more healthy, etc. You may also inquire about their work to be able to suggest them suitable options from your store.
3. Please the customer:
Although this is often touted, it is seldom practiced! As a retail store manager, see to it that the sales staff does that extra bit to make the customer feel pleased, especially as a measure of calming their displeasure about something. For instance, some special store giveaways can be packed with their purchases, or you may handout a discount coupon. You may even offer refreshments.
4. Deliver more than what you promise:
The difference in “promise less but deliver more” and “deliver more than you promise” is that of attitude. If you promise less, you may come across as playing a safe game. You may lose your customer to someone who promises more. But if you promise more and deliver even more, the customer is bound to come back to you! It is the gesture that counts. By giving more than whatever you may have promised, you can build a strong customer rapport, both inside as well as outside the store.
5. Appearances do matter:
Although you may dismiss it as a superficial aspect of a superficial consumerist society, there is no escaping the fact, that the first impressions of your store is going to be the last impression! So make sure you make a good first impression. This includes a smiling, enthusiastic and well dressed staff, a clean and easy to maneuver around store, and a positive and happy ambiance. Avoid loud music, and complicated arrangement and/or presentation of goods.
6. Display merchandise attractively:
A vital part of management is seeing to it that the merchandise is displayed properly; this means in an uncomplicated, easy-to-find and yet attractive manner. If the items are not displayed or seen properly, they won’t be sold in the numbers that they ought to be. Merchandise should look crisp and new at all times. If the items are shop-worn, they should be put in the bargain section. Items that are usually bought on impulse should be placed on display close to the cash out area (play on the psyche of your customers). Also, appropriate sections should be made for merchandise, and the items should be placed in the correct sections. Items that are similar in nature should be placed in the same area.
7. Items should be shown to advantage:
Apart from displaying merchandise attractively, you, as a retail store manager, should also make sure that the items are placed in such a way that they draw the customer’s attention. Hiding or stacking merchandise will not attract the attention of the customer. When thinking about how to display items, try to imagine what the customers will view with the display. Placing merchandise at eye level, or a little lower than that, is the best way to display specials. Placards and signs are also another method of grabbing the eye of the customer.
8. Get rid of unsold merchandise:
The bottom 10 to 20 percent of the product lines should be gotten rid of every year to be replaced by new products. The product lines that are not selling well should be marked down to half their price in order to sell them off fast. You can even put the less selling items in the bargain section. You may even come up with store offers, like Buy One Get One Free, or something like that.
9. More floor space:
Make sure that your store has ample floor space for customers to move about easily without knocking something off a shelf! The shelves in themselves too should be less cluttered. Definitely a store with easy shopping areas will attract more buyers and will hence make more sales rather than a stuffed, cluttered store. Organize your store in such a way that the customers will not have to hunt for what they want. They should be able to walk in, walk up to the shelf, pick their stuff off it, and walk to the billing area, all on their own!
10. Timely ordering of inventory:
This is another important aspect of a retail store manager’s duties. The levels of inventory should be monitored and kept in adequate amounts at all times. If customers do not find what they are looking for, they will just go to another store.Your inventory should be such that a customer should never leave your store empty-handed. If at all it ever happens, the incident should not repeat!
11. Hire the right people:
A retail manager’s success is largely dependent on the kind of people he/she helps to hire. The staff that is hired has to have the ability of making a quantifiable and meaningful contribution to the store’s performance. In order to be able to rise in the organization, the store manager has to draw the attention as well as the recognition of the top management. The correct people will help in showcasing their talents while they achieve their objectives. Make sure you motivate them to always deliver their best.
12. Training the staff:
Hiring the right kind of people and keeping them motivated is only a part of a retail store manager’s path to success. The main part of a manager’s job is to train the staff so that they are aware of what is expected of them. This will ensure that all the people involved in the success of the store move in the same direction.
13. Incorporating time management skills:
After hiring the right people, training them fully, and getting them ready to achieve success, the next thing a retail store manager has to take care of is managing their time along with the changing priorities they have to deal with each day. This is especially true in case of SALE periods and during holidays, when the store may have an unusual amount of rush. Your staff should be trained enough to handle large number of customers without making mistakes or getting overwhelmed! Efficiency is the key.
14. Long range planning:
Long range planning to ensure that every hour of every day in a week is managed effectively is another important part of the manager’s job. The skill of long range planning is what will be appreciated by the higher authorities, for they look for people who have the ability of looking forward, and creating concrete plans, in order to increase the business. A retail manager who can accomplish this will rise in the organization. A bird’s eye-view is crucial!
15. Retail software:
These days, there is a lot of retail software available which provide scalability, data integrity, stability, and speed, thus offering a complete retail management solution, which can be adapted according to each type of doing business. From inventory management to Point Of Sale (POS) ticket entry, customer tracking, integrated purchasing, and monitoring the movement of merchandise, retail software provides all the capabilities required to run a retail store business more effectively and efficiently.
I am sure that if you incorporate all the above tips in managing the store you work for, you are bound to achieve success – a lot of it, and pretty soon too! You can even use the above management tips in your own store. Finally, you may use them as part of training program for the retail store manager you hire. Wish you loads of luck and success!