Prevent Shoplifting

smart ideas Barb pic

Thinking that someone doesn't "look" like a shoplifter might lull you into a false sense of security.  Prevent shoplifting by removing as many opportunities to shoplift as possible.

Merchandise: Arrange aisles and displays so that employees have a clear view of a much of the store as possible. Utilize convex mirrors for areas that are blind spots.2 Put less expensive items closer to the door, more expensive items further away. This prevents a shoplifter from being able to grab expensive items and be out the door in a matter of seconds. Put security tags on merchandise that can only be removed at the cash register.

Learn Shoplifting Techniques: Limit the number of items that can be taken into the fitting room. Lock all fitting room doors so that customers must have an employee them. Require your employees to note how many items the person is taking into the fitting room. Shoplifters will sometimes use a fitting room to put on stolen merchandise under their own clothes. Note anyone who seems to be wandering in the store, or who seems to be watching employees and other customers closely. They may be looking for an opportunity to shoplift when no one is watching. Take note of a person wearing a baggy coat, especially if the weather doesn't call for it. They may be hiding stolen merchandise underneath.

Involve Employees: Have your employees greet each customer as they enter the store. A shoplifter is less likely to go through with his crime if they think someone might be able to identify them. Offer bonuses to employees who catch shoplifters and alert security. Let your employees know that shoplifters often work in teams, with one person distracting the employee while the other one shoplifts. Tell your employees avoid distractions and to watch other customers at all times. If you have more than one employee, train them so that only one deals with a dominant customer while the other watches the store floor.

  Good-luck! -Barbara

Performance Review -Tips For Managment

smart ideas Barb picPerformance Review Tips Are Beneficial To Managers!

 


  Strike the right balance between praise and constructive criticism to achieve that elusive balance and make the review a productive one, start preparing for the next round of performance appraisals once the last round has been completed. performance reviews If you’re dissatisfied with the reviews you’ve given in the past, take steps now to improve the process before other priorities and deadlines force you to put it on the back burner. Performance reviews are a lot like walking a tightrope. If you withhold positive feedback, you’ll discourage and demoralize employees. On the other hand, if you hesitate to point out problem areas, you’ll never see improvement. ...

   

Maintain A Consistent Review Schedule


Performance appraisals should not be a one-time event. In addition to providing ongoing feedback throughout the year, let employees know what time of year that reviews typically take place. Seventy-seven percent of employees polled said they consider performance reviews valuable, so providing them with adequate time to prepare is critical. Give your staff the opportunity to identify their achievements from the past year and areas where they would like to improve. 

Keep  Files On Each Employee


Whenever you hire a new staff member or immediately after your review the performance of a long-time employee, set up a file in which you will document the good, the bad and the just-average aspects of that employee’s job performance and work habits. You can use the file not only to catalog accomplishments but also to track performance-related issues such as tardiness or consistent failure to meet deadlines. By keeping a performance file on each staff member, you won’t have to rely on memory when you find you need to discuss something that occurred months before the actual review meeting. 

Solicit Third-Party Input


Although the appraisal will be based on your observations and assessments of an employee’s performance, you shouldn’t rely solely on your own perceptions – particularly if your interactions with the individual have been limited. Seek input from colleagues and others who work closely day-to-day with the employee. Inquire about the person’s strengths, weaknesses, areas that have improved over time and special abilities. Ask specific questions. For example, how does this employee handle challenges and overcome obstacles? What contributions has he or she made to team-based projects? Does the employee seem committed to continuing professional education and skills development? Compare the feedback you receive with what you’ve directly observed. 

Allow Sufficient Time To Make An Assessment


Don’t wait until the day before the review to start tracking and critiquing a staff member’s performance – this is unfair to the individual and will not give you an accurate, comprehensive picture of his or her abilities and achievements. Instead, try to observe the employee in a variety of situations over an extended period of time. Ideally, you want to see how well he or she manages both independent and collaborative assignments. 

Create A Conducive Setting


Choose a quiet, private place for the review and try to schedule it at a time when interruptions can be kept at a minimum. When structuring the session, incorporate time for a two-way dialogue so that the employee can respond to your feedback and offer input of his or her own. To prepare for the meeting, organize all documentation – previous evaluations,  comments you’ve gleaned from colleagues and your own notes. Give the employee sufficient advance notice so that he or she can also prepare. 

Performance Reviews

Set The Appropriate Tone


The review itself should be handled in a professional manner and treated as a conversation, not a lecture. Open the discussion by talking about the employee’s accomplishments and positive attributes. When it’s time to shift to negative or problematic areas, focus not on mistakes but on ways to improve performance. Most employees will not be surprised by anything they hear during a review. However, if there’s a gap between an employee’s perceived versus actual performance, be sure to explain the difference and suggest ways performance goals might be met. As you speak with the employee, invite comments on your observations. Once you’ve reviewed past performance, begin talking about future expectations. Clarify his or her job requirements and responsibilities as these can change over time. Also inquire about the employee’s professional development goals and discuss how you both might work toward meeting them. Throughout the meeting, be courteous and tactful. If you must criticize, focus on behaviour rather than personality. Remember that encouragement is the best incentive for improvement. 

Maintain An Open Door


Because employees may need time to digest the feedback from a review, encourage them to come to you afterward if they have questions or concerns. If you show that performance is not a once-a-year issue but a matter of ongoing importance, your staff will focus less on the formal review itself and more on the feedback and guidance they received. They’ll be motivated to see feedback as help with their performance. By preparing well in advance for performance reviews and developing a systematic, consistent appraisal process, you’ll turn what could be an uncomfortable time into a chance to dialogue with team members and set goals for the future. Who knows? You and your employees may start to look forward to these feedback sessions and your employee may improve.  BestBarbara

Building Professional Window Displays

How to Build Professional Window Displays...A Few Great Tips

Picture courtesy of Cloud Nine Pyjamas

Picture courtesy of Cloud Nine Pyjamas

Focus Attention

 Have you ever tried to persuade someone who wasn’t really listening? It doesn’t work.People only have so much attention to give. Show a customer one product and you’re dealing with 100% of their attention. Show them two products and you’ve got only half as much attention on each. That’s called splitting attention. And the more products you add, the worse the math. Some store owners violate this principle hoping that something in the window will catch the eye. In practice, however, the normal result is to catch nothing at all. So little attention is available for any given item, the average passer by sees nothing at all.On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with grouping related products together and selling them as a package. 

Mask Distractive Background

 What else can the customer see through your window? If they can see into the store, you must ask yourself if this is going to enhance the overall effect or detract. Depending on the setting, this could go either way.If viewing above and around the display is distractive, if it looks cluttered, use a backdrop of some sort to wall off distractions. Cover the background panel in fabric or display vinyl. This could be a large panel, or even fire-resistant seamless photography paper. 

Keep It Clean

 A dirty or dusty window display lowers not only perceived value of the product, but also the integrity and control of store management. Five minutes with a feather duster can make a huge difference. Window glass is best cleaned before the display is done, using a solution of clear ammonia and water. Wipe edges with clean paper towels or newspapers. 

Present The Correct Quantity

 Now that you’ve selected an item and limited distractions, you need to decide how many products to put on display. This decision may pivot on price. Generally speaking the less involved the customer is in the purchase of the item, the more you may want to display a volume of the items on display. For example, a potato does not require a lot of thought on the part of a buyer, whereas an expensive watch does. So display only one of the watch, but offer potatoes in a huge pile. 

Elevate

 Get your items off the ground. To put something on a pedestal or platform is to glorify it. Remember the old idiom about putting someone on a pedestal. You can cover a box in velvet or display felt, buy a plastic column from a display supply, or use a table. Never place items on the floor in a display. Make it special. Elevate.  

Use Signage

 The use of signage in a window display gives the chance to reinforce the purpose if tasteful and clever. You want your display to be as powerful as possible but since the ultimate goal is to sell there are times when the whole composition will benefit from a word or two. Or perhaps a brand name or logo positioned somewhere. In fact, there are times when the omission of the brand name would be sheer idiocy. Take, for instance, a series of window displays interpreting a new fragrance. Such a display would make no marketing sense without the name of the brand somewhere visible.But in most cases, unless you have a really good idea for a sign, leave it out. As a comparative, advertisements sometimes include a tag line or slogan. Today the rule is, unless the tag line is spectacular leave it out! Like a bad haircut or botched plastic surgery, a mediocre tag line will do more harm than good. Many advertisers don’t understand this. “What’s our slogan for this campaign?”,  they think they have to have a slogan -not true.  ... The moral of the story, use signage, ( Link to Shoppetalk to Buy! ). 

Add Trim

 Foliage, flowers, ribbon, a velvet pillow, rusty steel, a wicker basket... in the display profession, props such as these are called “trim.” Older dictionaries give a definition of trim as a, “decorative addition.”In fact, it might interest you to know that for decades, a display artist in the apparel industry was called a “trimmer.” In the main, trimmers worked with wires instead of mannequins, making clothes appear to hang, float or fly in mid air as if by magic. They habitually added in decorative additions such as dried foliage, flowers, ribbon, and all manner of things to tell a story.

Picture courtesy of Cloud Nine Pyjamas ..… Robyn hand made all the butterflies . Nice Trim!

Send me pictures of your window displays. Best Barbara

6 Ways To Create A Culture Of Innovation

Reward employees with time to think, while providing them with the structure they need.  

 Thank Soren Kaplan for this great article on creating a culture of innovation...

  • Be Intentional With Your Innovation Intent

  • Create a structure for unstructured time

  • Step-In, Then Step Back

  • Measure What’s Meaningful

  • Give "Worthless" Rewards

  • Get Symbolic!

Business man teamwork , eps10 vector format

Business man teamwork , eps10 vector format

Every organization is designed to get the results it gets. Poor performance comes from a poorly designed organization. Superior results emerge when strategies, business models, structure, processes, technologies, tools, and reward systems fire on all cylinders in symphonic unison.Savvy leaders shape the culture of their company to drive innovation. They know that it’s culture--the values, norms, unconscious messages, and subtle behaviors of leaders and employees--that often limits performance. These invisible forces are responsible for the fact that 70% of all organizational change efforts fail. The trick? Design the interplay between the company’s explicit strategies with the ways people actually relate to one another and to the organization ...Link To Whole Article 

 No Rubber Stamps:

Every company’s culture is inherently different. So when you’re cultivating innovation, you’re cultivating a unique system. Which means you have to be thoughtful about your approach. Whatever you do, it should align with the values of the company and with the company’s goals. And in each case, you have to make it easy and rewarding for the people whose roles and dynamics influence the very innovation culture you’re trying to cultivate.Share your story of  ways you have created a culture of innovation !Look forward to hearing from you.

Best Barbara

Phone Answering Skills -Critical for Businesses

The phone is still most businesses primary point of contact with customers.

The way you answer your company's phone will form your customer's first impression of your business.

answering phones

answering phones

phone calls

phone calls

Here's how to answer the phone properly and win business:

1) Answer all incoming phone calls before the third ring.

2) When you answer the phone, be warm and enthusiastic. Your voice on the phone is sometimes the only impression of your company a caller will get.

3) When answering the phone, welcome callers courteously and identify yourself and your store. Say, for instance, "Good morning.  Laura's Boutique, Susan speaking. How may I help you?" No one should ever have to ask if they've reached such and such a business.

4) Enunciate clearly, keep your voice volume moderate, and speak slowly and clearly when answering the phone, so your caller can understand you easily.

5) Control your language when answering the phone. Don't use slang  Instead of saying, "OK", or "No problem", for instance, say "Certainly", "Very well", or "All right". If you're a person who uses fillers when you speak, such as "uh huh", "um", or phrases such as "like" or "you know", train yourself carefully not to use these when you speak on the phone.

6) Train your voice and vocabulary to be positive when phone answering, even on a "down" day. For example, rather than saying, "I don't know", say, "Let me find out about that for you."

7) Take phone messages completely and accurately. If there's something you don't understand or can't spell, such as a person's surname, ask the caller to repeat it or spell it for you. Then make sure the message gets to the intended recipient.

8) Answer all your calls within one business day. I can't emphasize this one enough. Remember the early bird? The early caller can get the contract, the sale, the problem solved... and reinforce the favourable impression of your business that you want to circulate.

9) Always ask the caller if it's all right to put her on hold when answering the phone, and don't leave people on hold. Provide callers on hold with progress reports every 30 to 45 seconds. Offer them choices if possible, such as "That line is still busy. Will you continue to hold or should I have ________ call you back?"

10) Don't use a speaker phone unless absolutely necessary. Speaker phones give the caller the impression that you're not fully concentrating on his call, and make him think that his call isn't private. The only time to use a speaker phone is when you need more than one person to be in on the conversation at your end.

11) If you use an answering machine to answer calls when you can't, make sure that you have a professional message recorded, that does the same thing as tip #3, and gives callers any other pertinent information before it records their messages. Update your answering machine message as needed. For instance, if your business is going to be closed for a holiday, update your recorded answering machine message to say so and to say when your business will reopen.

12) Train everyone else who answers the phone to answer the same way.  Check on how your business's phone is being answered by calling in and seeing if the phone is being answered in a professional manner. If they don't pass the test, go over this phone answering tips list with them to make sure that everyone at your business knows how to answer the phone properly.

Best Barbara  

The Check Out Experience

smart ideas Barb picThe art of delivering a great checkout experience uses most of the same skills and behaviours required to work with Customers on the floor. ...    


   

unnamed (2)

 Here are some tips for mastering Line-ology:

  • Always give your Customer your undivided attention.  Anyconversations with co-workers and others should wait until you have completed ringing up a sale.  The checkout process should be fast and efficient but at the same time must never make the Customer feel rushed.
  • Never interrupt another employee who is checking out a customer.  The number of managers who interrupt the cashier when he/she is working with a Customer always dismays me.  Unless it's an emergency it can wait.
  • Always greet your Customer in a friendly manner including a smile and eye contact. The eye contact is important because it establishes a stronger relationship in the short amount of time you're with the Customer.
  • Avoid overused questions like "How are you today?"  That is the "How may I help you" of checkouts.  Try to keep it more personal or about what the Customer is purchasing. "Are you enjoying this beautiful day?" or "Isn't that the cutest blouse?"
  • Try to acknowledge the next Customer in line while ringing up your current one.  That simple acknowledgment will demonstrate to the Customer that they are your priority and it will be keep them from getting annoyed by you talking with another Customer.

    ... Practicing the Art of Line-ology might be challenging for some, as one needs to multi-task while delivering a great experience.

  • Really hear what the customer is saying.  A lot of Customers indirectly voice pleasure or displeasure, and your ability to recognize and respond to what someone is saying without maybe quite saying can make a big difference to that Customer's experience.Example: A Customer might say, "The store is so busy it's difficult to get a dressing room."  Many employees would either not respond at all or agree with the Customer's statement.  The master of Line-ology will respond by saying, "Is there something you would like to try on?  I can set these aside and get someone to assist you."
  • Know that some of your hardest tasks are vital to your store's success.  Every time you capture a Customer's contact information you're creating future sales.  Take pride in your ability to capture that information. The same goes for doing required add-ons.  If your owner or manager has asked you to suggest an additional product, do it to the best of your ability.  Remember that almost everyone will say "no," the "no" is not personal, and enjoy those moments when the customer says "yes."  By the way, I'm not a huge fan of those types of add-ons, but to each their own.
  • At the end of each transaction look your Customer in the eye and say "Thank-You."  That brief moment of demonstrating your gratitude will stay with the Customer beyond their time in your store.  You may also, if appropriate, want to invite the Customer back.

    Lastly,.. If you're a Cashier, or occasionally checkout a Customer: Never underestimate how important you are to the success of the store.

    

Best,

Barb

 

Check this list out! *10 Costly Mistakes Retail Sales Staff Make*

smart ideas Barb pic Are These Things Happening In Your Store?...  See A difference In Sales Within 7 Days & Nip These 10 Costly Mistakes In The Bud!

 


  
  1. Failing To Build Rapport With Customers. From a simple greeting to a little chat about niceties; non-sales-directed small-talk goes along way for developing an easier and more open mood within-your Customers.
  2. Failing To Find-Out The Requirements Of Your Customers.unnamed-2
  3. Focusing On Their Own Agenda Instead Of The Customers.
  4. Not Giving Customers Majority Of The Air Time.
  5. Confusing "Telling" with "Selling". Not listening nor hearing what Customer's are saying.
  6. Not Knowing The Prevailing Promotions, Specials Nor Regular Prices Of Products.
  7. Not Differentiating Product/ Service/ Store/ Company Enough To Create Additional Value In The Minds Of The Customer.
  8. Selling Too Fast.  Closing before the customer is ready to buy!
  9. Fail To Address Objections Properly.  Not realizing satisfactory resolutions of objectives are the Shortest Distance to Purchase.
  10. Not Taking Advantage Of Add-On-Sales. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][As soon as the main purchase is done...] Introduce an additional product/service -when Customers are the most ready to entertain more items.

Related Links:

Best Practices To Increase Sales

Boost Your Christmas Sales

Best,

Barbara[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Day #113 - Be A Better Manager

Be A Better Manager

Your business depends on it.

Loved this information and wanted to share it with you:" anyone can be a good manager. It is as much a trainable skill as it is inherent ability; as much science as art. Here are some things that make you a better manager:

As a person:

  • You have confidence in yourself and your abilities
  • You are happy with who you are, but you are still learning and getting better
  • You are something of an extrovert. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but you can’t be a wallflower. Management is a people skill - it’s not the job for someone who doesn’t enjoy people.
  • You are honest and straight forward. Your success depends heavily on the trust of others.
  • You are an includer not an excluder. You bring others into what you do. You don’t exclude other because they lack certain attributes.
  • You have a ‘presence’. Managers must lead. Effective leaders have a quality about them that makes people notice when they enter a room.

On the job:

  • You are consistent, but not rigid; dependable, but can change your mind. You make decisions, but easily accept input from others.
  •  You think out-of-the box. You try new things and if they fail, you admit the mistake, but don’t apologize for having tried.
  • You are not afraid to “do the math”. You make plans and schedules and work toward them.
  • You are nimble and can change plans quickly, but you are not flighty.
  • You see information as a tool to be used, not as power to be hoarded.

Take a look at yourself against this list. Find the places where you can improve and then get going.BestBarbara

Day #98 - Spend Time On The Sales Floor Today

Get out of your office and spend time on the sales floor today:

Sales will go Up!Get on the retail sales floor and interact with customers and your team!  After all, your products are sold and your profits are earned (and often lost) on the sales floor.  Endeavor to spend less than 10% of your time in the office or stockroom!Assist customers and ask your retail team how you can help.  In between customers focus on retail customer service training and retail sales training by role playing and giving feedback.The owner can make a huge deference to the sales goals of the day!Best;Barbara

Day #23 - Job Description For Retail Store Greeter

If it doesn't make sense to hire a greeter for your store, rotate these duties  to all your staff.[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"]This descriptor will give you an idea what the greeter 's job is.Click for a copy of a Store Greeter job description.Barbara[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]