7 Ways to Keep Retail Employees Happy

I found this information interesting, I am sure you will too!

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The employees you have working in your store are just as important (if not more important) than what you have in it. These people are the ones who have a direct effect on sales, customer satisfaction and ultimately the success of your store. So how can you keep them happy and encourage them to do even better?

1. Train them well

Are you thoroughly training your employees? Give them in-depth training so they can work to the best of their ability, and avoid frustrations and employee turnover. Show your employees that you are investing in them by retraining ones that have been with you for a while in more specialized areas.

2. Recognize them for doing good work

Affirmation of a job well done can go a long way. If your employees are doing well, tell them! The more someone hears about how they are doing a good job, the more it will make them want to go above and beyond in the future.

3. Give them incentives to do better

Consider offering bonuses or prizes to employees who are doing exceptionally well. You may also run contests to encourage harder work. This will boost employee/team morale and at the same time make your store a pleasurable work environment.

4. Ask for their input

Considering your employees are interacting with customers and selling your products or services, they are a goldmine of information. Show your employees that you value their expertise by asking for their input on how business is going.

5. Give them better tools for the job

Working with old and outdated equipment can make a job more cumbersome than it needs to be. Keep your staff happy and increase their productivity by investing in the equipment that they use on a regular basis. See what tools can be upgraded and replace them if necessary.

6. Avoid scheduling conflicts

There is no faster way to create an unhappy work environment with your employees than abusing their schedule. Remember your employees are real people and not disposable labor. As far as possible avoid last minute changes to the schedule,

7. Play games

Yes, your employees are there to work but there's no reason it can't be fun! Fun is motivational and so is competition. Combine the two into a retail sales game that meets company goals and watch your employees and sales thrive.

 Barbara

Albert Einstein & Retail Business Management

smart ideas Barb pic

smart ideas Barb pic

"If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler."

You must read this terrific list of quotes from Einstein. ...Not the most flattering pic of him -but- who cares its Albert Einstein! ...You'll see what I mean.

Link 31 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from Albert Einstein

Enjoy,

Barb

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

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

Buying Signals

smart ideas Barb pic

smart ideas Barb pic

When Buyers Are Ready To Buy,They Will Tell You. But Not With Words ...

They will, however, send loud non-verbal signals All you need to do is be able to read them! ...

Customer Signals:

When customers come into your sights, whether it is a retail store, at an exhibition or in any other environment, they will be sending you signals.

The Signals That They Send Will Include:

  • I am just wandering around with no real interest in products and intention to buy.

  • I am interested in this product, but am not currently anxious to buy.

  • I am very interested in this and might well buy it if you can answer a few questions.

  • I want to buy this, now!

When They Are Not Ready To Buy:

When a customer is not ready to buy, it does not mean that they will not buy, but it does mean that you will need a different approach. Do remember also that if there are many customers around, spending a lot of effort selling to one customer may mean that you miss out on a lot of other easier sales.

Avoiding Eye Contact With You:

When you look at them and they immediately look away, they probably do not need assistance right at this moment. Do watch what they are doing, because they may need some help soon.If they are handling a limited range of products, spending time looking at things, then it may be a good idea to stand nearby, relaxed and ready to help (not anxious and ready to pounce). When they look at you with a longer glance, move toward them. If they keep looking, keep moving in and start the sale.

Making 'Not Now' Excuses:

If they say 'just looking' or otherwise indicate that they don't need help, then make an encouraging remark to keep them looking and back off. Still keep an eye on them to see if their demeanour changes.

Casual Handling Of The Product:

customers-buying

customers-buying

If they are casually picking up different products and dropping them back, perhaps not tidily, it can be a big nuisance for you as you tidy up after them (when they have left) but this may well be a symbol of a bored browser. As ever, keep an eye on them so you can move in when they change how they are behaving.

Looking At Many Different Products:

If they are wandering around looking at almost random products, spending a similar short time on each one, then they may again be a relatively bored browser.

Moving Around Quickly:

When they are moving quite quickly around the place, they may be scanning for something or may be wandering. If they slow down, watch more carefully and move in when they are showing more signs of interest.

When They Are Ready To Buy:

 When the person is ready to buy, or at least they are showing some interest, then you should also be ready to pick them up and move them towards the final close.

Spending Time Looking At One Product Type:

When they are looking at one type of product, and especially if you have a broad range from which they are browsing only a small category, then they may well be interested in buying. Perhaps they need advice, so ask if you can help them decide.The longer a person looks at one product type, the more likely they are to buy it. They are investing their time, which is a sure sign of interest.

Looking Around For Somebody To Help Them:

If you see them looking around, catch their gaze, and perhaps raise your eyebrows a little to signal that you are ready to help. If they sustain the glance or raise their eyebrows too, move in to sell.This is particularly significant if they are holding the product or have just spend time looking at a limited product range.

the way you buy

the way you buy

Asking Questions About The Detail:

If, when you offer help, they get into more detail about the product, then they are likely to be becoming more interested.If they ask about the functionality of the product, they may well have a checklist of things they are seeking, so ask for details of what they are seeking. You can also ask more about how they will use the product, from which you can advice on the best buy for them.

Asking About Price:

This is a good buying signal. You can tell them the price or you can ask how much they are looking to spend today. If they tell you, then you can help them find the best value for the money they have to spend.

Using Possession Language:

When they pick up the product, they are getting a sense of owning it. This continues when they talk about how they will use the product -- which is a good reason for encourage this talk. Look for 'I' language. Get them to use it. Ask how they will use it. You can even talk about it as if they already own it, although be careful of being unsubtle and pushy.

Asking Another Person’s Opinion:

When they ask another person what they think about the product, they are likely thinking about buying the product and are seeking confirmation.You might thus find yourself selling it to the second person also. Think about this when you are making the initial sale -- include whoever else is there in the sales talking, though do watch for whether the main seller wants to be the main focus or appreciates others being included.

Body State Changes:

Any transition in non-verbal communication will typically signal a change in mental state that may well indicate readiness to buy. If they suddenly relax after asking questions or discussing the product, this may well signal that they have changed mental state. Other signals includes changes in body position, gesture, skin tone, style of talk and so on.

Touching The Money:

If they touch their wallet or purse and especially if they get out cash or credit card, this is a very strong signal for you. Get to them and ask if you can help. If they say they want to buy, just take their money (and do beware of 'un-selling' the product by your over-zealous and non-needed sales patter). Great info! Share this with your staff it's all part of improving their skills and knowledge on "How To  Sell more Effectively ". Need Sales Training for Your Staff? Contact me today!

Best Barbara

Marketing Tips for FaceBook

smart ideas Barb pic24 Ways To Market Your Brand, Company, Product, or Service Inside FaceBook


 

 fb_icon_325x325A large and growing portion of some of the most valuable demographics are spending more of their time and attention on Facebook and less on other social media channels.

Not only are  college students and teenagers fully engaged in Facebook, but adults, professionals, and people from around the world now constitute a substantial portion of the Facebook userbase as well. Most marketers lack a comprehensive understanding of the vast array of explicit and implicit marketing channels Facebook offers – most of which are viral.

The goal here is to provide an introduction to what’s possible on Facebook to the spectrum of marketers from brand advertisers to volunteer grassroots evangelists.

Facebook offers many ways to get the word out and bring the people in.

Here’s how to get started.  See link to complete article

Marketing Tips on FaceBook

Best,

Barb

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. ...    


   

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 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

 

The Evolution of Customer Service in Family Owned Businesses

smart ideas Barb picI came a cross an informative article, while browsing on LinkedIn I know will resonate with a handful of my readers. Do you own a family run business? Considering your options?

Either-way this is a must read!

 


Remember the good old days when continued Customer purchases were usually yours unless you didn’t fix a problem… 1st Generation Family Run Business Owners businesses grow from:

passing the baton

  • Investing long hours of hard work and detailed attention to Customers

  • Getting to know Customers through long conversations over dinners!

  • Loyal Customers would tell business owners when something was wrong.

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  • These Customers would complain, even make a suggestion! And wait expecting to hear back from the owner, to tell them exactly how the problem would be remedied -then offer a discount or tangible evidence that the loyalty is appreciated!

  • Lastly, where the business is Family-Run often you’ll find the 1st Generation Owners calling up the 2nd Generation (Employees) to demand that Customers problems are fixed immediately -Not just when “[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"][they] get around to it”.

   

Learn more, here's the Link...

The Evolution of Customer Service in Family Owned Businesses

Best,

Barb

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Day #131 - Working With Members Of Your Family

"Working with family members has the potential to be a very trying, sticky and challenging situation. It can bring out the best in you and your relatives--and also the worst in your working relationships. It can cause you to minimize or overlook errors or omissions that your relative commits, or it can make you excessively hypercritical and condescending. Just why does this happen? Working with family members is difficult for any number of reasons:

  • You know so much about the other person--you've been privy to intimate information about them.
  • You've most likely had arguments or negative conflicts with them.
  • You have years of experiences with them, both positive and negative.
  • You know the other person's "hot and cold buttons," the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that reward, cajole and pacify, or punish, threaten and dismiss the other person.
  • Maybe you don't like your relative or, conversely, you're very close with that person, which means you could either be overly critical or overly protective of them.
  • You may provide too much supervision or teamwork--or you may provide too little.

As a result of the knowledge and closeness you have with this other person, you may find it difficult to be rational, logical, accurate or fair with your thoughts, feelings and behaviors when it comes to interacting with that person. Your relationship with them--both at work and in your personal life--is probably suffering.So how do you begin to correct the situation? First, you need to approach the other person and acknowledge that the current relationship isn't working optimally, that something is either "too right" or "too wrong," too positive or too negative. Then you need to discuss the impact your behaviors or attitudes are having on other employees and the company as a whole. Third, you need to agree to meet together . Fourth, it's important that you both agree that you're going to work together to improve and maximize the current relationship for your own sake as well as the sake of the organization.Next, you both need to agree that you want to work toward making the working atmosphere more professional and less personal. You have to agree not to allow your personal feelings, either positive or negative, to enter into the work place. But be warned: These tactics will only work if you empower someone you trust, including another relative, to step in and stop actions that appear to be based on irrational feelings, either positive and negative (in other words, actions that you're taking that overlook or are overly critical of your relative's behaviour).Sixth, you need to clarify the specific goals each of you agrees to meet so that behaviors and attitudes are directed toward meeting the company's goals and mission. Ensure that any statement of goals you create is specific, can be measured and assessed, and can be successfully achieved.The next step is to make sure that your roles are carefully, objectively, rationally and completely described to ensure optimal clarity by all individuals for all roles. This is an especially critical step because it's very common that working relationships fall apart when this step has not been taken. When employees at any level are  confused about "who is responsible for what," conflict and misunderstandings result, and productivity, employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction all decrease. To avoid this morass, you must spend time working on making each individual's explicit obligations. This facet of working together refers not only to each person's tasks and responsibilities, but also to each person's reporting relationships and source of power and influence, including their time, salary and bonuses, employees and equipment.The eighth tip is to clarify the work processes that will be used on a daily basis: the process for making decisions, including who can make what kind of decisions, who is involved in these steps, and how decisions are to be made (by an individual, a pair or small group). Another process to consider is how to communicate with others and, in particular, which others. Basically, this aspect refers to just who is included in the communications loop and why. Are all the key players to be kept up to date about occurrences? Are key people being left out of the communications loop for reasons of power or jealousy? Are inappropriate people being brought into the loop for reasons of patronage?The ninth tip is to build trust. Start by acknowledging the current situation. You'll be appreciated and valued for discussing a topic that others know about but are reluctant to bring up. Make sure that others can trust what you're saying and doing by backing up your thoughts and actions with clarity and explanations. Then, when you make a commitment to change the status quo, do what you're saying and say what you're doing. Make sure your actions speak for themselves, and when they don't, offer clear explanations. In addition, act with integrity, honesty and truthfulness in all that you do.Above all, make certain that you're competent in all that you do. Ensure that you have the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform at a high level. If you don't, get some training, find a mentor, or redesign your tasks and responsibilities to align them with what you do best. Nothing destroys trust faster than incompetence. As you can see, trust is potentially the strongest element in any relationship. Without it, organizations fall apart.The tenth and final tip involves showing the positive quality of interpersonal relationships. Just because you're related to someone doesn't mean you need to love them or worship them, especially on the job. Nor does it mean that the company is a playground for working out family problems. What is required is that you demonstrate respect for other people, especially your relatives. You needn't be fawning or ostentatious with your praise or criticism of them, but you do need to be professional and appropriate, whatever the true nature of your feelings and attitudes toward others, especially family".Posted with love and respect for the challenges that face members  of families that work together.BestBarbara

Day #125 - Take A Hike Receives Business Excellence Award

Please join me in congratulating one of our own:Retailer Diane Petryna, owner of Take a Hike in Thunder Bay

Take A Hike Receives Business Excellence Award

Medium (7-25 Employees)THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO - May 6, 2012 - Nine years after having won the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce's Business Excellence Award for small sized firms (1-6 employees), Take A Hike was once again recognized for its excellence. At last evening's 18th Annual Business Awards Gala held at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay, the retail store received the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for medium sized companies (7-25 employees).Take A Hike's continued business expansion and diversification, exemplary customer service, innovative staff training initiatives, and history of community involvement impressed the judges.In accepting the award, store owner Diane Petryna acknowledged the on-going support her company has enjoyed from customers, employees, suppliers and the community.  She also suggested that with her company's track record, the Chamber should expect Take A Hike back at the podium in 10 more years. "By then we'll be ready to pick up our award in the large sized business category," she said with a smile.Take A Hike is an independently owned and operated outdoor lifestyle store located at 309 Bay Street in Thunder Bay. Since 1996, Take A Hike has been offering shoppers a unique collection of quality gifts, toys, clothing, footwear and gear.As a leading retailer in Canada, Petryna is a member of the Retail Council of Canada's Independent Retailer Advisory Committee and is often cited in industry journals about best retail management practices.For more information, contact:Diane Petryna at 1-807-474-4220  or diane@takeahike.ca or go to www.takeahike.ca