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5 things you need to know about retail

I was born into a world of retail and grew up not knowing anything else besides it. My father’s business provided me with some great opportunities to learn the retailing ropes at a young age. Not that I appreciated it at the time of course. I only do so now, as I sit and look at the basic fundamentals I learned that now form the foundation of my retailing business.

Here are 5 things you need to know about retail:
1. Ego. When you are thinking of opening a store or have just opened one, you will be flying high as a kite. You will feel that you have done the greatest thing in the world… and trust me, you should be very, very proud of yourself. Your dream has become a bricks and mortar reality. But once you have opened, kerb the ego and get ready to build and push that business brick by brick, step by step every hour of every day of every month. You are your business. You will have no time to take a back seat so put the ego in the back pocket and get to work.

2.Retailing legs. Ever heard the term retailing legs? Yes, you will have to stand to attention and be ready to serve each and every customer as they walk through your doors. I have walked into many stores to find staff remaining seated whilst acknowledging you. Get yourself, and your staff up off your chairs, standing to attention to greet customers. You will instantly make a better impression and start the process of turning that customer into a sale. Grow those retail legs, you will get used to it.

3.There is nothing to do. I remember working in my father’s store when I was 17 years old when my manager, Curwin, came up to me and asked what I was doing? He had observed me for 15 minutes just twiddling my thumbs, staring out of the shop window. I thought I was being smart and replied “I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to, so there is nothing to do”. A big mistake! Curwin then responded with, “In a store there is always something to do and if there isn’t, find something before I find something for you. Customers will not walk into a store if you are staring into thin air, so look busy!”. I looked at him and waited in anticipation as I knew the worst job was about to land on my lap, and trust me it did. Be prepared for quiet times because there will be a few. When that happens, find things to do and look busy, getting ready for that next customer.

4. Stay organized. A messy, untidy, unorganized store is an unprofitable one. From stock to accounts to day to day house-keeping, stay organized. Whether you have 10 staff or you are a one man band, the message is the same – stay organized. If you lead by example, your team will follow suit. Your customers will see this and sales will flow. Communicate with your staff, keep your inventory up to date and correct and keep on top of paperwork. An organized retailer is a successfully retailer.

5. Make it happen. These three words have served me well in 20 years of retail. The negative rubbish you hear about retail being quiet, business is tough, oh it’s not like it used to be etc etc. is just utter rubbish. When it is quiet are you going to lie down and let it be? No! Go and make it happen – change the window, or create a new promotion. Look for a special you could sell to attract customers. Make it happen! When you put your mind to it, it will happen!!

Q for you
1) When have you changed something in your store and seen this change make a positive impact on your sales?
2) Are you about to open your new store? How do you feel?
3) Are you feeling a bit unorganized with the day to day procedures of running a store?

If I can help you with any of the above, feel free to get in touch. Email hiten@hitenthakrar.com

Comments

  1. Hiten, you are so right!! I also began my career in a family run operation and am now a multi unit manager in women’s specialty retail. My 1st boss taught me that the customers will treat your store with the same respect that you treat your store. A neat, tidy, organized and well displayed store with friendly outgoing associates and managers is easy to maintain and consistently successful. The customers treat every rack, table and wall with the same care that the store team does! They are in a great mood or will get into a great mood because that is the atmosphere that they have walked into.
    I always tell my people the following story: The majority of people adapt quickly to the environmant that they find themselves in.
    We all have friends that have happy houses that are neat as a pin. When we visit them we may take off our shoes at the door (they tell us not to bother but we WANT to) we use a coaster under our drink, offer to help with the dishes if we eat, have our kids pick up what they played with before we leave and we have a great time because our hostess has things ready when we arrive, is able to spend some relaxing time with us while we are there and has shown that she really was looking forward to us coming and loves having us there. As we leave her home she is suggesting that we need to get together again real soon! We are already making plans to meet again!!
    On the other hand, we have visited houses where the hostess isn’t dressed, the house is a mess and the meal needs not only her but our attention if it is ever going to to be served. We aren’t sure if we want the kids to take off their shoes at the door, we can’t find a coaster under the clutter on the tables and we can’t begin to figure out what the kids played with since every toy in the house seems to be on the floor in one room or another. The sink is so full of yesterday’s dishes that we can’t begin to figure out how to help to clean up so we just add our dishes to the pile and close our eyes as we walk away! We leave that house kind of confused and exhausted and not really sure if we want to go back.
    We won’t even talk about the house where everything is spotless and the hostess tells you to take off your shoes, makes your kids sit outside if they want a drink or a snack (which you had to bring with you) so as not to “make a mess” and makes it pretty clear that she would actually appreciate it if you’d leave the family at home the next time that you visit. You are on edge the entire time that you are in her home and since you can’t wait for the visit to end you make an excuse and skedaddle as quickly as possible. You leave there knowing that you will NEVER go back!!
    If we all treat the door to our store as if it is the door to our home and assure that we are as welcoming and prepared for every visit as the 1st hostess we listed we will have “guests” that just want to keep things neat and pleasant, will enjoy their experience in the store and their time with you and will be planning their next visit with you as they walk out the door!!
    It’s just human nature to mimic the environment, behavior, mood and attitude of our hostess!! It’s even more deeply ingrained that we love to go places where we are warmly welcomed and feel as if we are really wanted!!
    If we talk about this as we interview and we watch the candidate’s body language and listen to her feedback, we will make the right choice and consistently find hostess #1 to open our doors for our guests!!

  2. sir i absolutely agree with you as all these things i was learning from my senior since i started my career and now i apply all these things in my store and its magically works .. thanks for sharing ;)

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