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 firstname.lastname@example.org