Highly Successful Retail Manager and Customer Service

Highly successful retail managers (HSRM) are passionate about delivering exemplary customer service; they treat customers with the respect they deserve – role modeling on the sales floor so associates can see and hear exactly what exemplary customer service looks and sounds like.

The HSRM knows that every customer, in every situation, must be treated with the utmost courtesy and respect and, if he does not role model that behavior at all times, there is very little hope of associates delivering consistently.

Role modeling correct and proper behavior ensures that you are seen as the authority on how the customer is to be treated.

It also earns you respect as employees see how easily you deal with customers in every situation.

They see how you change your greeting and overall approach to different customers.

For example, you would likely treat teenagers looking at headphones differently than you would treat a mature married couple who are upgrading their entertainment system – not in any way better or worse, just differently.

Approaches are not generic and need to be tailored, just like the rest of the sales process.

Role modeling is an excellent way to teach and HSRM’s take every opportunity to do so.

HSRM’s know their customer and they insist that their team members learn as much as they can about them also.

By talking to customers, and through various types of analysis, the HSRM becomes an expert on his customers likes and dislikes; their shopping habits; what they will, and will not, accept in terms of merchandise and various other things.

For example, an HSRM would be able to speak intelligently about how the customer will react to a proposed visual display or a promotion.

They know their customer and their subordinates understand that maximum performance depends on knowing the customer also.

The HSRM teaches by showing – by role modeling as mentioned above.

This aspect of the job cannot be underestimated because it speaks volumes about you and your expectations.

Associates must sincerely believe in the importance of the customer.

There is no better way to instill this belief, than by having the manager demonstrate how important the customers are to him/her.

The HSRM knows what the organizations’ service strategy is, knows how to deliver it, never fails to deliver it and expects the same from everyone in the company.

Before any associate steps on to the sales floor, s/he must have been made aware of the customer service offering of the company and how the company expects it to be delivered.

For example, if the business model of a particular company is one of self service then associates may not be expected to actively engage customers in sales conversations.

However, to ensure that the business is still focused on revenue generation through excellence in customer service, they would still want to see customers treated in a particular way; perhaps they would expect an approach and an offer of assistance.

Whatever the company decides to deliver as far as customer service is concerned, that is what the associate must be trained for once the customer service basics are in place.

Many companies incorrectly assume that their new associates possess the basics of customer service.

This is a mistake because when it comes time to layer on training specific to the company’s customer service offering the new associate may become confused and will not perform well.

It would be like learning to run before learning to walk, resulting in a lot of falls or, at least, missteps.

The key, here, is making sure that basics are understood first. Basics consist of things like:

Arrow-Right Presentation – dress and grooming

Arrow-Right Physical posture

Arrow-Right Good manners

Arrow-Right Telephone etiquette

Arrow-Right Knowing what is, and is not, appropriate behavior on the sales floor

Arrow-Right Showing respect for the customers’ time

Arrow-Right Showing respect for the merchandise

Arrow-Right Understanding the company expectations and general workplace rules

The highly successful retail manager knows how to assess associates to ascertain their level of competence when it comes to delivering customer service.

This is usually done at the time of the interview and with well worded questions to past employers during the reference check.

Of course, observation is an excellent assessment method also.

Once the basics are clearly understood and the associate understands what the company customer service offering is, and how to deliver it, they are ready for the sales floor.

The HSRM knows that this training is critical and that it positively must be done before the associate interacts with customers.

After that, the manager must keep a very close eye on the associate to ensure that all interaction with customers is exactly as it should be.

Watch for eye contact, body language, facial expressions, what is actually said and tone of voice.

We said earlier that HSRM’s role model exemplary customer service at all times and that doing so was the best way to ensure associates realized the importance of customer service.

There is, of course, more to be done to ensure the on-going improvement of our associates and one of the major things is to have coaching conversations as often as possible.

After observing an associate the HSRM spends a few minutes talking to them to either praise or correct, or both.

Praise comes fairly easily. The HSRM praises the associate for specific behaviors that were correct.

Having a coaching conversation where you must correct behaviors can also be easy if you direct your attention to the specific behavior and make sure not to criticize the individual.

The HSRM knows that these conversations are an absolute must and that they owe it to the associate, the company and the customer to make the conversation as productive as possible.

The HSRM knows, intuitively, how customers should be treated and, in addition to modeling the behavior, HSRM’s teach all associates these golden rules:

Arrow-Right Treat every customer like a valued guest – using only the best manners.

Arrow-Right Never say the word “no” to a customer – even when you cannot say ‘yes’, find a way to handle any situation without actually using the word “no”.

Arrow-Right Respect the customer’s time – always – if the customer has to wait, be sure to let the customer know why he is waiting and approximately how long he will have to wait.

Arrow-Right Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and try to see things from their perspective – ask yourself “How would I feel if I were the customer in this case?”

Arrow-Right Never assume anything – ask questions to gain information.

Arrow-Right Recognize the customer’s lifetime value to the organization.

Arrow-Right Smile and show your enthusiasm for your work.

For more on Retail Customer Service, Click on the banner below

Retail Customer Service Fundamentals

Monday, Monday…Standards, Execution & Benchmarks

Monday’s always test us, but it’s much worse when multi-unit Managers miss target due to subpar execution at store level!

Retail Standards, Benchmarks & Execution…Critical!  

Don’t you just hate it when you don’t make target?   Honestly, no one wants to be the biggest loser of the week.   

Sure, we know there are reasons and we search for all of the possible explanations and declare we will do better and make it next week!  

And, that’s what is expected because, as multi-unit Managers we are on a never ending quest to achieve target in every store…day after day, week after week, and so on and so on.   

So, give it the old Rah! Rah! and go at it again.

Ok, maybe we’re having a little bit of fun…making light of the situation.  

But that’s because we know the life of an Operations, Regional, District Manager and all of the other retail management positions that are getting their numbers together, their phone calls made and their charts printed so they can go into their meetings – Zoom or otherwise – and sound like they know what they’re talking about; they’ve identified the issues.  

We don’t doubt that the vast majority do, indeed, know what they’re talking about.  

On Mondays, they absorb all kinds of new information…plans and challenges for the week ahead are discussed and strategies formulated and off they go.   

Mondays are usually very long days.   

Most multi-unit Managers – Ops, RMs & DM’s – are happy when Monday is over.  

Win or lose last week, another week in retail is already underway and they’re ready for it.   

Every single hour of every day we are pushing to make our stores and our people successful.  

We try to give them everything they need.  

We call and text and visit and generally do whatever we can to motivate and encourage…to coach and guide.  

But, at the end of the day, it’s all in the hands of store personnel.  

Most significantly, the Store Manager…because the DM cannot be in every store all day every day, nor should there be reason to.

That’s not the job.   The idea is to manage through others.   

We’re supposed to build strong teams and develop great people and communicate well and generally do everything possible to ensure they execute as expected.

Many RM’s and DM’s can’t be in every store once a week or even once a month.   

Imagine the opportunity for negative things to take root when visits are few and far between.   

Of course, you might say things like “oh, Store Manager’s don’t need that much attention...they can be trusted…they know what they’re doing…” and, of course, you may very well be right.   

But you have to be sure and you have to know the capabilities of each person before treating them like ‘seasoned treasures’ who don’t need you so much anymore.  

We know that most Store Managers are great, hard working dedicated professionals but that doesn’t mean they don’t need proper management.  

Running a business unit in a far flung geographic location that is seldom visited is tough.

Right from the start, those managers need even more help than managers closer to home.   

You can’t just swoop in, give someone the keys and leave for an extended period…hoping for the best.  

If you do that, that’s all that will happen – you will continually hope for the best and not necessarily achieve it.

Perhaps, the biggest challenge for multi-unit managers  is managing remotely. We address the challenge.  

If you want to have better sales results and better Mondays…    

You have to put a success formula in place that keeps working even when you’re not there.

Now accepting registrations for the mid-September.   Retail Standards, Benchmarks & Execution  Seminar ONLINE

Total of 6 Hours conveniently separated into two sessions.

Wednesday, Sept. 15 & Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Eastern each day  

Case Study, Exercises, Follow-up Program   LIVE & INTERACTIVE – Registration covers both sessions. Full presentation sent to email of every registrant  whether you attend or not.
Until Next Time…

PS: For inquiries, contact:

jhill at retailmanagementworkshop . com

PPS: BONUS added for Early Bird Registration: Study Course – 7 Step Process to get Maximum ROI on Store Visits ($147 Value)

Get Out of Town – Really!

It is impossible to direct an operation without knowing how it works.

How it really works, not how it is supposed to work.

If you are in charge of a retail operation and don’t have your next out of town store visit trip booked …do it now.

It’s more important to visit out of town stores more often than you visit stores in close proximity to Head Office.

In town visits are really not as productive, for you or the company, as out of town visits.

There are many reasons for this but among the most important are familiarity and favoritism.

The home town Store Managers are usually more familiar and friendly with Head Office staff and out of town stores perceive the in town stores to be favored…true or not.

For everyone’s sake, get out of town regularly.

Call the District Manager and each of the Managers you plan to see during your trip and ask them to prepare a list of questions for you.

This call should be made by you, not your assistant.

Tell the Store Managers that no topic is off limits and that you are sincerely looking forward to hearing their ideas, answering their questions and discussing the business with them.

Make sure you let them know exactly when you will be in town and then work together to come up with the best day and time for you to meet with them in their store.

Remember that, during these visits, your schedule is much more flexible than theirs. They must consider floor coverage, breaks for staff, etc.

Let them know that you would like to do a store walk through and then meet, out of the store of course, for lunch or coffee.

After doing all of the above you will already have accomplished a great deal.

You have made a commitment to meet with certain individuals and, barring an unforeseen disaster, you will show up at the date and time agreed to.

They are counting on it; their staff members are counting on it.

The operation is important to you and, while you are out of town visiting your stores very few things should be allowed to take priority over your scheduled meetings with Managers.

What you learn from these meetings will be very valuable for you and the organization.

You have elevated your business partners. They are excited about your visit and they are feeling more like a valued company professional than they ever did before.

With your phone call you have personally acknowledged their importance to the company and their level of motivation has shot right through the roof.

They are pumped and they will rally their teams to get ideas, questions and concerns. When you arrive they will be ready to contribute.

In contrast to this scenario many VP’s and Directors do something like this:

Make a decision to fly out in a few days; have their assistant send an e-mail to a District Manager to make sure they are picked up at the airport; the assistant is instructed to tell the DM that there are certain stores they want to see, certain stores they do not need to see and the schedule, or order of store visits, can be worked out when they arrive.

The DM then lets his/her Managers know that there will be a Head Office visit during a specified period of time but no one is sure whether the visitor will come to their store or not.

The reason for the ‘possible’ visit is not known.

Even if a particular Manager is told that the Head Office visitor will come to their store, no time is set because the visitors schedule is subject to change if something more important comes up.

Perception is reality and all that.

Our opinion is that there are very few things more important than meeting with a Store Manager who is expecting you.

I have witnessed many cases where a store team knows of a pending visit and waits the entire day (and evening) only to have a Manager of another store call to say ‘they’re not coming because they got off schedule’ which translates into ‘too bad you waited; you’re really not that important.’

In this scenario no one is expected to prepare anything or to contribute in any way. They are just the keepers of the stores.

This is a completely wasted visit.

Unfortunately, the Store Managers are likely to be de-motivated by all of this.

Even if the Head Office individual does feel that they accomplished something with this visit, it is nothing compared to what they could have accomplished.

A note about surprise visits: Before your next surprise visit, determine exactly why you are doing it.

Do you want to know what the store looks like and how the staff are handling customers, etc.? Do you want to catch someone doing something wrong?

Isn’t there a better way? Of course there is and you don’t need to fly around the country to do it.

Try to find a good Mystery Shopper. More on that in another article.

Think about this. You are a VP or Director. It is Monday at 1:45 p.m.

Last weeks numbers are not great and you have been working feverishly all morning trying to analyze what is going on; you’re calling RM’s and DM’s, buyers and marketing staff; your assistant called in sick and you haven’t had a chance to have a bite to eat.

You have to have the full explanation of what went wrong and your complete action plan ready in time for the 4:00 p.m. meeting with the boss.

The CEO walks into your office and has you call in all of your subordinates for a meeting – right there and then – and during that meeting you must still carry on with your work (think customers in the store).

You do not have the option of saying that this is not a good time; you just have to live with the situation. Impossible is it? Sounds a little bizarre?

That’s a surprise visit. Just don’t do it.

You can have a tremendous impact on your business by handling store visits as proper professional business meetings.

No doubt you have Store Managers at different stages of development with different levels of knowledge, skill and experience.

Your visit can be used to build a foundation of management strength in the field.

You can impart knowledge to raise the skill level of your newer and less experienced Managers.

You can challenge your more experienced and more knowledgeable Managers.

You have tremendous power to create very positive attitudes and a loyal following.

In addition to the motivation you create in the field you are going to go back to the office much better off.

You will have new insight and information and you got it from the people who are in direct and constant communication with your customer; you got it from the people who make the sales and satisfy your customers.

If you do it right, you can accomplish truly incredible things with your store visits.

Max ROI Store Visits

Max ROI Store Visits

Planning on Staying in Business? Stop Cutting!

  This company saved a buck but left customers angry and disappointed.
Yesterday we talked about the perils of cutting expenses and shrinking the business without giving thought to the consequences. 

We said that cost cutting measures usually interfere with the job of selling and will, therefore, reduce revenues over time.

This story illustrates the point.
The retailer in this story is a well known ice cream and chocolate company that was once owned by a huge international company who sold ice cream and confections, and more, to wholesalers and distributors.  

When they decided to sell off the relatively small retail chain of ice cream and chocolate stores, they did something that was almost unthinkable!  

Well, to the employees and loyal customers it was unthinkable.

They got rid of a little perk customers had come to love…and expect.  

Customers had been forced to endure quite a few changes over a relatively short period of time.

Every change was a cost cutting exercise for the company.  

For one thing, the free gift wrapping they had come to expect was no longer available.

Too expensive…even with the advertising benefit taken into account.  

Then some of their all time favorite products – staples of the business for years – were no longer available as they were, apparently, not profitable enough.   

Finally, the small, oval chocolate that had always been placed on the top of every ice cream cone sold, was discontinued.  

That was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. 
It was almost hysterical!  

For years, at the front of every shop, stood a huge cutout of a picture of an ice cream cone with a small, oval chocolate on top.  

The chocolate was inserted into the top of every ice cream cone served…as advertised.  

The cutout/stand was made of very durable material – hard, thick, plasticized corrugated material.   

The cutout was moved into position every morning when opening the doors.

Customers loved that chocolate…adults and kids alike.  

I would go so far as to say it often made the difference when choosing which ice cream shop to buy their cones from.  

District Managers were issued heavy duty scissors and told to go out to the stores and cut off the oval chocolate as they would no longer be putting the chocolate on ice cream cones and didn’t want to represent that they would.
The reason I say it was almost hysterical is because of the scene.

Try to imagine a professionally dressed individual kneeling on the floor, wresting with a toppled 5 foot tall cardboard cutout of a huge ice cream cone, at the entrance of a store, using a giant pair of scissors to cut around the shape of a chocolate that was at the top of it. 

It was extremely difficult to cut the chocolate out and the appearance, after the surgery, was terrible.
  It was ridiculous.   

Customers were very unhappy and made  their views known to store employees.    

Store employees, in turn, made their views  known to their District Managers but to no avail.

The chocolate was gone. End of story.   The change was not going over well at all. But that didn’t matter. 

You know why?   Unbeknownst to field personnel, the chain was being sold.

It was deemed important for the chain to show as much profit as possible so prospective buyers would see it more favorably.   

For the current owner, who had no intention of growing the chain and planned to sell it within the year, it made sense.

Cut, cut, cut and future business be damned.   For customers it was a loss.  

For the buyer who was not likely aware at the time, it meant nothing until after they made the investment and soon came to find out that the chain had recently lost a lot of loyal customers – the worst kind to lose!   

Eventually, the small oval chocolate returned.

The buyer of the chain realized it was an important part of the customer experience.   

The moral of the story is this:    If you’re selling your company then you will do whatever you feel you need to do.   

If you plan to stay in business and prosper, don’t cut indiscriminately.   Reduce waste, of course.   

Cut unnecessary expenses, absolutely.  

Find new sources for things and make sure you’re getting the best you can for your money.   

But be certain that your cuts won’t negatively affect customers, profit and future business.  

It can be difficult and we can help you.
Register for  The Retail Operations Management Workshop ONLINE: Next Available Session – Tuesday, August 31 & Thursday, September 2, 2021 9 AM – 12 PM Eastern (New York) (3 Hours Each Day) Registration covers both sessions.

Live & Interactive

The full presentation and recording is sent to all registrants, whether you attend or not, so scheduling is never an issue.
Or, get personal attention from our Operations experts. Check out the program here.
We love to hear from you! Let us know how your business is doing.

Until next time,
All the Success!

RFID in Retail – Live Webinar

RFID Live Webinar  
On Friday Aug 27 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Eastern (New York), we are holding the  RFID Applications in Retail Webinar.  

RFID is one of the strongest contenders to solve COVID-19 issues like touchless and contactless operations.

The Amazon GO concept is one example.  

The webinar is not free and the information is worth every penny you invest.

If you aren’t able to attend online, please register anyway and you will get the recording and the slides of the session sent to your inbox.  

Here’s the registration page: RFID-Radio Frequency Identification Device (dmsretail.com)   We hope you’ll join us.

All the Success!

PS. This technology is also a great solution for inventory management and control. Don’t miss this webinar – CLICK HERE

Know How to Interview, Hire and Train

The Highly Successful Retail Manager (HSRM) knows the ‘cause’** is maximizing revenue and profit and that he must hire people who will further that cause.

The HSRM interviews with the purpose of hiring competent – potentially great – individuals who show indications of being able to move up in the organization.

In retail, a competent associate must have the ability to sell, whether completely developed or not.

The HSRM can spot potential and goes out of his way to hire candidates who have it.

Throughout the recruiting, hiring, on-boarding and training process, the HSRM keeps the Store Management Process in mind.

Before the HSRM even considers starting the interviewing process a Successful Associate Profile is developed based on successful people who are already in the role.

A Successful Associate Profile is not difficult to create.

Developing your own Successful Associate Profile

  • Make a list of all of the important functions required in the position.
  • Make a list of the competencies that a candidate would have to have in order to perform those functions.
  • Make a list of associates who possess these competencies and are very successful in the same position who are already in your organization.
  • Observe those associates performing each of the functions.
  • Make a list of the traits and characteristics exhibited by those associates while performing the functions.

Your Successful Associate Profile should not be lengthy; you cannot include so many requirements that you eliminate every candidate.

Choose the most important ones; the ones that contribute to the ‘cause’ and, as mentioned above, the ‘cause’ is to maximize revenue and profit.

**An important note here – revenue and profit obviously cannot be maximized simply by putting a high powered sales associate on the sales floor.

The associate must possess many more skills and qualities than just being able to sell merchandise.

If he does not, return rates will sky rocket and customer retention will suffer leading to the eventual demise of the business.

So, when we say the ‘cause’ is to maximize revenue and profit, it must be understood that a well rounded approach is required.

Contrary to what many believe, HSRM’s say that the very best time to lay out expectations of the position, is during the interview.

It’s true that interviews are for the purpose of determining if a candidate is the right fit for the employer and vice versa.

However, there is a lot to be gained by discussing expectations in the interview, particularly in retail.

There are many preconceived notions out there about what a position in retail involves.

Many retailers do not have high quality individuals working for them and that has to make you question their hiring practices.

But back to the point, the candidate sitting in front of you during the interview may have some incorrect information strictly based on what s/he has experienced in retail stores and may have the idea that a retail job is no big deal.

The HSRM cannot take that chance and that is why it is so important to let the candidate know what the real story is.

The interviewer, or HSRM, does not leave room for misunderstandings when it comes to expectations.

The interview is also a good time to discuss rewards, consequences of poor performance and possible growth opportunities.

That is not to say any promises are made or wage rates are discussed.

This should be a general discussion which is useful in letting the candidate know what you are looking for and what you expect to give in return.

In retail stores, we often encounter employees who, clearly, would rather not be doing the job they were hired for.

It is obvious from their attitude towards customers and in their overall performance.

A major benefit of making expectations – high expectations – clear during the interview is that it allows candidates to think seriously about whether they really do want the position you have available.

If they are just looking for any old job to make a few bucks until something better comes along, then they would quickly realize they are talking to the wrong person.

While HSRM’s make expectations clear during the interview, they cannot dominate the conversation as this would defeat the main purpose of the interview.

The HSRM is skilled at having these conversations in order to get all of the information they want and need from the candidate while making their expectations known at the same time.

For example, an HSRM may ask the candidate ‘what do you believe would be your number one responsibility as a sales associate for x company?’

The candidate will respond and the interviewer will find out if the candidate knows that the number one responsibility will be selling.

If the candidate responds with something other than that, then the interviewer phrases the next question to probe a little deeper into the response.

During this exercise, at some point, the interviewer can make it clear that selling while delivering exemplary customer service is the number one responsibility of the position.

Plenty of time should be spent with this type of question in order to ensure understanding.

The HSRM has developed a level of intuition, or gut feel, to know whether a candidate has potential to do well in the role and to work well with the HSRM.

While intuition cannot be relied upon 100%, it certainly should be taken into consideration.

In fact, HSRM’s say they rely on intuition more often than most Human Resources personnel would recommend.

But, they find they are so often right that they just cannot ignore it.

HSRM’s know that one of the best ways to be successful is to surround themselves with competent people.

They have that in mind when they are interviewing and hiring and they have that in mind when they are training or setting out the training plan for the new hire.

They take training very seriously.

During the training process the HSRM can take advantage of many opportunities to clarify expectations until they are crystal clear to the new hire.

A solid training plan that is workable within time and budget constraints is what the HSRM relies on to ensure new hires are brought on board properly.

Having high expectations of an individual and then failing to provide them with the tools and knowledge they require to do a good job is counter productive.

It will lead to confusion and high employee turnover.

HSRM’s often rely on their more seasoned employees to handle most of the training of new hires. This accomplishes a couple of very positive things.

First, the more seasoned employee is hand picked specifically by the HSRM and there would be a good reason for that.

The HSRM can have confidence that the training will be up to the standard expected.

Second, the seasoned employee would feel rewarded and, therefore, motivated for having attained the status of ‘trainer’ even if unofficially.

It is a pat on the back for the seasoned employee and it also recognizes him within the workplace as the person, chosen by the superior, to perform this important function.

The HSRM does not delegate training without following proper delegation techniques.

There will be check points and follow up conversations to ensure everything is progressing as planned.

The HSRM will take time to discuss the progress of the training with the new hire as well as with the trainer.

For more insights, go to dmsretail.com

Loss Prevention & Profit Protection Workshop Online

Now is the time to double down on your commitment to  strength in LP. We need to SAVE every single penny!!
  Coming up … Two 3-hour sessions from 9 a.m. – 12 noon Eastern One on Tuesday, Aug. 24th  and one on Thursday, Aug. 26th.   FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE…   This 6 hour workshop is separated into two 3-hour sessions    Click the link below for all the details:   Retail Loss Prevention & Profit Protection  Workshop – ONLINE    (Registration covers both sessions and includes recording and full presentation emailed following session whether you attend or not.)
Here’s how participants will benefit from attending this session: Strengthen participants’ understanding of what is to be gained by making Loss Prevention a priority. Improve participants’ understanding of the critical elements and distinct advantages of an effective ‘whole of organization’ Loss Prevention strategy. Improve participants’ ability to develop an effective Loss Prevention program that works well within a revenue generating environment. Receive practical check list and other tools to use when implementing Loss Prevention programs in their organization.
Understanding Shrinkage •  Setting Policies & Expectations •  Awareness: Warning Signals  •  Profit Enhancing Hiring Practices •  Action Plan to Reduce Shrinkage •  Developing Your Security Plan •  Retail Loss Prevention Technology •  For more in-depth understanding of Program Outline:   Retail Loss Prevention & Profit Protection
Workshop – ONLINE 
Who Should Attend:    Retail Loss Prevention & Profit Protection is suited to all management and staff, including Head Office personnel for any retail or service business.

Inventory Management Workshop

Get the Presentation Sent to Your Email

Two 3 – Hour Sessions of Specialized Guidance 

In this brand new Inventory Management Workshop ONLINE, you’ll get the benefit of a comprehensive program which covers all aspects of the Buying, Inventory Control and Category Management functions as well as Online and Digital Marketing, and much more.

We explain all of the steps and processes involved in Inventory Management from A to Z. Practice exercises and quizzes reinforce the content.

(Learn more about your Expert Instructor for the Inventory Management Workshop ONLINE, below.)

Here are the specific areas covered in the workshop:


Sourcing is an important and very time sensitive task in buying management. This module looks at the steps and the process of sourcing as well as the vendor analysis aspect of this work. (Retail Sourcing Primer, Vendor Analysis, Sourcing Challenges, Best Practices)



Once the sourcing is done, the next step is negotiation. In this module, important aspects of building negotiation skills are discussed. Introduction to Negotiation, Negotiation Process, Planning, Targets & Aspirations, Common Mistakes in Negotiations)

Category Design

The crux of category management is category design or, as sometimes called, the category plan. This module covers the steps involved in creating a successful category design. (What is a Category?, Category Definition, Category Roles, Category Assessment)


Correct pricing directly improves profitability. Different pricing models and strategies are revealed to improve understanding of this crucial activity. (Factors to Consider, Price Elasticity, General Pricing Approaches, Pricing Strategies)

Assortment Planning

Assortment planning carries a lot of weight in successful inventory management. This module discusses the important aspects and requirements of successful assortment planning. (What is Assortment Planning?, Key Deliverables, Impact on Company Operations, Assortment Planning and Customer Perspective, Key Factors and Assortment Process, Item Selection Considerations, Assortment Decision Making Considerations, Summary)

Allocation Planning

The other side of the coin to assortment planning is allocation planning, making it equally important. This module covers the techniques and considerations required to effectively plan allocation. (Good & Bad Ideas, Rules for Success, Allocation Principles, Key Allocation Capabilities)

Save time and money with special group rates and have your inventory teams attend this workshop together ONLINE.

Arrangements can be made for companies in different time zones.

Exclusive sessions are available. Email: solutions @ dmsretail . com

Space Planning

In this module we demonstrate the difference in approaching space planning at Macro and Micro levels to facilitate optimum store layouts. (What is Space Planning?, Rationale and Constraints, Types of Merchandise, Space Planning Considerations, Macro Space Planning, Micro Space Planning)

Implementation Management

Merchandise and Category plans come to life when implemented at store level. The steps and approval process are discussed in detail. (Overview, Approval, Scheduling, Best Practices)


Analytics & Reporting

This module deals with Key Performance Indicators in retail business, discussed within the framework of the “Pillars of Retail”. Other key formulas are also detailed. (Why Measure & 6 Pillars, Product KPI’s, GMROII & GMROF, KPI’s for Reporting/Merchandising, Online KPI’s)

Inventory Control

This module addresses the functions and processes involved in acquiring and controlling inventory. A very important tool used in inventory management is Open-to-Buy, and it is discussed and illustrated in detail. (Inventory Turns, Applied: Gross Margin Return on Inventory Investment, Buyer’s Goals, Merchandise Hierarchy, Merchandise Planning, Forecasting, Open-to-Buy or OTB)


Distribution Strategies

To make assortments and allocations work properly, one must have a clear understanding of how distribution and logistics work. This module explains it all. (Distribution Channels, Function & Role of Distribution Channels, Logistics, Warehousing, Distribution Strategies)

Vendor Management

The crux of category management is category design or, as sometimes called, category plan. This module covers the steps involved in creating a successful category design. (What is Vendor Management?, Benefits, Challenges, Vendor Management Process, Best Practices, Vendor Management vs Vendor Relationship Management)

Internal Communications & Relationships

This module explains internal communications and focuses on the importance of internal communications with colleagues and other interested parties outside the company. (Internal Communications, Common Types of Internal Communications Pieces (aka “Comms”), Business Relationships, Building Quality Relationships)

Cost Management

Before we can manage costs involved in buying, we must understand what kind of costs and expenses we are dealing with. There is plenty of information on those subjects covered in this module. (Components of the Income Statement, Operating Expenses, Operating Statement, Inventory Systems, Purchasing Transactions, Cost of Holding Inventory)

Competitive Strategies

The buying organization has to be perfectly in-line with the company’s go-to-market strategy. This module discusses go-to-market, or competitive strategies, in detail. (Overview, Cost Leadership, Niche or Focus, Differentiation)


In addition to promotional choices and sales promotion types, tactics at the category strategic level are also discussed in this module. (Tactical Choices, Sales Promotions, Tactics Examples, Considerations)

Category Marketing Strategies

A critical part of any marketing effort is to be able to define the characteristics of the target market. This module goes into detail on customer profiling. (Who Are My Customers?, Marketing Channels, Digital Marketing, Marketing Strategies, Product Type vs Strategy)

Online Marketing Fundamentals


Because there is increasing momentum in online retail, in this module we discuss how to position the company properly online, by utilizing social media effectively. (Why Engage in Online Marketing?, Goal Setting, Who is Your Audience?, Where is Your Audience? Part 1 and Part 2)

Digital Marketing

In this module, the concepts and tools required to do effective Digital Marketing are discussed in detail. The step by step process is also illustrated. (Return on Investment or ROI, Maximizing Your Exposure, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Automation Tools, Putting it All Together)

Operational Policies & Procedures

Provides understanding as to why we need and use policies and procedures in general, and as they relate to the buying function. (General Policies & Procedures, Inventory Management & Procurement – Internal Controls, Physical and Document Controls)

Make room on your calendar….

Wednesday, August 11 & Friday, August 13, 2021

3 Hours each Day – From 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon Eastern 

Registration covers both sessions.

Presentation and Recordings will be sent to Registrants whether you attend or not.


Save time and money with special group rates and have your inventory teams attend this workshop together ONLINE.

Arrangements can be made for companies in different time zones.

Exclusive sessions are available. Email: solutions @ dmsretail . com

Your Expert Instructor for the Inventory Management Workshop ONLINE

Matt Parmaks, MSc.

Matt Parmaks has extensive knowledge about the retail industry, gained through formal education, executive level retail work experience and a keen interest in business and world affairs.

He is the author of numerous books and articles on Retail Performance and Managerial Productivity. Matt received Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Engineering from the University of Birmingham in the UK.

Until next time,

All the Success!

MAX ROI Store Visits

Retailers spend countless hours and dollars on store visits.

Do you know what your ROI is? Most retailers say “no”.

Most retailers have a position of Regional Manager and/or District Manager somewhere on their organizational chart or matrix or whatever they wish to use to indicate lines of authority and accountability.

Depending on the size of the retailer, there might also be Area Managers or Senior Store Managers who travel around to check on stores. 

There are as many possibilities as there are for any organization…for any structure in any industry.


The question of whether or not the retailer gets a return on the investment is rarely seriously considered.

Of course, accountants will look at expense reports and proclaim too much money is being spent.

That’s their job, more or less. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface of this subject. 

Whose job is it to demand a return on investment of time and money spent on store visits?

We could clearly point out whose job it should be but it’s kind of a gray area, isn’t it?

Here’s the big question: How do you calculate the ROI on a store visit?

Most store visits are not fully thought out, well planned, and well executed business ‘meetings’.  No…they’re not. 

I know you want to believe they are…but they’re not.


Of course, they could be…and they certainly should be.  You don’t hold business meetings just ‘because’, right?

Right now, DMs and RMs and the like are visiting stores and doing what comes naturally.

Everything they do during the visit is done according to their style and ability.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Presumably good people have been hired or promoted into those jobs and they are going about their business as they see fit.

They may have some checklists and reports to complete.

They may have visual presentations to check, or inventory to spot count or performance reviews to look at.

They will do what is expected and they will probably do it very well. That is not the point.

The point is that anytime a substantial amount of money and time are invested in a business process or event the company has an obligation to figure out if the investment is sound.

Will there be a satisfactory ROI?

When you think of the cost of air and ground travel, vehicle leasing, vehicle maintenance, insurance, overnight accommodation, rising gas prices, meals, floor coverage, etc. it really adds up!

When you add the salary and benefit cost of the visiting person you end up with a substantial amount.  


There is a 7 Stage Process for planning, organizing and executing a high ROI Store Visit.

You’ve got to stop wasting time on store visits that are not serious, don’t advance the business, don’t develop managers, etc.

Except for (possibly) a tiny and fleeting motivational bump,

Mickey Mouse store visits are well…sad to say…almost useless.

Why, then, are there so many people visiting stores, restaurants and service outlets with no plan…with no process?

The Store Visit is a critical business function and must be taken seriously.

We’re not suggesting that visiting management personnel aren’t serious.

Only that without a predetermined plan and focus that is properly executed at store level, things can and do go off track quickly.

It’s human nature – people get distracted by the ‘thing’ or supposed ‘crisis’ of the moment.


The truth is… Although rarely referred to as such, the Mickey Mouse store visit is much more common than anyone would like to admit.

What makes that so, is lack of process.

Anyone who visits retail outlets…or has experience in that area, will know that visits often just ‘go with the flow’.

Completely. And they know how easily it happens; not something that’s planned.

Without laser focus, these visits can be like runaway trains.

‘Going with the flow’ makes it next to impossible to ensure that issues are addressed, people are developed, and targets are achieved.

Even the most competent RM or DM should be able to rely on some type of road map when it comes to staying on top of the incredible amount of detail involved in the operation of a well run and profitable store.

We can certainly agree that some store visits should include lots of rah! rah! motivation and ‘going with the flow’ just to get the feel of what’s going on…to get to know how the staff are doing…to lift people up.


That’s one of the jobs of a RM or DM that no one should deny.

Even still, though, certain things must be planned for and accomplished.

Certain parts of the visit can be free flowing – but not all.

Let’s look at some of the things that need to be done as part of a comprehensive, well executed one day store visit by a retail business owner or their designate – the DM or RM:

Training Needs Analysis
Schedule Productivity
CheckInventory (Spot) Count
Succession Planning Exercise
Store Maintenance and Renovation Requirements Analysis
P & L Review
Merchandise Review
Safety Inspection and Facilities Review
Loss Prevention Audit
Staff Performance Review
Management Development Session
Mall Management Updates
Marketing and Signage Package Review
Online Business Review (if applicable)
Obstacle Removal
Action Planning

Managing by the ‘seat of the pants’ is never desirable.

Even seasoned RMs and DMs will forget the odd thing now and again.

Even they will not show up ready for game day on every…single…visit.

And let’s not forget that not everyone who is ‘seasoned’ is totally focused. But, that’s what’s needed.

‘Max ROI Store Visit YourTime Study Course’ Digital Version – Files will be sent to Your Email Inbox

Only $147


Remember we’re talking about a critical business function…not an afterthought about those stores out there interacting with our customers, selling our products and services and generally making or breaking our brand every single day.

This 7 Stage Process is particularly important when doing formal, full day visits.

But, although the topics, details, specifics, preparations, time allotments and action plans may vary depending on the particular type of visit …

The 7 Stage Store Visit process should be followed for every… single… visit.


In this course, we present a focused approach to the Store Visit process that is productive and rewarding for everyone.

When there is a relentless focus on sales and profitability, customer service, people development, succession planning, vendor reviews, aged inventory, sign packages, product and presentation, safety and loss prevention, and so many other things…important things… then everyone feels a sense of accomplishment and they’re ready to confidently and happily move forward with action plan items.

You may be doing ok, but if you’re not following this method for Store Visits, then you aren’t profiting as much as you could be.

Guaranteed. This is no joke…no gimmick.

Store Visits that give you the best return on your investment are the only way to go.

The method is easy to replicate, store after store…time after time.

A full day’s work can produce results far and beyond the day!!

Remember, The Store Visit is a critical business function and should be regarded as such.

Properly executed store visits following this method are going to give you positive results.

They are going to advance the business. That’s worth some extra time and effort, isn’t it?

This affordable program is jam-packed with everything needed to get the MAXIMUM ROI on every store visit and ensure that all store visits produce a positive result …because time is money!

Every single store visit should be expected to yield quantifiable results; to move the business forward to some degree, otherwise it is strictly a social visit.

Here are just a few of the topics we address in this course:

Various types of store visits and expectations for each type
How to get all the important stuff covered in one day
Scheduling store visits
Who is making the schedule, anyway?
Preparation for a visit – we provide the only checklist you’ll need
How to conduct a highly productive visit
The SVR (Store Visit Report) to facilitate development of the Action Plan
How to get a higher ROI on your time during each type of store visit
What works and what doesn’t; what to do and what not to do during a visit
What the visit really means to the Store Manager and staff
The resulting – all important action plan – the roadmap for going forward  

MAX ROI Store Visits will be the only kind you’ll ever have when you start using this 7 Step Process…or Technique, Method, Approach, Mode, Plan of Action Whatever you want to call it…it works.

Once you start doing this, you’ll never get mediocre results again.

Drive Productivity to new heights in your retail organization. 

In this course, we demonstrate how properly executed Store Visits will produce positive and quantifiable results every time. Every…single…time!

That’s not to mention the importance of the huge motivational opportunity presented by a store visit that is properly done.

You may wonder how all these things can be covered in a one-day store visit!! In fact, many retailers cannot do it.

They do not know how to do it and, therefore, they fail to get the results – the quantifiable positive results – that they want and need.

Well, there is a simple method and we can help you figure it out. That’s where this course comes in.

We explain it all so you can expect BIG OUTCOMES.

When you’ve mastered the skill of a properly executed store visit and when you have seen the results, you will never look back.

You will want to apply the techniques to almost any oversight challenge you ever come up against.

Order Your Copy Now!

‘Max ROI Store Visit YourTime Study Course’ Digital Version – Files will be sent to Your Email Inbox

Only $147





Do You Have the Time?

Some of us always seem to be short of time. Are you? 


Management Newsletter

There are a lot of people – in various industries – who just can’t use the standard time management techniques that are out there. And retail is certainly one of those industries.

To a limited extent, Retail Manager’s at Head Office level can use standard time management techniques but, even still, if they are in the field as often as they should be, they will not be able to operate at peak effectiveness by following those techniques.

Consider some of the obvious differences:

  • Retail stores are open to the public for many hours each day and most days of the week. Some are 24/7. Monday to Friday, 9 – 5 simply doesn’t exist in the retail world.
  • We can’t get to the bottom of the inbox by simply by working late.
  • There’s rarely an office door for Retail Manager’s to close.
  • There isn’t a ‘do not disturb’ function on the phone. Even if there was, you can’t use it. Customers may be calling.
  • Retail Managers don’t have the luxury of planning every moment of their time.
  • We need to drop everything when the customer arrives and their precise time of arrival cannot be predicted!
  • The workload can vary dramatically depending on how many customers arrive at the same time.
  • When shipments are early or late…schedules and plans become useless.
  • Stores are staffed by people working shifts so things are always changing. Who will be where, when?
  • Each function being performed in a store is usually being handled by more than one person, in most cases.
  • Communication between team members is more complicated due to the nature of the business.

In retail, particularly in DM and RM positions, we need to work differently when it comes to managing our time. We need to learn how to manage our time using some best practices in a somewhat uncontrolled environment.

Primary Success Factors

To even begin the process, the first thing retailers need to do is ask “What does success look like?”. We need to know what it looks like in order to identify the success factors that we need to deal with in the time we have available to us.

If success, in your position, means meeting sales and profit targets and maintaining a reputation for excellence in customer service, then some of your success factors would be:

  • Generating sales
  • Reducing expenses
  • Succession planning

Of course, there are many more.

Once we are aware of our primary success factors, we can begin to plan the time and actions necessary to achieve them.

For example, meeting sales targets is a primary success factor so we need to make our plans with that in a high priority spot. Always.

For example, you probably already clear a spot at the beginning of each day to review results and talk to people about the results or take required actions. Of course, that’s just one of the things that must be planned for this particular success factor. 

There are many, many other things that will demand your attention; things that need to be done to actually make sales happen.

If succession planning is a top success factor, that needs to get a high priority spot also. That may mean regular follow up with Human Resources and Store Management personnel to find out how the succession plan looks and where the holes are, if any.

It may require allocating time for interviews, or training, etc.

And so on, and so on, with all of your primary success factors.

When you place a high priority on certain success factors, and you review and follow up with subordinates on that basis, it leads to alignment; common goals – all necessary for success. 

You don’t waste time on trivial issues – you are getting straight to the issues that affect your primary success factors and the majority of your time will be spent on things that will affect those outcomes.

Of course, you will still have to deal with many other things that indirectly affect your top success factors. And that covers pretty much everything else that goes on in the organization. But serious focus on primary success factors is the best way to succeed.

Here are Just 3 Time Management Tips to Help you be Successful;

  • Your Agenda – Whenever you spend time in your office make sure you do the things on your own to do list…not someone else’s. Your office time is likely only a small percentage of the number of hours you work each week and you need to make the most of it.
  • Sales – Check your sales results and relevant KPI’s as soon as you get the reports each day and make those important phone calls right away. Always start with where you are going to get the biggest bang for the buck…or where your valuable time is most well spent. Wherever you are it is important to keep a close eye on the sales made by each business unit (store, district, region, chain…whatever the case). You should have no higher priority than reviewing sales and taking whatever action might be necessary to increase them.
  • Training – Invest time in training your people at every opportunity. Time spent on training, whether formal, informal or simply sharing information that will benefit others and help them to develop and become more competent, will save you countless hours going forward. Great leaders spare no effort in surrounding themselves with supremely competent people, and people with lots of potential. Everyone benefits from the transfer of knowledge – you, your people, your customers, your suppliers. It helps to keep everyone on the same page, and pulling in the same direction for the benefit of the business.

In retail operations, the business of serving customers and making sales is happening in stores, not in offices. However, there are many things to be handled that require you to be in an office environment. 

When you are in an office, then you have the same time savers available to you as many other people like forwarding your phone to an assistant, closing the door to signal that you are not available for chats, etc. Make the very best use of this time because there isn’t very much of it!

We have a 14 step time management process and we’ll get that to you another day. Stay tuned! It’s also included in the Ultimate Retail Success Collection.

Until next time…

All the Success!

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