Archive for November, 2015

Word to the RetailWise 2

Today’s ‘Word to the RetailWise’ is: Look at your store –  including windows, cash desk, fitting rooms (if any), displays, etc. – from your customer’s point of view.

Literally…position yourself exactly the way a customer would.

Walk past your windows, stroll around looking at displays and signage, touch the merchandise, if applicable try a garment on and see what the fitting rooms are like, etc.

Many would say that they do all of these things as a routine and they complete a checklist to ensure everything is perfect. But that is not what we’re suggesting. Anything that has become routine enough to be added to a checklist can easily be dismissed, glossed over or taken for granted. You know what we mean, don’t you?

The point here, is to determine what the customer sees and senses, not whether policies and procedures are being followed.

Are the windows too crowded? Is there dust anywhere? Are the lights aimed properly or do they shine in your face? Are they casting an unusual color of light onto the merchandise? Is there room to move around freely? Are the signs clear or confusing? Are there any sharp edges, pointy hooks, loops in the carpet or anything else that could represent a safety hazard? Is there gum stuck to the floor?

Are the employees well groomed? Are they all poised and ready to assist? Do you like the music that’s playing? Is the door to the backroom or receiving area propped open revealing a not so pretty picture? Are the mirrors and glass all crystal clean?

When standing at the cash desk – remember…from the customer’s side – what do you see? A mass of wires coming out of the POS? Merchandise, paperwork or supplies piled high? Dust? Cashier’s notes stuck all over everything?

What the customer sees and senses, while in your store, is really important. There are plenty of other things you can look for when you do your customer walkthrough. Only you can come up with them all for your particular business. This is just a start.

Aim to perform this exercise often, but spontaneously.

All the Success!
DMSRetail Inc.

PS: Check our most definitive resource center for retail managers and enroll! The Retail Business Academy

Word to the RetailWise

Today’s ‘Word to the RetailWise’ is: Make sure your new hires know what is expected of them. And I want to illustrate that with this short, but very telling story.

Here it is…

In a store that is part of a large international retail chain, I recently witnessed something that gave me reason to believe that their new employees simply did not know what what was expected of them. And, here is why I drew that conclusion…

While checking out, I was the customer next in line behind a woman who was purchasing no less than 15 women’s blouses. 15! It was a great sale for the store. The other item the woman was purchasing was something of a carryall bag. The woman wanted the cashier to put the blouses into the bag – very environmentally friendly and all that, right?

So, as the cashier scanned each blouse, she removed the security tag and crumpled it up and put it into the carryall bag. Not folded, not even close to being folded. These blouses were being handled like something one would throw into the trash can. Seriously, I am not exaggerating.

Overcome with a sense of responsibility to defend every customer everywhere, I spoke up.

I said to the cashier “You know, this lady is buying all of these lovely blouses and you are not handling them very carefully. They’re going to be full of wrinkles and they’re brand new. I would be happy to help you fold them up.” Just a note here, the customer in front of me spoke very little English and that made it difficult for her to get involved in the conversation.

Some may say I should mind my own business but, in my line of work, it’s next to impossible to ignore these things.

I was ready for the worst…possibly a scene!

Anyway, to my absolute astonishment, the young cashier said, “You don’t have to help me. I’ll do it. That’s why I have a job.” I had expected a nasty stare, a flippant or sarcastic remark or, at the very least, a miserable attitude. But, no. The cashier – who I have not seen in this store before and am quite certain she is relatively new – proceeded to fold the items and then when it was my turn to be served  she continued to be very pleasant. What an employee…the kind we don’t come across very often anymore.

The moral of this story is: Teach your employees what is expected of them. This young woman; this new cashier simply didn’t know how she was supposed to handle the merchandise. She was very receptive to my ‘training’. I only hope I did not embarrass her. I commend her for her accepting attitude. But I must fault management for not having taught her properly in the first place. They basically set her up to fail.

All the Success!
DMSRetail Inc.

PS. Check out the Retail Business Academy, cashier performance course is in there too.


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