One of the Tools of Store Management

Word to the RetailWise XVI

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan…as the saying goes…

In a retail environment, it absolutely does pay to follow that advice.  The Store Managers’ role is challenging when things are going smoothly. 

When you start adding unexpected tasks, employee illness and other issues, late shipments of product or signage, unusual customer demands, Head Office requests for information, and various other new and different things that happen every day in the life of a Store Manager…it may appear impossible.

But, of course, it’s not impossible and all that is really needed is some organization and planning – for the expected and the unexpected.

You need four tools.  They are:

  • The Daily News
  • Personal Organizer/Date Book
  • Communication Centre (in your backroom)
  • Management Communication Book

The Daily News:

This form (it is provided as a separate pdf file) is meant to be used in the store every day. It should be kept in a binder behind, or beneath the cash desk.

The Manager, Assistant or other person in charge should complete the form each morning before opening. 

Staff members are instructed to consult The Daily News before starting each shift, to learn:

  • Their personal sales goal
  • The store sales goal
  • How the store is doing month to date
  • About incentives and promotions
  • Where they will be working/covering for the day
  • Tasks assigned
  • Any other information you deem necessary to keep everyone on track for the day.

The Daily News is separated into six distinct sections.

The first section is used to show the stores’ achievement, in dollars and percentage, against the established budget (target, goal, plan) for the month to date.

It also has a space to show the amount still required, for the balance of the month, to achieve the budget and a space for the amount budgeted or planned for today.

Employees are inclined to work harder to attain specific, measurable, achievable, realistic goals which are set out for a given time frame. 

The first section of The Daily News is designed with that in mind. 

Task List:  This section identifies tasks which have to be performed at some point during the day. 

The Manager, or other person in charge, assigns tasks to individuals working that day. 

When the employee has completed her assigned task she will initial the column marked ‘Done’ and when the person in charge has verified that the task was, in fact, satisfactorily completed she will initial the column marked ‘Checked’.

The Store Manager must make it absolutely clear that tasks are not to be undertaken until all customers have been looked after. 

With more and more retailers trying to accomplish more tasks with fewer people, or labor hours, ignoring customers has reached epidemic proportions. 

There are few stores where the staff actually pay more attention to the customer than they do to the task at hand.

Managers must be very careful with their instructions. 

For example, if an associate is asked to tidy up a display he or she may make it their goal to carry out the task quickly. 

Unfortunately, the associate may not attend to customers during that time. 

In fact, the associate may not even notice customers coming into the store because they are so intent on completing their task.

“There is a story about a young, hard working Salesperson who regularly assigned backroom clean up, a dreaded chore, to himself.  He always did a magnificent job, leaving the backroom in excellent condition – something he considered important to the sales process because the faster he could find what he needed for a customer in the backroom the sooner he could get back onto the sales floor.  His secret was that he cleaned the backroom in such a manner that he was able to peer out the door every two minutes.  He did not want to miss a customer.  Of course, there was always someone covering the floor while he was in the backroom, but anytime a new customer entered the store he went out to greet them. He understood that the “tasks” are not supposed to take priority over “customers” at an early stage in his working life. This young man went on to become very successful and is now a President of a major division for a giant telecommunications company.”

SELLING: This is where the sales associates will look to find out what their sales goal is for the day.

The salesperson is assigned a specific, realistic and achievable sales goal for the shift.

At the end of their shift they will know their actual sales and how they measured up against the goal.

The column marked ‘Initials’ is used by the sales associate to acknowledge their achievement.

The key to getting the most out of this section is to use it consistently. 

Once all staff are using The Daily News regularly you’ll be amazed at how popular this section will become. 

Each day, sales associates want to see how well other associates did the previous day. 

It inspires healthy competition and the time it takes to get everyone in the habit of using it properly is time well spent.

Floor Coverage:  This section can be completed using a diagram or the names of employees and the section of the store they are expected to cover. 

It is basically intended to be a map of your sales floor and is used to assign the employees working a given shift a particular area of the store to cover.

Coverage applies to customer service, stock maintenance and general housekeeping. 

Some Managers will rotate employees in and out of certain areas and some will assign the same individuals to the same areas as often as possible. 

The latter tends to foster a sense of pride in a certain area, and the former helps to ensure that all associates are familiar with all areas of the store.  \

You should ask yourself which method would serve your business better.

Current Promos: Use this section as a reminder of any new or on-going promotions currently in effect in the store.

Retailers usually have several promotions running at any given time and sales associates need to be aware of all of them in order to do their jobs well.

The nature of the retail business is such that start and finish dates for promotions don’t always follow a rigid schedule.

Using this section as a reminder is another tool to help your associates. There is enough room here to customize your message. 

For example, instead of “Sweaters 2 for $39.99”, you might want to say “Our fabulous turtleneck sweaters are now 2 for $39.99.

Check the color and size selection – Jane sold 14 last night!”

Today’s Incentive:  Use this section to communicate any spiffs or prizes being offered for specific accomplishments.

Here are some suggestions of low budget spiffs:

  • Coffee and a muffin
  • Extra 15 minute break
  • No housekeeping duty on Friday night
  • Choose your day off
  • Movie passes for two
  • Lottery tickets

The Today’s Incentive section should also be used to showcase any current incentives being offered by Head Office. 

Often contests get forgotten if they are not reinforced daily so make use of this section to inspire your associates to go for the prize!

The Daily News is a great communication tool that is simple to use and doesn’t take a lot of time to complete. 

Your employees will be eager to consult it each day because they want to be informed.