There are some features that can be looked at which would inherently increase productivity, build a loyal customer base, increase sales skills, and improve productivity. A look at how some of those features that may help in making those goals achievable.
1) Communication is the most vital aspect of all business operations. Communication does not have to be oral. It could be written, via telephone or other electronic means. Regardless of the mean, it should be comprehensible. Information should be made available to all concern so that informed decisions could be made. All plans put in place should be communicated to all sales associates. Changes to any plan or procedure should be conveyed immediately. There should be people in a position to clarify any misunderstanding relating to changes that may occur. When dealing with shoppers associates need reliable information.
2) Associates or salesperson should not feel overwhelmed. One may become overwhelmed by having to pay attention to too many issues at one time. Such a situation could make it difficult for associates to focus on the main purpose of their original task. Associates in need of assistance should communicate it immediately to their department manager. If no associates are available then management should then get involves. No businesses like to have disgruntled or unsatisfied customer.
3) Having both a plan and a chart outlining your bustiest hours of operation. By knowing store busiest hours of operation associates schedules should be designed to coincide with the flow of customers.
4) Training is the most essential part of all business operation. The success of the operation could depend on the knowledge of the sales associates. The sales number grossly depend on the associate’s knowledge of the products they are selling. By having proper knowledge of the product they will be able to deliver complete and accurate information about the products to their customers. Vendor training should be an integral part of the business operation. If one does not have the proper information then that individual would not be able to close that very important sale. There should be proper documentation of all training procedures and materials. Let’s look at a possible scenario if training information is not documented. ** An associate may have used a certain technique to resolve an issue. That might be unique to that situation. That associate might encourage other associates to use that technique which may not work in other situations. This procedure then may have traveled to other areas of operation. If later it was discovered that the scenario was unique only to that particular situation. This could affect sales, customer confidence in the store, and affect customer loyalty**. Other areas of training are conferences, seminars, workshops, and do it yourself videos.
5) Technology is playing a vital part in retail. Associates should be trained in knowing about Wi-Fi, inventory RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), and other equipment associated with retail. There are store “APPS” that tell customers where items are located. It will also tell the customer what other items are needed in conjunction with their purchases(s) to make the product work, and where those additional items are located within the store. Associates should be knowledgeable and know the importance of those lettering and numbers located in aisleways.
6) In-store promotion and the company’s website should be used to promote merchandise. Sales associates should be aware of all weekly sales promotions. Carrying weekly promotional sales brochures could be an asset when dealing with customers. There should also –Vendor’s- brochures placed in the proximity of their merchandise. The brochures should be in abundance so that customers can take.
7) Merchandising should be looked at as a critical and important part of retailing. If the merchandise is not available and in some cases in excess (short supply) to meet sales requirement then projected sales targets could be affected. That’s why weekly forecast and projection are so important. There isn’t anything more important than –ACCOUNTABILITY—when it comes to merchandising and inventory. Unaccounted merchandise could result not only in lost business but a costly revenue disaster. In helping to maintain inventory Accountability and Accuracy there should be an –Inventory manager and or coordinator--. By having such personnel in place the results and benefits could be astounding. Those associates will make certain that merchandise ordered arrive at their intended destination as assigned. To make certain merchandise is available a statistical record should be maintained. The statistical document will indicate sales figures for the previous week, the previous month, and the past three (3) months. This would help in maintaining inventory level and help indicate the shopping trend when it comes to some specific items. There should be a notification of increase and decrease sales within that period of time. If there is a drop in sales of some key items a determination should be made as to the reason. If the drop is prolonged an investigation should be made and way found to get that sales momentum going again. Another inventory indicator is –INVENTORY REPLENISHMENT (IR)--.
8) There should be a systematic process in place for problem resolution. Managers should in place to make a speedy resolution of customer’s issues. There shouldn’t be any room for –MICRO-MANAGEMENT--. Mangers should have authority to make immediate decisions. Businesses should be vigilant when it comes to understanding the –DEMOGRAPHICS—of the cultural make-up of the area they operate in. A diverse community is essential to building a good customer base. Having a good loyal customer base is great for any business operation.
9) It is very imperative that employees (ASSOCIATES) turnover be kept to a minimum. Customers sometimes make good acquaintances with people they become accustomed to in places where they shop. It is very costly to be training new associates. Sometimes other associate gets overwhelmed by having to deal with customers and repeatedly answering new associates’ questions. This is another area where businesses lose sales. A lot of resources go into recruiting and training new associates.
10) Know the product, how to sell the product, making follow calls, demonstration to the point, keeping bosses informed, knowing when to ask for the sale, how to substitute product, on-time delivery, enquire about vendor satisfaction, and maintaining vendor connection.