Business-building reminders for Retail Merchants during the holidays (from Barbara Wold)

Business-building reminders

The Christmas and Holiday retail season easily outshines other times of the year in sales, but it can also be the most exhausting. With proper planning and preparation, it can be not only a successful and memorable season, but in the most positive sense of the word, an enjoyable one for owners, managers, staff, and certainly customers.

Having all salespeople read company ads, catalogs, literature, Blogs, Facebook and Twitter pages before customers come in with questions and inquiries. An uninformed salesperson is bad for business. Also, check out everything about the competition.

Staying open longer hours. You want your community to shop locally — so make it easier for your customers that have a job and are working.

Establishing dress codes for employees and enforcing these dress codes. (Even if there is a uniform — it should be clean, neat, etc.) Employees are the representatives of the store and should project the image the store wants to convey.

Greeting everyone who walks through the door. Coming up with different greetings — so customers don't hear the same greeting over and over when shopping in the store.

Making it comfortable for customers to shop. Adjusting the thermostat because customers may be wearing coats and the staff can wear a sweater. Perhaps a rack for customer's coats and a place to check packages.

Having employees identify themselves when answering the phone. This adds a professional touch and provides the caller with a person to identify with on the other end of the line.

Cleaning up the cash-wrap area as-you-go and putting everything in its place. Customers are concerned about transaction accuracy and your services, i.e., shipping, if this area is a mess with clutter and food.

Listening, really listening to customers. If you don't really listen and show customers the wrong merchandise — they will assume you don't have what they are looking for and leave.

Stocking and cleaning during hours when the store is not open. Doing these chores when the store is open is inconsiderate to shoppers and doesn't convey a professional image. Instead have the staff mingle with the customers and help with suggestions.

Having all cash registers open when the store is busy. An extra staff member can mingle with the customers in line — making additional suggestions.

Getting everyone on board. Ensuring that everyone in the organization understands what the winning advantage is and what their role is in supporting it.

Making every customer feel special.

LET'S STOP . . .
Trying to get a head start on store closing times. Vacuuming while the store is still open is rude and should be done after the store closes.

Helping phone inquiries while other customers are in the store waiting to be helped. The customer in the store should take precedence. Having someone besides the cashier answer the phone.

Running out of sale items or advertised specials early on the first day of the promotion. A product should not be advertised unless there is sufficient stock.

Using the store phone for personal calls.

“From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it.”
Katharine Whitehorn, British columnist and writer

Barbara Wold
International Speaker, Author and Business Strategist
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9795 Jefferson Parkway, Suite F1
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“Helping downtown areas and cities that are going through revitalization in an effort to boost their economic viability. Helping them understand that as the composition of American households continue to shift, so will the mix of retail, in order to succeed and connect to neighboring communities.”

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