From The Co-Founders


Tips, Tactics & Strategic Insights and Commentary
from The ROI Co-Founders, Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists LLC; Retail Turnaround Experts

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The Gift of Your Time Goes to...?

There's a very important annual job for you, the owner, and all of your senior staff. It's vital, and it involves your presence.

The pressures are mounting on your stores, and in particular, your front line staff. 

  • Noticed all the "help wanted" signs in stores, coffee shops, restaurants? It's not just you; lots of (other) businesses are having a tough time with finding and keeping good help. 

    In fact, a nearby McDonald's posted a notice on its front door acknowledging that they were understaffed due to no-shows, and encouraging (imploring?) customers to be considerate to the people behind the counter who are there to serve them.

  •  Meanwhile, the deadlines for online orders to arrive before Christmas are fast approaching. This will lead to a surge in in-store shoppers. And more demands on your front-line staff.
  • Plus, these last two weeks before Christmas bring more people into your stores who are new to your stores, or even new to buying for others.They need more guidance and/or reassurance about the qualities and benefit of your merchandise. 
  • Shoppers are constantly reminded of rising costs, whether at the grocery store or a sandwich counter. Or even the Christmas tree lot! 

    That puts all the more pressure on your pricing strategies. Are more of your customers angling for special discounts? Or asking you to match online prices?

What does all this mean for your front-line staff? Mounting pressures.There is more to do, all against a deadline, all requested by shoppers who are under their own time and budget constraints.

Some folks might call this collision of pressures a perfect storm. We encourage you to regard it as a perfect opportunity! Your presence is badly needed!

Specifically, you and all of your senior management who usually are working desk jobs need to be scheduled to work in the stores. (Yes, permission granted; some of their paperwork responsibilities can be postponed to early January.)

  • Not everybody has to sell on the floor. But what about gift wrapping? Or prepping for shipping? Or re-stocking?
  • But, those with front line experience will likely find it energizing to be dealing with customers, especially when customers remember them enthusiastically.
  • As the owner, it is especially important for you to be visible and useful in the store. (If you have multiple stores, be sure you are scheduled into as many of them as possible.)

    Your ease of creating add-on sales, your enthusiasm for the story behind a product, your good ideas for what gifts might be appropriate – all of that is invaluable for leading by example. 

Remember, this is not just an afternoon a week. For two important weeks, this is an all-hands-on-deck time.

For your front-line staff, there is nothing better than your presence at their elbows. 

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