As the Holiday Season approaches, finding good help promises to be especially challenging for retailers this year.
Then, we read "10 Things to Know to Get And Keep Retail Jobs," a to-the-point commentary from Bob Phibbs*, who specializes in retail sales training.
Here are his Top Ten recommendations for prospective retail employees:
What really caught our attention was, not only did Phibbs not mince words, in some instances he specified the consequences of failing to follow his guidelines. For instance, "If you aren't justifying the cost of your pay, you will be let go." Or, "I’m saying that one minute is too late!"
While Phibbs was directing his comments to prospective employees, we are focused on what it means for the owners. And that prompted us to wonder, is there in fact that level of accountability in retailing?
Or, are we so concerned about "the difficulty of finding good help" that we tolerate the not-so-good help? That is a slippery slope!
So, here's a different approach.
If you can only find a few good people, why not take advantage of their strengths? And their presence?
How? Quit trying to staff all the hours you are open. Instead, consider reducing your store hours. Be open when your good people can be there.
Instead of chasing after part-time seasonal help, concentrate your effort – and your good staff – on the hours you do want to be open.
The point: Make it worth the customer's time to come to your store!
Here's how to get started:
Another real challenge of 2021 is rearing its head: Whatever you used to do in terms of managing your staff likely will not work this year.
In the aftermath of the pandemics, lockdowns, stimulus payments, low unemployment, and minimum wage increases, finding and keeping good employees is even more daunting for independent retailers.
We're sure you'll agree. Misinformation can be very harmful. Retailers surely don't need more harmful anythings!
Just last week, we came across the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. It was a post on the Intuit Quickbooks site*, titled "Inventory Turnover Ratio." And the explanatory article was accompanied by an "Inventory Turnover Calculator."
What do we take exception to? The misleading and/or incorrect information it provides. For example, their "Inventory turnover calculator" requires two entries.
We must take exception. "Total costs involved in selling your products" is NOT the same as Cost of Goods Sold. Nor do they specify that it should be for a 12-month period of time.
We must take exception. What they surely meant to say is inventory @cost.
Undoubtedly you'll agree with this. We read and hear a lot in the business press, but we treat 100% of it rather skeptically.
And so it is with articles and commentary about this coming Holiday Season, specifically about retailers' inventory and margins.
Nevertheless, there is considerable good news being trumpeted. Most recently, this feature article in the Wall Street Journal: "Retailers Hone Inventory for Holidays" *
This Holiday season is bringing three big waves for retailers, in rapid succession. And each one requires a strikingly different management response.
Faced with the shipping delays (and surcharges), customers have turned to brick-and-mortar stores. The savvy retailers are ready for them.
As we get ready for the New Year, and the post-Holiday season slowdown settles in, here's a positive way for retailers to re-energize and re-focus their entire organization, whether one store or even a hundred.
We learned this from one of our clients with nearly 50 stores widely scattered over 6 states. Each day, without fail, they would take time for what they called the "Corporate Cheer."
You will see how it can be a fun addition to any retail business, no matter the size.
We hear it over and over. "Good business citizenship" matters to shoppers. Especially for retailers, who are quasi-public figures in their communities. (AND in a goldfish bowl.)
Customers vote with their feet, their wallets, and their hearts, and increasingly choose those retailers who "do the right thing", whether it's how they source product, hire and pay employees, reduce environmental impacts, etc.
There are things that independent retailers do day in and day out, without perhaps even realizing how special they are!
Most retailers we know are "aw shucks" type people. It's charming, but, especially in today's world, your leadership can be a competitive edge! So, why keep it a secret?
Many of you are using social media to promote sales events, new product arrivals, etc. Why stop there?
Social media – and your website – is the perfect place to share examples of the values that drive your business. And face it; those values may be too scarce today. They need to be featured!
Still less than $1 a day! 👀