Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Importance of Hiring The Right Employees

Many retail store owners overlook the importance of hiring the right employees. When you are busy handling dozens of other responsibilities that come with managing a business, it's easy to forget about something as simple as choosing employees. Unfortunately, however, the wrong employees can have a disastrous effect on your business, lowering your sales and tainting your brand name.

Employees should come to work with a clear drive and determination to make the most out of their time on the clock. According to a recent study published in the Gallup Management Journal, only 29% of all US employees are actively engaged in their job with a true passion and desire. That means over ¾ of all employees here in the US are simply going through the motions just to get by. Statistics such as these should serve as a wake up call to retail business owners everywhere.

Of course, hiring the right employees is also necessary to reduce the risk of theft. Did you know that over $50,000,000 (yes, that's billion) worth of goods in the US are stolen by employees each year? A recent survey revealed that upwards of 75% of all employees have stolen at least once from their employer. Unless you want to theft to eat away at your store's profits, you must hire trustworthy, reputable employees.

Don't make the decision to hire employees based solely on their application. Instead, categorize all of the applications into three separate stacks – not hiring, maybe and high chance of hiring. You can followup with applicants in the “high chance of hiring” to see if they are ready for an interview. This will give you a chance to see what the individual is like, and you'll be able to ask them more questions. If you're still shorthanded after going through this stack, go back to the “maybe” stack of applications.

Taking the time to hire the right employees will pay off in several different ways. For starters, they'll likely go above and beyond the call of duty. Instead of performing only their job requirements, a good employee will take some of the other work off your shoulders. Whether it's answering the phone, sending out emails, making trips to the bank, etc.

Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding on why hiring the right employees is important. Sure, it takes additional time and resources to carefully analyze and interview all of the potential applicants, but it's a smart move that's sure to pay off in the long run.

How To Create an Effective Window Display

Window displays are one of the most effective marketing tools for retail stores and businesses. They essentially serve two purposes -- to encourage passerbys to come and check out your store, and they reveal special deals, discounts and other promotions to customers who already intend on visiting your store. The bottom line is that each and every retail store should utilize window displays to help improve their sales. In this post, we're going to cover some tips on how to set up an effective display.

Maximize Your Display Space

It's important to maximize the space you have available for a window display. If your current display is small, compact and offers limited room, perhaps you should open the area up more. A little bit of renovation work can easily turn a structured wall into a glass display. As long as the wall isn't "load bearing," it should come down without a hitch. By increasing the window display space in your store, you'll have more room to market products to potential customers, making it well worth the time and effort in the long run.


The secret to creating an effective window display is to make it grab the customer's attention and draw them into your store. Setting it up with the same items used in your store won't offer the same effect as a more vibrant and colorful display. Try to incorporate attention-grabbing colors with bold letters that really stand out. You want people to automatically look at your window display as they walk by it. In order to accomplish this, you must use the right colors along with large size font lettering.

After setting up the window display in your retail store, watch people's reaction as they walk by. Hopefully, it catches their attention, even if it's only for a couple of seconds. If it doesn't achieve this goal, you'll need to go back and modify your window display.

Contact Product Manufacturers and Vendors

It's a little-known fact that product manufacturers and vendors will oftentimes work with retailers to create attractive window displays. Before you begin to set up your window display, contact your vendor to see what kind of assistance they can offer. While they probably won't be able to offer you any physical labor, they may send you some cut-outs, signs and other promotional display material to use in your window area. And best of all, the promotional material is completely free since you are using it to market their products.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

3 Steps Towards Building Stronger Customer Relationships

Customer relationships are essentially the backbone of retail businesses. Without customers, product will remain unsold on your shelves, leading to lower sales and profit margins. Whether your store sells groceries, electronics, pet supplies, sporting goods, antiques or practically anything else, you need to focus on customer relationships. To learn more, check out the following 3-step method towards building stronger customer relationships.

Step #1 – Identify Target Demographic

The first step towards building stronger customer relationships is to identify your store's target demographic. While you may have men and women of all ages shopping at your store, chances are there's a very specific type of demographic that's generating most of your sales. It's up to you, however, to identify this demographic so you can use it to your store's advantage.

If you need some help identifying your target demographic, don't be afraid to gather this type of information through email surveys. You can offer customers a discount in-store coupon in exchange for providing their information. Simply collect your customers' email addresses when they check out, and then follow up by offering a coupon in exchange for their birth date, age, zip code, etc.

Step #2 – Marketing

The second step is to use the previously acquired information to market your store. Know that you know who shops at your store, you can advertise towards that specific demographic. This is incredibly useful in not only building stronger customer relationships, but also branding your store's name. The more people who know your name, the more sales you will receive.

The sky is the limit when it comes to marketing. In most cases, local marketing seems to be the most effective for small retail businesses. You can advertise in classifieds, phone books, billboard signs and through postal mail. The key thing to remember is that you need to focus your marketing efforts on the store's target demographic.

Step #3 – Customer Service

If you want customers to keep coming back to your store, you must go above and beyond the call of duty with your service. Show your customers that you and all of your employees care by greeting them with a big “hello” when they enter and “thanks for coming” when they leave. It only takes a few seconds to greet a customer, but it will leave a lasting impression that sets your store apart from your competitors.

Monday, July 29, 2013

How To Reduce Your Employee Turnover Rate

Do you constantly find yourself scouting for new employees to fill empty positions? Instead of focusing your time and money on running your retail business, you're forced to go through applications and perform interviews. This naturally hurts you business a whole, which is why it's important to constantly work on reducing turnover rates. In this post, we're going to cover some simple and effective techniques for lowering turnover rates.

Offer Benefits

Far too many companies underestimate the importance of offering employee benefits. They assume that cutting a paycheck every other week is enough to keep employees happy. While this may be enough for some workers, other workers are looking for additional benefits at their place of employment. If you aren't doing so already, consider offering benefits to your employees such as health insurance, holiday bonuses, stock options, etc. Going the extra mile to show your employees that you care will naturally lower your turnover rates, making it a smart investment that's worth the cost.

Employee Recognition

Employees want to know that all of their hard work isn't going unnoticed. This is why it's important to focus on recognition in your store or place of business. By recognizing employees who excel on the job, you'll encourage everyone to strive for perfection. There are dozens of ways to recognize employees, such as offering them gift cards, free lunches, labeling them as "employee of the month," giving them a bonus check, etc. Ideally, you should set goals for your employees to reach and reward those who reach it. Doing so is a highly effective way to reduce turnover rates while improving employee efficiency.

Incorporate a Feedback Program

Each and every business should have a feedback program in place where employees can voice their professional concerns. Small problems in the workplace will oftentimes lead to bigger problems if not properly addressed. By having a feedback system in place, employees can voice their concerns. As a result, this will lead to a reduced turnover rate by keeping employees on the job for a longer period of time. Just be sure to not only reed your employees' feedback, but also follow through by taking the necessary action to correct any problems.

These are just a few of the many ways business owners can reduce their employee turnover rates. While there's no way to keep 100% of your employees on the job, following the tips listed here will significantly reduce the amount of workers who quit.

Friday, July 26, 2013

What You Should Know About Purchasing Used Gondolas

Gondolas are the single most widely used type of shelving in retail store environments, and for good reason: they are fully adjustable, easy to move, versatile, and incredibly durable. All of these features make them a popular choice by store owners everywhere. Instead of purchasing new gondolas for your retail store, you should consider purchasing used ones. Doing so will save you a substantial amount of money while giving you the peace of mind knowing they were previously tested. If you are interested in purchasing one more used gondolas for your retail store, keep reading for some tips on choosing the right ones.

Some people might be turned away at the thought of installing a previously used gondola in their retail store. After all, used items are typically directly and/or broke, right? The truth is that reconditioned gondolas have gone through an extensive quality assurance process to ensure they are fully functional with no damage. In fact, it's oftentimes difficult to tell the difference between a new and used gondola. The one primary difference between the two is the price, which is a huge advantage for store owners looking to save money.

Choose The Right Size

Before purchasing used any used gondolas for your store, you should determine exactly what size you need. Gondolas come in a wide range of different sizes, varying from heights of 36 to 84 inches and lengths of 4 to 24 feet. If you haven't done so already, use a measuring tape to get the dimensions for the area where you intend on setting the gondola up.

Although it's important to choose the gondola best suited for your store, you can always go back and add more on to it later. Gondolas are designed to work interchangeably with other gondolas, allowing store owners to remove and add new ones on as they see fit. If you wish to increase the size of your gondola in the future, you can purchase additional ones to attach on. Just remember to choose gondolas that are the same height to create a proper appearance.


Reconditioned gondolas also come in a wide variety of finish tones and colors. Ideally, you should keep your gondolas uniform by using a single color. This will allow for a more cohesive decor that's attractive and easier on the eyes. Some of the different gondola finishes you'll find include almond, white, silver and black.

Ways To Reduce Your Store's Power Usage

The high cost of providing electricity to a retail store can place a financial burden on the company as a whole. Those who are new to the retail industry might be surprised to learn just how much energy a typical store goes through on a monthly basis. Depending on the size and scope of your store, you could easily see a monthly power bill that's over a thousand dollars. Instead of throwing your hard-earned profits away on monthly power bills, you should try to reduce electricity usage in your store. There are several different techniques that can yield significant reductions in your power usage and ultimately your power bill.

Install Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Many store owners are drawn to using incandescent light bulbs simply because they are the least expensive. With an average cost of less than a buck, you can illuminate your store without spending an arm and a leg on light bulbs; however, incandescent bulbs are somewhat misleading. While they may cost less than other types of bulbs, they use far more energy, contributing to your sky-high monthly power bill. If you wish to reduce your store's power usage, you should consider installing energy-efficient light bulbs instead of incandescent.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) cost about 2-3 times more than incandescent bulbs, but they also last about 9-10 times as long. While a traditional incandescent bulb will last about 1,200 hours, CFL bulbs will last 10,000+ hours. In addition, they also use about a third of the energy that's used by incandescent bulbs. CFL bulbs are a great all-around choice that will yield huge savings in your store's power bill.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Does you store sell frozen or chilled grocery products? If so, installing energy-efficient appliances would likely reduce your store's power usage. It's no secret that some of the older model freezers are power-hungry monsters that eat through electricity. Switching them out for some of the newer, more energy-efficient models could dramatically lower your store's power bill.

Another reason why you should install energy-efficient appliances in your store is because of the tax breaks offered. In an effort to encourage business owners to use less power, the government is offering tax incentives when you purchase energy-efficient appliances. These incentives are nice bonuses that store owners can take advantage of in addition to their reduced monthly power bills.