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In a recent Get Managing live session, I discussed the importance of motivating your staff. When I reflect on what we’ve been through with COVID-19 and people now back at work, there isn’t a more important topic than this.

Motivation simply refers to the ‘behaviours one chooses’. If staff choose the behaviours we like, we’ll say they are motivated.  So, as the manager, your goal is to give them good reasons to choose the behaviours you want them to exhibit.

Here are 5 ways retail managers can build a proven blueprint to give your team the reasons they need to choose your desired behaviours … and as a result, build their morale.

 

5 Principles of Motivation

 

1. Meaningful Work

You have to answer this question for each of your employees: What do they want from work? The answer to this will be different for everyone. You need to know why your staff comes to work and what’s important for them. As a manager, take the time out and have conversations with your employees to get to know them better and discover their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Great Store Environment

Customers can feel a store’s energy right when they walk in. In great store environments, staff have positive energy, which is reflected in their interactions with customers. Managers need to be diligent about creating the environment they want. Think about what steps you should take and constantly communicate these to your staff throughout the day.

3. Employee Progress & Success

People really want to win, and wins have been really hard to come by for most people. Because of the pandemic, traffic counts at stores were down drastically. I know how frustrating this has been. However, what we should continue to do is make employees feel like they are winning. If they feel like they are losing, your turnover rate will go up as no one wants to come to an environment like this. Retailers that perform well have a low employee turnover rate! So how can you make your employees feel like they are winning? Start thinking about the game within the game. Instead of just being concerned with the big sales number, also factor in quality of sales metrics, basket size, conversion rates, unit of sales, and so on.  You can also focus on the completion of employee training, customer feedback, and execution of in-store initiatives. Always find the opportunity to share with your staff that while it might not be perfect out there, there is stuff that they are winning it and you recognize that progress.

4. Reward and Recognition

We run our stores 360 days a year. You need a chest full of ideas on how you can recognize and reward your staff.

5. Focus on Fun

Retail is supposed to be fun, so please make it fun for your staff. It doesn’t have to be complicated to do. You can come up with monthly contests and run them with your staff. While you need to have a payout for these contests, remember that this is about the opportunity to have fun! Just remember, the shorter the contest, the better. Keep them simple, and the payout has to be meaningful.

 

Do you know our Get Managing online retail management program can increase the competency level of managers by 25%? If you want to learn more about this amazing program or book a free demo, get in touch with me today!


At Graff Retail, we create leading-edge retail training programs specifically designed and customized to increase staff knowledge and performance with innovative teaching methods to drive sales and revenue for businesses.


In my last blog, I discussed motivating employees and why this is important now that stores have reopened.

As a retail manager, along with motivation, you need to focus on increasing engagement; because this dramatically impacts employee performance and retention. While motivation refers to ‘behaviours chosen’, engagement is intrinsic, creating an internal ‘feeling’ of caring as much about success as you do.

Here is a 6-part blueprint you can follow to improve employee engagement at your stores.  Prove to yourself it works by comparing how your best team members ‘score’ on this blueprint versus your lower performers.

Blueprint for Employee Engagement 

 

1. Job Importance

Employees have to believe the job they are doing is important, or they won’t try hard. Make sure all your employees know how important they are.

2. Clarity of Expectations

Do your employees know what success and failure look like? You need to be really clear with them about what the expectations are to get them to paddle in the right direction.

3. Job Improvement

Communicate clearly to your staff how doing something will make their job better.

4. Regular Feedback

If you don’t provide regular feedback, you are going to lose your employees. People need ongoing feedback to help them improve.

5. Quality of Relationships

As the store manager, you are responsible for all the relationships in your store, and it’s up to you to help people find common ground to work productively together. If you have a broken relationship with someone on your schedule, you need to fix it and fix it fast. Remember, you can’t coach someone if you have a broken relationship. Fix the relationships in your store, and you will fix the majority of compliance issues. This will also go a long way in building engagement.

6. Culture and Values

If you’ve done a good job hiring with values-based interviewing, this won’t be a problem. You can have a checklist that can help you assess how an employee fits into the culture and values of your company.

 

Do you know our Get Managing online retail management program can increase the competency level of managers by 25%? If you want to learn more about this amazing program or book a free demo, get in touch with me today!


At Graff Retail, we create leading-edge retail training programs specifically designed and customized to increase staff knowledge and performance with innovative teaching methods to drive sales and revenue for businesses.


Retail stores leave a lot of money out on the table every day. So how can stores drive up their sales?

Let’s start with the most important equation in retail used to produce sales: Take the number of people walking into your store (traffic) and multiply that with conversion rate percentage (what percentage of people are making a purchase) and then multiply that by average sale.

So, if you want to increase sales, you have to drive up one or more of the metrics in the equation.  However, retail stores really have only two options left since in-store traffic counts have gone down due to the pandemic and will likely continue in that trajectory for some time. Drive-up conversion rate or increase the average sale.

Retail stores need to be more productive in selling to more customers and increasing the average purchase amount from each customer. Let’s break it down and see how retail stores can increase these metrics.

Increasing Traffic at Retail Stores

I’ve mentioned that traffic has taken a hit due to the pandemic, but there are some steps you can take to increase footfall.

Raise the bar: If you want existing customers to come back, everything you do (service, displays, etc.) has to be better. If a retail store is still operating as it did in 2019/2020, it’s moving in the wrong direction. Customers are smarter, more demanding, and there are more options now.

Windows: Windows need to be outstanding because these drive customers into the store. Ask yourself, “would your windows excite you enough to come into your store?”

Storefront: These need to be fresh and exciting and are especially important for stores in mall-type environments. People are inspired to enter a store based on what is happening at the storefront.

Look busy: Retail stores that are busy end up getting more walk-ins. Stores can achieve this by making sure the entire team looks busy instead of just standing around at the cash register.

Reaching out: Keep reaching out to your customers. Stores should email their customers and connect with them over social media.

Increasing Conversion Rates at Retail Stores 

Wait on customers: Sales teams at retail stores need to have warm, genuine, and friendly conversations with customers. Conversion rates will not increase unless sales teams wait on customers.

Better rapport: Success rate on the sales floor is tied to an employee’s ability to establish rapport with the customer.

Better questions: When teams ask customers questions, they learn about their needs. It is much easier to sell customers a solution when you know what the problem is.

Have a goal: By defining a goal, retail stores know what is required to meet it.

Know best sellers: Retail stores should focus on their best-selling products and promote these to customers.

Closing the sale: Your sales team should be ready to offer recommendations to customers and have multiple ways to close the sale in a soft and non-confrontational manner.

Be informed: Product knowledge is essential. On a scale of 1-10 from ‘no knowledge’ to ‘expert’, your employees should be at least an eight on most every product. If they are not, there needs to be a strategy in place to increase their product knowledge. Retail managers should be responsible for passing this knowledge onto their team members.

Get moving: Operate with a sense of urgency. Get hustling and moving!

Increasing Average Sale at Retail Stores

Most efforts are to sell more items to customers, not necessarily have them trade up to more expensive items. However, these are both important to drive up the average sale.

Selling more expensive items is one way to drive up the average sale, and here are some ways retail stores can achieve this.

New products: Staff at retail stores should be excited about selling new products as soon as they come in at their original prices and not on a markdown later on.

Clearance items: Hold off on showing discounted items right off the start; instead, clearance items should be sold as add-ons at the end of the sale.

Product knowledge: Increase staff product knowledge on the higher-priced items. They can’t sell it unless they know it! Customers looking for high-end products want their salesperson to be just as passionate as they are, at least from a knowledge perspective.

Practice sessions: Managers need to have practice sessions and do more role-playing with their team on how they should be selling.

Work your way down: Always present the most expensive merchandise first and then work your way down.

The second part of this metric is to get customers to buy more items at retail stores.

Cross-sell: Everyone should be trained to cross-sell. The sales team should be able to sell from one department into the next department. They should know add-on options for products and what goes better with what. For example, if a customer purchases glasses, your team should sell them a cleaning solution, anti-reflective coating, case, and more.

Slow down: When there is time at the store, your sales team should slow down with the customer, take a consultive approach, and understand their needs. However, we always sell to the speed of the store.

Don’t just clerk the sale: If you want to stop this, start tracking how many one item sales are being made at your retail store.

Sell the right solution: Your sales team should point out the right solution and all the items a customer needs to achieve this.

Sell from the customer’s perspective: Staff should think about best serving the customer. For example, sales teams at clothing stores should focus on selling an entire outfit rather than just one item.

Impulse items: Sales teams should suggest impulse promotional items at the cash register. This is an easy sale because the customer is already buying something.

Strategy: There should be a clearly defined add-on strategy. This could include, what makes the item look better, perform better, and what makes it last longer.

The challenge is putting these ideas into play. How we write an action plan is important to driving retail store metrics. The plan should address the following factors:

  • How to keep focused on the plan (daily, weekly, monthly)?
  • How will it be measured?
  • Who will be accountable, and for what?
  • How will training take place?
  • How do you gain commitment?

If you want to hit your targets, you should only work on one or two metrics at a time at your retail store and focus on them daily.

Need help driving up these metrics? Get in touch with us today and learn how you can increase sales at your retail store.


At Graff Retail, we create leading-edge retail training programs specifically designed and customized to increase staff knowledge and performance with innovative teaching methods to drive sales and revenue for businesses.


It’s that wonderful time of the when we start to gear up for the holidays. For retailers, this holiday season is a way to reconnect with customers who will make their way back to stores.

We’ve put together a holiday retail sales training guide for that will help meet customer and staff expectations and increase sales.

Post-COVID, the retail landscape has changed drastically, but most basic principles for increasing sales remain the same, although there should be more emphasis on them now.

During the holiday season, retail stores need to communicate their safety strategy to their staff and customers. Customers and staff are anxious, and they need to know you’re working through all the safety procedures. Next, make sure you are giving customers everything that they need. Keep in mind your customers don’t want to make a second or third trip back to the store.

What hasn’t changed is the need to create exceptional customer experiences. Let’s face it, the shopping experience isn’t great, so you need to double down and work harder to engage with customers. There needs to be a sense of urgency among your staff. There is limited time and customers, so you need to maximize the value of every customer.

Kickstart Your Holiday Sales

If you want to kickstart your holiday sales, develop and launch a sales contest that will get your staff’s attention and produce solid results. Sound easy?  It’s not!  To drive success on the sales floor, your contest must follow these important guidelines:

  • It must be simple.
  • It must be ‘winnable.’
  • It must be easily measured.
  • It must be completed within a short time frame (one week maximum!).
  • It must include relevant rewards.
  • It should involve continuous communication.
  • You should consider alternating between individual and team-based events.

For example, let’s look at how we might launch a sales contest based on individual sales performance.  Keep in mind the guidelines above as we develop the parameters for this competition.  They might look like this:

  1. The winner is the salesperson who achieves the highest items per sale, or IPS.  (Same thing as Units per Transaction.)  (Simple)
  2. Since the competition is based on employee performance during each transaction, everybody has a chance to win.  (Winnable)
  3. Simply track their IPS on a daily and weekly basis.  (Easily measured)
  4. Let’s run this contest for one week to allow everyone (including part-timers) to participate.  (Short time frame)
  5. The first-place winner will take home an extra $25.  Second place gets you $15, and third wins $5.  (Relevant rewards)
  6. The Store Manager (or shift manager) will quickly review each employee’s progress with her during each contest shift.  (Continuous communication)

Simple, isn’t it?  Yet, it is well-conceived with clear and obvious guidelines that are regularly communicated.  Everyone will have a chance to win, so everyone will ‘pull a little harder on the oars’ this week!

An alternative to individual competition is using similar parameters but playing one shift ‘team’ against another.  Or hold a competition with another store in your area.  You could even get your District Manager to challenge another region.  Wouldn’t that be fun?

And remember … don’t wait for your Head Office to launch the next contest.  Take the initiative and run one today in your own store.  Keep the rewards simple, if need be, but get it done!

Not sure this will generate some excitement in your store?  Then clearly, you’re underestimating the competitive edge and desire for recognition that drives most great salespeople.  If you follow these guidelines and your staff still isn’t interested … maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your staff!

How to Drive Holiday Sales

Are you ready to make this a great holiday selling season?  There’s no reason why you can’t sell more!

Here are 5 things we think you need to get on top of right now if you haven’t already:

  1. Get your cashiers selling: If you don’t have a cash counter selling program in place, you need one fast.   Have your cashiers prompt customers on inexpensive items merchandised at the cash desk. Impulse items or stocking stuffers work best. It’s the easiest way to add a dollar or two (or ten!) to your average transaction values.
  2. Add-On like never before! How many of you have to buy just one gift this Christmas? (if you do, you might need more friends!)  Now is the time to prompt customers for other possible purchases.  What you need is a solid add-on strategy.
  3. Work smart:  Set up displays and re-stock before the store opens or after it closes.  Be ready to sell the entire time your doors are open!  Use your available hours more wisely.  And PLEASE, don’t let us find you not waiting on customers!  C’mon!  You’ve waited all year for this…don’t waste the potential standing in your stores.
  4. Stay on top of your sales stats:Track and manage your key stats (IPS, Avg Sale, Conversion Rate) aggressively.  When things get busy, there’s a tendency for staff to “clerk” instead of sell. Hold them accountable to their targets and make sure you’re squeezing every last possible dollar out of the store. Begin each shift by challenging your staff to come up with different ways they could improve each metric.
  5. Get into your stores:We always tease our clients that ‘you make money in the stores, and spend it at Head Office.’  Go to where the action is.  Your staff, product and customers are all found in the stores.  Go see how well plans are being executed. Check on staff performance.  Sell something yourself.  Listen. Learn. Adjust.

Add On Strategies to Boost Holiday Sales

Here is a 5-step add-on strategy that you can use with every customer that comes to your store.

  • Who Else is on Their List? After the customer has figured out the main item they want to buy, you need to start a conversation with them to get them to add-on. Ask them how their Christmas shopping is coming along and who else is on their list. This might open the door to another sales opportunity.
  • Self Gift: Most people end up buying themselves something during the holiday season. Ask the customer if they saw anything in the store that they would like for themselves.
  • Holiday Entertaining: Even with COVID, people are still going to be doing some entertaining. They might not be going out to restaurants which means there are going to be smaller gatherings at homes. What are the types of things your customers might need if they are entertaining at home? You need to explore products that fit into people’s entertaining needs.
  • Gift Cards: This time, I want to focus on gift cards at the end of the sale. Just get the customer into the conversation by telling them how a gift card can help when someone shows up at their house with an unexpected gift. Having a couple of gift cards around really helps in this situation.
  • Stocking Stuffers: This is an easy opportunity to drive up your average sales by a few dollars. Just ask the customer if they exchange stockings in their families and tell them about your items.

If you follow these five easy add-on strategies with your customers, expect to sell one or two additional items along the way.

Maximizing Transactions and Experiences

As a retailer, you need to maximize every single transaction. There is nothing wrong with putting more money in the register, but you need to focus on providing complete solutions. Try to limit the number of trips a customer needs to make to your store. For example, if you run a hardware store and someone orders paint and a roller, anticipate what they are missing and make sure they add these items on.

The next thing you can do is to maximize the customer experience. I know it’s tough in these circumstances to wear masks and stand 6-feet apart, but you need to double down on your efforts in providing an amazing shopping experience. Providing an amazing experience now is also going to have an impact on your sales in 2021. Go Deep on The Experience!

These are two easy things that you can work on. It’s a challenging situation out there, but you can do this!

Good Luck. Good Selling. Stay Safe.


At Graff Retail, we create leading-edge retail training programs specifically designed and customized to increase staff knowledge and performance with innovative teaching methods to drive sales and revenue for businesses.


It’s great that we are seeing things get back to normal with restrictions being lifted in most areas. For the most part, retail numbers are looking good, and most of my clients may not be where they were or want to be, but they are certainly seeing some positive movement.

Recently, the Retail Council of Canada held its annual Store Conference. I MC’d this conference, which allowed me to watch everything that was going on. Almost every mainstage presentation talked about the importance of people. I’ve been attending this conference for 15 years now, and previously the mainstage talks would focus on mobile, omnichannel, and technology. This year 75% of the talks emphasized looking after our people. This is a really good thing as major retailers like Walmart were also talking about employee wellbeing. I consider staff as the most important part of any business. Your staff is the biggest differentiator, and how they interact and create customer experiences will make all the difference at a retail store.

The other message I kept on hearing, again and again, was that there should be no more excuses. We have all gone through almost two years of running around with our hair on fire, but now, it’s time to stop. It’s time to go back to doing the things we know we can do. The holidays are when retail stores start seeing new customers, and if they get the impression that your store isn’t running the right way, it’s going to end up hurting your 2022 business. Then you’ve got your customers who normally come in, but if you create a mundane experience for them, why would they visit the store.

I get it! It’s hard to get stores to run the way they are supposed to. Some customers are still acting badly, there are staff shortages, and managers have to work long hours. But at some point, we have to move past all this and get on to solving problems.

How Can We Get Going?

It’s All About Mindset

Everything starts with the mindset. If we have a negative, defeatist, or stressed mindset, there will be issues at the store, and your customers won’t get the service they deserve. But if there is a mindset to run this thing the right way, it’s going produce a positive attitude and lead to the results you want. As a manager, you need to think about how you’re showing up as a leader at your store and pushing your team’s performance to a higher level.

Let’s Raise Standards 

At most stores, compliance with standards that protect the brand experience and deliver the customer experience is average at best.  We struggle with these at the best of times, but right now, what I’m seeing is that too many stores are not up to par. You can improve this by first identifying the top five or seven standards and working with your team to get these things right. As the leader, you never let any of these standards slip. Chase these things down and do them right every single day in your store.

Shift Starters 

I’ve been talking about these for 25 years, and I still walk into stores where they are not running them. If you have a shift starter meeting with your team, anything is possible, and it’s a consistent point of communication with your staff. These meetings are not only great for reviewing and setting agendas but can also be used to rally your team around a central message.

Walk The Store 

Mangers, if you want things to run the right way, you have to start walking the store. Go through the store department by department and make sure it’s running right. If you don’t pay attention to things, don’t expect your employees to.

Delegate 

I can not stress how important it is for a manager to delegate responsibilities. If you want to engage your teams, you need to get them more involved, and delegating some of your responsibilities is a great way to do this. One of the problems retail stores are experiencing right now is employees leaving, and being disengaged is a big reason behind this.

Everyone from your staff to your customers needs your store to run the right way every day. In the past, it was not that difficult to do this. It’s time to stop making excuses and get back to the business of doing things right. If we can’t get stores to run the right way now, it will be difficult as the holiday season progresses. Now is the time to make this happen!


At Graff Retail, we create leading-edge retail training programs specifically designed and customized to increase staff knowledge and performance with innovative teaching methods to drive sales and revenue for businesses.


It’s hard to believe Christmas is almost here. Are you ready to make this a great selling season? There’s no reason why you can’t sell more!

Here are 5 things we think you need to get on top of right now if you haven’t already. 

1. Get your cashiers selling: If you don’t have a cash counter selling program in place, you need one fast.   Have your cashiers prompt customers on inexpensive items merchandised at the cash desk. Impulse items or stocking stuffers work best. It’s the easiest way to add a dollar or two (or ten!) to your average transaction values.

2. Add-On like never before! How many of you have to buy just one gift this Christmas? (if you do, you might need more friends!)  Now is the time to prompt customers for other possible purchases.  What you need is a solid add-on strategy.  At the end of this blog, you’ll find a link to a free video we produced that will help you add on more, and sell more effectively this holiday season.

3. Work smart: Set up displays and re-stock before the store opens or after it closes.  Be ready to sell the entire time your doors are open!  Use your available hours more wisely.  And PLEASE, don’t let us find you not waiting on customers!  C’mon!  You’ve waited all year for this…don’t waste the potential standing in your stores.

4. Stay on top of your sales stats: Track and manage your key stats (IPS, Avg Sale, Conversion Rate) aggressively.  When things get busy, there’s a tendency for staff to “clerk” instead of sell. Hold them accountable to their targets and make sure you’re squeezing every last possible dollar out of the store. Begin each shift by challenging your staff to come up with different ways they could improve each metric.

5. Get into your stores: We always tease our clients that ‘you make money in the stores, and spend it at Head Office’.  Go to where the action is.  Your staff, product and customers are all found in the stores.  Go see how well plans are being executed. Check on staff performance.  Sell something yourself.  Listen. Learn.  Adjust.

Two free videos for you! To help you sell, even more, we’ve created two short videos that contain some great selling tips to use this holiday selling season.  Just click here. It’s our gift to you.


At Graff Retail, we create leading-edge retail training programs specifically designed and customized to increase staff knowledge and performance with innovative teaching methods to drive sales and revenue for businesses.


Try It … Use the Spirit of Christmas In Your Store!

Here we are, just 11 ‘sleeps’ away from Christmas day. How have sales been in your stores so far this holiday selling season? Hitting your targets? Celebrating success? We certainly hope so, because there can hardly be one good reason why you shouldn’t be doing better this year than last.

But, ask yourself a bigger question: Do you have the Christmas spirit yet? Does your staff? How about your customers?

The truth is, if you have it, you’re more likely to be able to share it with those around you.

Read more at #GraffBlog

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Here we are, just 11 ‘sleeps’ away from Christmas day. How have sales been in your stores so far this holiday selling season? Hitting your targets? Celebrating success? We certainly hope so, because there can hardly be one good reason why you shouldn’t be doing better this year than last.

But, ask yourself a bigger question: Do you have the Christmas spirit yet? Does your staff? How about your customers?

The reason this question is so important is because we know that the ‘science’ of shopping is dwarfed by the ’emotion’ of the buying experience. Imagine being a customer out shopping for gifts, dreading the expenditure and search, only to be confronted by store staff who is bored or tired of the whole ‘go wait on another customer’ thing. How likely is it that you would want to buy something in that store? Of course not.

Sure, this ‘Christmas spirit’ thing might sound a little too warm and fuzzy (especially coming from us), but the truth is that if you have it, you’re more likely to be able to share it with those around you. If you manage others, it would be a remarkable gift to give them. If you sell to customers, you could brighten their day, even if just for a moment.

What does all this ‘goodwill to men, and peace on earth’ stuff get you? Better productivity. Happier staff. Loyal customers. And, most of all, the warmest and best feeling deep inside you that will carry you through the season smiling and laughing.


At Graff Retail, we create leading-edge retail training programs specifically designed and customized to increase staff knowledge and performance with innovative teaching methods to drive sales and revenue for businesses.


JAN 25, 2022

10 Things To Do To NOT Drive Results

We often ‘beat you over the head’ with what you need to do to increase sales, improve the customer experience and build employee engagement.  After all, that’s the work we do with our clients. But here are 10 Things NOT To Do To Drive Results.

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DEC 13, 2021

Try it…Use the Spirit of Christmas In Your Store

Try It … Use the Spirit of Christmas In Your Store! Here we are, just 11 ‘sleeps’ away from Christmas day. How have sales been in your stores so far this holiday selling season? Hitting your targets? Celebrating success? We certainly hope so, because there can hardly be one good reason why you shouldn’t be […]

Read More

DEC 02, 2021

5 Things to Do NOW To Drive Holiday Sales

It’s hard to believe Christmas is almost here. Are you ready to make this a great selling season? There’s no reason why you can’t sell more! Here are 5 things we think you need to get on top of right now if you haven’t already.  1. Get your cashiers selling: If you don’t have a […]

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