Christmas Trading Tips

December 6, 2012 |

Christmas Trading Tips Christmas Trading TipsThis season, when you can expect to see heavier traffic volume in your stores, try a laser focused approach on the sales floor.

Often, during these busier times, you expect that customers will outnumber your sales team by quite a lot. While it’s a wonderful problem to have, there are certain things you must do to make sure that you are able to take full advantage of it; make order out of the chaos and reap the rewards in terms of sales -conversion, average sale per customer, average units per customer, etc.

Without direction, the sales team can get caught up in the whirlwind of activity with the resulting sales achievement being significantly less than what it could be.  This might be a natural occurrence and may not necessarily be because your sales team are doing something wrong.

What they need is continuous guidance, direction and coaching on the sales floor. With proper sales floor leadership and direction in place, your customers will enjoy shopping in an environment where everything is well managed. They’ll be able to get in and out fast, so they can move on to other things they need to accomplish.

They’ll enjoy being served (and sold to) by competent, happy, knowledgeable sales individuals and getting their questions answered quickly. And for those customers who don’t want to take care of their shopping quickly – the ones who enjoy lingering and spending time, choosing just the right items – your sales team will be there for them too – providing exactly what they need.

The Store Manager, Sales Manager or other Management Person in Charge, must be free to perform the function of supervising on the sales floor during busy times. This role cannot be delegated to just anyone..choose the person carefully. The sole purpose of this function is to firstly increase sales now however if you have an unhappy customer this will effect your future business, so make sure the sales team and customer support functions are properly employed and free to do their jobs. Whoever you have decided to put in charge of the sales floor, must be aware of everything that is going on in the store at all times and must act to remove potential obstacles to performance. Clearly, customer’s will benefit from this organized approach during a hectic time and this will have a direct impact on your current and future sales.

Here are some guidelines for the person in charge of your Sales Floor:

  • Keep moving around the store (managing by walking around and keeping the finger on the pulse at all times).
  • Have a system for being kept informed of sales by balancing back the sales team at certain convenient intervals regarding individual sales, conversion rate or any other important aspect of your operation.
  • Always be facing the front of the store so you stay up to the minute on the traffic entering and exiting (one eye on the floor and one eye on the door)
  • Set up a signal system that your team will recognize – perhaps a slight nod – to acknowledge and assist a customer as well as having a different signal for potential shoplifters as this is normally where retailers suffer their biggest losses, so in other words be aware of who is doing what at all times.
  • Be on the lookout for items that are selling out so you have a designated individual to replenish to ensure your shop floor remains attractive. (Items in storerooms won’t naturally sell themselves). And then follow up to ensure it’s done quickly.
  • One of a customers biggest irritations during the festive season is having to sit in a slow moving queue or bottlenecks at the cash desk or checkout. Whoever is in charge needs to take action. Actions like: a) calling in additional employees to assist with packing functions  b) calling another cashier to the desk   c) instructing a runner to go for supplies  d) spending a moment chatting with customers who are waiting – taking their mind off  the fact they are waiting.
  • Check all areas of the store, regularly, to ensure cleanliness and safety.
  • Watch for individuals who are finished doing what they were doing and have not yet engaged in something else that is productive. Give them a new task or point them toward a potential customer.
  • Let the team know that they can, and should, look to you for guidance on any problems that come up. Let them know you are there to ensure the smooth operation of the sales floor providing the very best service to customers and that nothing is more important to you. The customer always comes first and everybody needs to understand that they need to have the customer as the number one priority, anything else can wait.
  • Tell the sales team to notify you should they be going on a lunch or tea or any other break so you can check firstly if it corresponds with your sales roster and secondly to ensure employees don’t stay  away for too long. Staff respect what you inspect and this action will improve overall productivity in whatever area you are inspecting or checking. Review the schedule regularly. Change it if necessary. Lunch and other break times must be adhered to unless you make a change.
  • Stay on the sales floor. If you absolutely must leave the sales floor for a short time, appoint someone to take over. This process can also be used to review your future succession planning and to evaluate individuals for future development.
  • Above all, keep the team motivated – a Happy staff member = a Happy customer (be a Cheerleader and share information!)

Converting shoppers into buying customers is much easier when somebody is in charge of the Sales Floor – removing obstacles and directing virtually everything. There will be fewer customers who leave without buying because you’ve made sure that they were greeted and welcomed into the store, that you have ensured all products/models/styles/sizes that you have available are actually on the sales floor, that the environment is clean and safe, that the sales team are pleasant, calm and available to attend and sell to each and every customer and that the checkout is under control.

Basically, you will then have provided a great shopping experience in an otherwise hectic and chaotic time, and you will be rewarded with higher sales through increased conversion, average sale per customer, average units per customer, etc.

Having a person in charge of the Sales Floor is a ‘must have’, particularly at busy times. If you want to capitalize on increased traffic in your stores, try it.

Should things not go as smooth, please don’t hesitate to contact us should you require any assistance with any of your training needs to improve your business. We provide various workshops and training, and would be more than happy to provide you with a non obligatory quote.

Master Retailing Accreditation / Memberships and Affiliation

Alphabetical order 
  •  CGCSA (Consumer Goods Council of South Africa)
  • GESFWA (Global Education Support Forum for Working Adults)
  • IADL (International Association for Distance Learning)
  •  IAF (International Apparel Federation)
  • IAO (International Accreditation Organization)
  • ICM (Institute of Credit Management)
  •  IEAC (International Education Accreditation Commission)
  •  IRE (International Retail Education)
  •  NUTN (National University Technology Network)
  • RCSA (Retail Council of South Africa)
  • W&RSETA (Wholesale & Retail Sector Education and Training Authority) a division of the Department of Education.

 

The Master Retailing Team would like to wish you all a bumper festive trading, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Category: Blog

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