• Sara Mays

Please Take My Money! 3 Actions You Can Take Today to Increase Sales

Indicators of opportunities to improve our sales are all around us.

We just have to slow down and take notice of them.

As an experienced retailer, it’s easy to visit another retailer and make observations as to why bricks and mortar retail is struggling.

Just after the Christmas Holiday, at mid-day, I visited a large retailer in Manhattan. As I made my way through the store, I noticed that the line at the register had at least 20 customers waiting. I then selected my 2 items and made my way to the registers. As I approached the line, which now extended outside the merchandising designed to control and entice those waiting, I noticed a customer exiting the line. She placed her selected items on a table and headed toward the exit.

As I made my way through the line, I noted that 5 registers were staffed with cashiers and 7 were left open. At this point, I counted the people in line, and there were more than 30. I heard no overhead page for additional cashiers nor did an employee find their way to any of the 7 empty registers. There did not appear to be a supervisor or manager assigned to the area to help manage the line flow or communicate to customers. Unlike other days, there were certainly plenty of staff in the store, but apparently ensuring that customers did hand over their money was not a priority for this store. If I didn’t need the gift for later that day, I, too, would’ve exited the line.

As I reached the register and completed the transaction, I checked my watch. I had spent approximately 10 minutes selecting my gift for a friend and close to 20 minutes waiting to pay for the items. If all the registers were staffed, and someone was managing the line and communicating with paying customers, I would not have minded the wait.

I thought how often I see and hear people discussing analytical tools to help you drive your business. I’m sure those products are great. I’m also sure the store I was in owns something similar, but clearly, it’s not being utilized. So how can a small business without a budget for fancy analytics be successful at taking my money?

The signs are there. We just have to slow down and notice them.

Sign #1

Do you regularly find unexplained products near the cash register line? If so, then your customers are telling you that they don’t want to wait to give you their money. Focus on when you are finding these items. Is it post-lunchtime on a weekday? Consistent routines to monitor and identify the time frames in which these “customer drops” are occurring can help you pinpoint the problem. Use this information to adjust how the registers are staffed.

Sign #2.

What is your sales data by day and by hour telling you? Historic sales data is a great indicator of what your register staffing should be. Consider holidays, promotions, and current trends when making adjustments to current staffing. Scheduling a leader on peak sales days to manage the traffic flow and to communicate with customers will ensure proper coverage and enhance the customer experience.

Sign #3.

Even if your systems provide hourly summaries, speak to the most experienced cashiers. Encourage their feedback on what they are seeing and hearing from customers. Their information about traffic patterns can be extremely insightful. Your front-line staff has a lot of valuable information. You should create an environment where they are encouraged and recognized for sharing their insights with you.

Technology is a wonderful tool, but without an understanding of the value of the customer, it is wasted. Customers should know they are appreciated from the moment they arrive in your store until the time they exit. The way to ensure this is to be observant, drive customer based communications with your team, and demonstrate that you consistently value your customers throughout the selling process. Make it easy for them to hand over their money.

If you would like to discuss how to improve your sales and profits, call us at The Retail Coach Consultant Group 866-550-8724.

Sara Mays

Principal Consultant

The Retail Coach Consultant Group - NY