Does Your Retail Location Invite Customers or Repel Them?
If you were a customer and you approached your retail location would you be encouraged to stop there or maybe want to look for another place? Every time you pull up to your location, whether you’re a manager or employee you should be looking at the location if it is someplace you’d want to stop. If it isn’t? Fix it! To help you organize this we created a basic checklist. Click the button below to view and download a printable PDF version.
The profitability of the location you work at determines if you have employment or not. If a retail location isn’t profitable how long would you keep dumping money into a losing proposition? From management to clerks it’s your responsibility to make sure the location is profitable. You’re not there just to give change. In today’s world, workers can often be replaced with automation. To keep your job and staff, it takes more than just a bare minimum of effort. It’s more than just having someone tend to the register. It’s making the customers feel welcome and part of that is providing a clean, safe environment.
Everything starts with the outside of the location. If there is another competitor nearby and they take the time, energy and effort to make the location look clean and safe, people are more likely to stop. If your location has banners falling down, tighten them up. If there is trash in the lot, pick it up. Even if it is on the easement for the road (or, the tree lawn as it’s called in some places). If the grass is growing and looks bad, bring in a weed wacker or call a lawn service. Make the outside look nice and inviting. Your job and business depends on it.
Check the fuel pump area because that is most likely where most of your customers are going to be. First thing you want to do is check for vandalism or card skimmers. Then check that the area is stocked and clean. Make sure that the paper towels are filled and the trash is empty. Make sure the ground around the pumps is free of oil and debris. If there is oil put out oil dry or schedule pressure washing.
Check that the rest facilities (bathrooms) are clean. Make sure the trash cans are empty. Make sure that the toilet is clean, the sink and mirror is clean and there is soap and paper towels. Most importantly, make sure there is toilet paper. Finally, make sure the door and door handle is clean. Think about it like you are a customer. What things bother you when using retail locations? See if you store has those same issues and address them if it does. Get your employees on board to do this on a regular basis. If you do, there shouldn’t be a lot of work!
Inside the location
The entranceway must be clean and free of trash. The glass and floors should be clean. That displays should be neat and stocked. If signs are worn or torn, replace or remove them. This is their first impression of your store. Make it the best you can.
Check that your service counter or cash counter is just as clean. Don’t have junk on the floor or trash on the counter. Get rid of old or ragged signs. Don’t over stock the area to the point that customers don’t have room to place their items. Also, don’t overwhelm them with small impulse buy items. If there is tape glue from old signs, clean it off. If you have security glass, clean both sides.
Food areas must be kept clean. If you go through the trouble of having food, then you want to sell it. Would you buy food from a dirty place? Make sure it is always kept clean and stocked. This should be done frequently during each shift. Check that the drink dispensers are clean and working properly and that all size of cups are available as well as lids.
Employees should keep an eye on stock when doing their rounds. If something is getting low make sure they know to let the manager know before you run out.
If the location is small and there is only one employee per shift then as the manager, set a schedule so that during a shift change there is an overlap so that one of the employees can do this upkeep. It may cost you a few more dollars but if your location is kept clean and is inviting and safe, the increased business will more than make up for it.
If you’re in an area where people hangout outside of the store this detracts from the viability of the location. Keep the location clean and move the people that want to hang out along. Be polite about it and thank them for their business if they bought something but make it clear that they need to move on so that the next customers can get the parking spots. If you’re in an area where people solicit or panhandle this can kill a business. No one likes to be asked for money. Be polite and let the people know that it is private property and that they can’t do that. But some discretion must be used. Often they are homeless and have nothing to lose so you and your staff needs to be careful. Sometimes the best remedy is to just call the local police or sheriff and let the professionals deal with it.
Remember, look at it like a customer and be critical of the environment. Try and find things wrong or out of place and fix it. If you work the graveyard shift it is usually slow between 3am – 5am so use that time to really put some polish on the place.