A new year, a fresh start – there’s no better time to take a step back and evaluate your business. Hopefully you finished the year with a strong holiday sales season. No matter where you landed last year, there’s always room for improvement. Take advantage of the slower winter months to revamp your store operations, infrastructure, and tech.
Here are our top recommendations for retail New Year’s Resolutions:
Take the Pulse of Your Customers
In 2019, we want to take risks, test new products, try new promotions, and expand revenue opportunities. But, before diving into any of that, we need to get a feel for what customers want. Send out a survey asking for feedback on products, customer service, and overall experience. When you’re ready to test new products, invite some of your most frequent customers and biggest spenders to join a focus group to get feedback.
Invest in Point-of-Sale
If you’re still using a traditional cash register, we can’t stress enough the importance of upgrading to a modern point of sale system. A point of sale system will allow you to accept more payment methods, increase the accuracy and efficiency of your inventory management, and reduce human error in processing sales. Many POS systems also come with marketing tools, employee management features, and best of all, reporting. A good point of sale system will provide sales reports that will help you determine which products to stock and help staff your store more efficiently.
Modernize HR Tools
Unemployment is at a record low, and as many retailers struggled to hire and keep seasonal employees over the holidays, it’s super important that independent retailers put a focus on the people aspects of their business in 2019. A quality HR software can help you manage job posts, speed through the hiring and onboarding process while also gathering and filing all necessary paperwork. From an employee perspective, HR tools can help track time off, provide direct deposits, and provide access to performance feedback, tax paperwork, and other important documents that would otherwise not be as readily accessible. Having these types of tools in place will help retailers compete for quality employees.
Revamp Your Benefits Package
Retailers looking to hire and retain employees over the New Year should also take a hard look at their benefits package. Do some research to see what the going rate is for retail employees in your area.Then, do your best to match or beat that rate. It’s more beneficial in the long run to pay employees a higher hourly rate and keep them for longer, than have a higher turnover rate and constantly having to retrain new hires.
Invest in Training
Bob Phibbs, CEO of the Retail Doctor, a New York – based consultancy says that independent retailers need to “honestly look in the mirror and invest in their people and training” in order to succeed. In-person training and role playing should be a vital part of every shift. Also invest in structured protocols so that you can hold employees accountable.