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Store Preparation for the New Year

It’s never too early for preparation (especially after the year we’ve had). Consider adding these tasks to your to-do list so you can begin 2021 ahead of schedule.

Event Preparation

If you aren’t already hosting one large event and two smaller events per month, you should. Start 2021 with all three events hosted the first week, then you can alternate weeks the remainder of the year. Some ideas include make-it and take-its, demonstrations, seminars, and vendor days. And remember, an event doesn’t always have to correspond with a sale.

Team Training

Speaking of year long events, if you don’t already have a weekly team training scheduled, put one on the calendar. It may seem difficult to think of topics at first, but eventually your team will have requests of their own.

Some places to start include making a list of “never out” items. These are items that should always be in stock as they can make or break sales. And they should be in extra stock during the busy season.

Another idea includes coming up with bag stuffer ideas. Train your employees to give a 30 second pitch of the bag stuffer as they hand the flyer to the customer. This will prove much more effective than not mentioning the bag stuffer at all.

Finally, review your return policy. Try to be flexible on returns (as other competitors in the market are) but train your staff to ask about an in-store credit or gift card option first.

Gift Cards

If your store uses paper gift certificates instead of plastic gift cards, you’re going to want to switch stat. Retailers that switch from paper to plastic see an increase of sales from 35% to 50%. On top of that, 55% of customers have to go to a store twice to spend the full gift card amount, which is great news for your business.

Inspiration for this post came from 2020 Prep by Georgeanne Bender and Rich Kizer of Kizer and Bender. For more preparation ideas, visit their business expert page.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

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The importance of training

Good training gives your employees the tools to maximize their talents to better your business. Poor training sets your employees up for failure; nothing is worse than when a customer knows more about a product than the person getting paid to have that same knowledge (and more).

If you don’t already have a new hire orientation, that is the first thing you need to put on the top of your to-do list. The orientation should take place on the sales floor and cover all aspects of the business. The orientation should allow time for the new employee to put into practice what they’re learning. After giving them a task for an hour, go over how they’re doing and provide feedback. A simple complement can go a long way for a new employee’s confidence.

The next part of a training program should include giving your new employee a “buddy.” This buddy is another employee the new employee can go to for questions they may not feel comfortable asking the boss. Plus this buddy can give the new employee some company during their first lunch break and help them feel at home in their new role.

training

An often overlooked part of a training program is continuous training; never assume your veteran employees know everything or are doing everything correctly. Try to incentivize continuous training by paying for courses or purchasing books and videos for your employees. You can even go as far as giving bonuses or promotions for each level of continuing education your employees receive.

Last but not least, hold “jog” sessions that jog your employees memory about certain products or specials. A jog session can be given any time there is down time in a day and should be conducted at least once a week. These sessions will keep your employees on their A-game and ready for any question they may receive that day.

Not only will you benefit from solid training, but your employees will appreciate it as well. Providing a good foundation in a business begins with the people who make the team.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.