“The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity.” —Amelia Earhart
While this adage holds in all aspects of life, it’s even more relevant for new-age retail entrepreneurs.
The journey doesn’t end with the setting up of a store.
On the contrary, it only just begins.
To run a successful business operation, you need to develop an organized, well-thought-out policy and routine. This will ensure streamlined processes and seamless coordination among the team members.
This article has compiled a checklist of daily activities to help you navigate the turbulent waters of business and eCommerce.
The 9-Step Checklist for Retailers Starting in 2022
Strategic planning for startups continues to be relevant for running a store’s day-to-day operations.
The retailer can save a lot of his precious time and effort by identifying factors that would play a crucial role in executing the checklist.
Here are a few things to consider before creating a checklist.
- Look out for tasks that need to be completed daily. List them down in sequential order.
- Allot specific time for completion of each task. This may depend on the task complexity and how many people are working on that assignment at a given time.
- Assign staff members for each task based on their area of expertise and available time slots. It’s advisable to have at least two staff members opening and closing the store.
- Find out if there are any technical/physical challenges your staff may encounter while conducting the daily checks.
- Test your checklist frequently and update it regularly.
Now let’s take a look at what the checklist should contain.
Opening and closing of the store
How does a typical day at a retail outlet begin?
It begins with opening the store and waiting for customers to pour in, right?
There’s more to it than meets the eye. For example, the complexity of daily operations at a retail store depends on how the team plans and handles them.
The store manager, along with sales associates and cashiers, can brainstorm and develop a list of tasks to be carried out regularly.
Here are a few more benefits of an opening and closing checklist:
- Enhances the overall organization and execution capacity
- Improves communication between the staff members
- Enhances safety and security
- Allows you to save on costs
Unlike books, retail outlets are judged by their cover — their outward appearance.
You certainly will not wish your customers to be driven away by dull and messy spaces. So here’s a list of things to consider:
- Watch out for wet floors, walls, or ceilings. It could be due to faulty plumbing or a damaged AC.
- Dust off the window panes, shelves, and racks to present a squeaky clean retail space
- Ensure decent hygiene practices are in place in the changing rooms and restrooms
- If there’s any scope for improvement, make a note of it and discuss it with the cleaning staff.
- Clear out the day’s trash before closing for the day
Safety and security
It’s imperative to conduct daily security checks. This will ensure there are no lapses in safety and security measures.
A team of diligent staff can boost the safety standards of your business.
Begin the day by conducting a thorough security inspection. Look for anything odd or suspicious that may have happened the previous night.
Retail establishments serve as attractive targets for robbers, especially during the opening and closing times. It could be attributed to several factors, some of which are highlighted hereunder:
- Few employees are present in the store during those hours
- Customers are fewer in number around that time
- Retail businesses use cash registers
- The products on display can easily be picked up and sold off somewhere else
Given the risks posed by such miscreants, at least a few employees must be present in the store during opening and closing hours.
- Look for signs of a break-in through doors and windows
- Check if the alarm system is functioning properly
- Ensure all the alarms and CCTV cameras are working fine
- In case everything looks normal, enter the store and disarm the security system
- Unlock the doors only when the store is open to the public
- Check if any product is missing or has undergone tampering
Once you’ve dealt with the initial round of inspection, it’s time to focus on the electronics.
Before the store is opened for business, test the POS system. Ideally, the system should be reset before the shop is closed.
Confirm whether all hardware and software are working as expected. This can be achieved by switching on the POS hardware and software to check for signs of tampering.
Many customers opt for online purchase order forms. Once the system restarts, you must ensure these forms are available in the online portal.
Ensure the systems are backed by sophisticated IT managed services. That’s how you’ll protect business data from malicious cyber attacks. Verify whether the cash registers are balanced.
Moreover, there should be sufficient cash to give as a change to shoppers who prefer paying by cash. Finally, conduct a quick round of testing for electronic equipment such as air-conditioners, TVs, and sound systems.
The enticing displays, elegant mannequins, dramatic discount banners, and colorful trolleys go a long way in creating an aesthetically pleasing space.
In the post-Covid era, customers can buy from several eCommerce platforms. Yet, the unmatched charm of retail stores continues to draw in buyers. So, here’s how you should go about decking up the merchandise section.
- Find out if the products are correctly placed on their designated shelves
- Check for defective products, crumpled garments, or missing price tags
- Ensure mannequins are impeccably turned out
- Replace the damaged products with newer ones from the inventory before opening time
- Ensure the displays are in sync with the planogram
An enterprise cannot function without its employees. They’re a critical asset of any organization and should be treated like one.
Assemble your team in a designated area for a team huddle and a round of spirited pep talk. This will motivate them for a challenging day ahead.
Glance over the day’s schedule to reconfirm the shifts and duties assigned to each employee. You can utilize the ‘huddle time’ to convey necessary information that might be crucial for the store’s daily operations and in the long run.
At any given time, your store ought to have an optimal stock level. Therefore, perpetual Inventory Count is one of the essential tasks for setting up a counting schedule in your POS system.
Instead of counting them all at one go, it’s easier to choose specific products or specific store areas for counting.
The task can be implemented with the help of an inventory scanner or manual counts.
Cycle counting involves counting a small quantity of merchandise every day. However, it’s pretty effective in keeping track of the inventory regularly.
Offers & discounts
Aren’t we all attracted to great offers and discounts?
They act as incentives to shop a little more. So let your retail store be abuzz with enticing deals from time to time.
Here are a few suggestions that’ll make your store stand out from the rest.
- Carefully handle the promotional displays to make them appear vibrant and appealing.
- Strategic placements of discount signage to grab buyer’s attention
- Ensure the discount pricing matches the value mentioned in the POS system
- Rearrange the shelves to check for non-discounted products that have somehow got mixed up with the discounted ones
- Periodically check whether the directional signage is pointing in the correct direction
Review staff performances
Performance analysis provides an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and evolve as better professionals. You need to present a periodic evaluation of your team’s progress.
Talk to them about their strengths and weaknesses and help them overcome the hurdles. If they’ve recently encountered a challenging situation, you need to discuss how such situations can be avoided in the future.
If a customer has expressed disappointment with the service, have an honest conversation with your staff. This would help you understand the issue better.
Additionally, some of the employees may want to work different shifts. They may aspire to take on a different role. Hear them out.
Try to accommodate their concerns and career aspirations while carving out a success story for your retail store.
Always remember, no checklist is absolute.
In the fast-paced world of retail, business dynamics are changing rapidly. Therefore, it would make sense to embrace the uncertainties and utilize them to build a robust mechanism.
Such a flexible mindset would allow you to understand your shopper’s pulse better. Then, prepare yourself and your staff to handle changes in the checklist, catering to market fluctuations and the customers’ altered needs and demands.
Jim Rohn once said, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”
A dedicated retailer takes matters into his own hands instead of leaving them to chance. They recognize how our small actions contribute to a bigger goal.
The power of cultivating good habits cannot be underestimated.
The retail checklists play a crucial role in shaping those habits and helping the business grow.
After all, there’s no better way to live your day than by doing the right things the right way.