Attention Retailers! How to Start Your Year Off on the Right Foot

Did you know that the month of January is named for the Roman god Janus?  He was the god of beginnings and transitions and he had two faces – one that looked back and another that looked forward.

Just like Janus, you should be looking back at last year’s results in order to determine what worked and what initiatives did not drive an ROI.  At the same time you need to be establishing your goals and your plan for improving results for the year ahead. 

Conduct a Retail Business Review to Discover Opportunities

This past year your business may have grown, remained flat, or taken a step backwards.  No matter what your results, conducting a business review will help you to uncover new opportunities.  Here are some ways to get started:

    1. Review each line of the P&L looking for opportunities.  This includes looking at revenue producing products and services along with expense categories and inventory management.

    2. Examine your product position.  Including asking your retail sales associates what new products they feel could have resulted in additional revenue opportunities as well as identifying out-of-stocks, overstocks and slow movers

    3. Conduct personnel reviews by score-carding and ranking your team members in 5-10 key results categories.  Then divide your team into thirds (top performers, up-and-comers, and under performers) and make a plan to take action to help them achieve more in the new year.

    4. Review your recruiting, hiring, and retail training programs for their effectiveness.  This includes looking at things like employee turnover and your ability to get new retail employees off to a faster start or to improve their product knowledge.

   5. Evaluate your marketing programs.  Did you invest in new signage, direct mail, social marketing, or viral marketing programs?  What was the ROI on these programs?  How did they impact foot traffic or conversion rate?

Do not Procrastinate in Making and Executing Your Plan

Virtually every week we receive calls from retailers who know what they need to do, but are struggling with getting their plans off the ground.  Here are some tips to help you get off to a fast start and to stay on track:

1.       Start now.  Every week, month or quarter that you fail to execute results in less revenue, higher costs, or wasted cash flow.


2.       Track results.  Measure the impact of your marketing spending, new products, expense control programs, and recruiting practices.  If you see positive results, keep going…if not, reevaluate your plan


3.       Invest more than you cut.  Whether it is investing in new products, marketing programs, incentive programs, or in retail sales training opportunities, you will get more results in the long term from investment than from cutting cost.


4.       Consider outsourcing.  Everyone cannot be good at everything.  Whether it is moving to a vendor-managed inventory program or an outsourced retail training course, allowing expert vendors to help you lets you stay focused on what you do best.

Here’s to a great and productive new year!  If you want to learn more about how you can improve your results, contact us for a free one-hour consultation!

–          David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group.  As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he has hired, trained, and performance managed thousands of retail sales representatives and retail managers.  You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at