Keeping It Simple – 10 Easy Ways To Improve Retail Results

Simple ways to improve retail performanceAs retail training consultants we are often asked to give advice on how retail owners and managers can become more effective.  Many of our clients are looking for “that one thing” that will fix their business, but in many cases there is no need for a “Big Fix”.  Instead, the top performing retailers often rely on simple and small actions to help them outperform the competition.  Let’s take a look at ten of these fundamental activities for retail leaders:


1. Take one of your employees out for a cup of coffee and spend some quality one-on-one time. Be sure and ask what you can do to improve the store and make it a more enjoyable place to work.  Also ask what type of retail training and development activities they would like to experience.

2. Watch and listen to your staff interact with customers.  Then give them feedback that includes three things they did well and one thing that they could improve upon.  Remember…People need to hear praise right alongside of constructive criticism.  Always end a feedback session by expressing your confidence and your appreciation for their efforts.

3. Create a fun one-day contest that involves the whole retail staff.  Make sure that is focuses on encouraging the behavior you are looking for.  Right behavior when coupled with right motivation and the right talent almost always yields the desired results.  One idea is to hand out “recognition dollars” every time you see a desired behavior.  If the store can achieve a minimu number of “dollars” you will buy pizza for the team tomorrow!

4. Just say “THANK YOU”!  Remember that your team members have a choice about where they work and retail employee turnover is very costly.  So show your sincere appreciation each and every day.

5. Spend 15 minutes working on your own personal retail training and development.  Whether it’s reading a book, checking out a trade journal, or completing an online retail course you should always be looking to improve your retail skills.  Expand your knowledge in leadership, recruiting and hiring, time management and more!

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6. Clean up your office and then clean up another area of the retail store.  Your team members will follow your example and ramp up their level of activity if they see you rolling up your sleeves and pitching in.  Plus, you can’t expect your employees to have spotless work spaces if you don’t!

7. Be the first one on line to do the dirty work!  It is amazing how much your retail staff will respect and look up to you when you lead by example!  Clean the bathroom, unload a truck, or mop the floor on occasion.

8. Get on the retail sales floor and interact with customers and your team!  After all, your products are sold and your profits are earned (and often lost) on the sales floor.  Endeavor to spend less than 10% of your time in the office or stockroom!  Assist customers and ask your retail team how you can help.  In between customers focus on retail customer service training and retail sales training by role playing and giving feedback.

9. Always look for small areas of improvement!  You can avoid most crises and major course corrections by making little changes each and every day.  Whether it is improving you visual imaging, fixing a broken process, improving your retail training, or changing a dead light bulb, it is the sum total of the little things that successful  retailers do that separates them from the pack.

10. Repeat the first nine things every day!

–          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