5 Things That Need to Change in Retail – Now

Retail is fast paced, dynamic and always changing, yet some things don’t change and they are seriously affecting the performance of a lot of stores. Yes, it’s time for a rant!!

These five things are all in our control, yet are an epidemic in retail today. Not only here in Australia but also in the US and Canada who suffer from the same issues. I was motivated to write this blog because of one I saw recently, where a Canadian training company, Graff Retail was lamenting about these issues. So thanks Kevin for prompting me to write this blog.

These issues have been around for years, I’m not sure why it’s so hard to change when we know so many things are constantly changing around us. So it’s time to get serious and make a stand on these five frustrating things:

  • Retailers are great at blaming something else for poor performance – I hear this all the time, it’s the economy, weather, government, competition etc etc. Yes I know things are challenging but if we spend all our time looking out the window for excuses then we are in big trouble. Let’s focus on what we can control, and there are a number of things in store that could be improved that will help us improve results. Tom O’Toole always says “If I have problems in my business it’s always within my own 4 walls.”
  • Retail isn’t viewed as a career – for a lot of people retail is seen as a stop gap, until something better comes along. If people can’t land that ideal job, they’ll end up in retail with the wrong attitude and this brings everything down. We need to make more effort to be proud of working in retail, I believe the skills required to be a successful store and regional manager are fantastic skills for life. So let’s be proud of who we are and what we do.
  • Staff turnover is way too high – leading on from point 2, it’s hard for people to stay if they don’t see a career but this is only part of the story. Poor leadership and training results in staff not feeling valued and just moving on to somewhere else, it’s too easy these days. Store managers have to step up when it comes to leading and motivating a team. We have to challenge our people, get to know what makes them tick and provide learning and other opportunities, all great reasons for them to stay.
  • It’s really hard just to get acknowledged and greeted when you first walk in – this is one of the biggest issues that is so easy to fix. How is it when retail is so tough this basis is constantly missed? I hear so many stories and experience this myself. Two staff members on, customers walk in, around and out without being acknowledged, No wonder they are heading online. This shows a fundamental lack of customer focus whereby tasks or someone’s weekend exploits takes precedence over customers.
  • Customers are still walking out with money in their pockets. Retailers, because of poor service are declining extra sales. Often through a lack of interest, little or no questions being asked, customers are buying only one item or worse still nothing. The staff has to focus on the customer’s needs, what they want the product for and create a solution around this. Great sales people spend more time listening than talking and their customers buy multiple items and love them for it. Isn’t this what every sales person should do?

So it’s time to eradicate these 5 frustrations from retail before it’s too late. Don’t be another retail statistic when you had the chance to fix these basics.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.