Retail 101

My first “real” job was in a retail store: running a register, stocking, cleaning shelves, picking up cigarettes outside. Anything it took to keep the store cleaned and maintained to serve our customers.

I quickly rose through the ranks; running the same store at the age of 17 over the summer school break. I had to ensure someone was over 18 on staff to sell alcohol, because the “manager was too young”.

As I’ve grown in retail through multiple roles the term “Retail 101” became a popular phrase.

Retail 101, in the course you will learn the basics it takes to run a retail location:

  • Stocked shelves
  • Clean floors
  • Clean restrooms
  • Replace broken fixtures and light bulbs
  • Warm greeting
  • Fast checkout
  • Make sure someone is over 18 to sell alcohol…

I’ve worked with countless field leaders and we can all agree you know a well-run store when you walk into it. “You almost feel it.” As one SVP of Operations told me.

Forbes posted an interesting article that reminded me of the same issue, “Retail 101”, with some interesting facts to why retail is struggling today. Sometime “Retail 101” is not the problem. These issues go straight to the top, well above the operations team. The retail space continues to be pressured with cost controls:

  • Marketing spends to acquire new customers is going up
  • Margins are thinning
  • Minimum wages or other labor law compliance
  • Trying to control costs

Many retailers turn to their workforce to manage these costs. At times eroding the capability to perform “Retail 101”. The good ones will find tasks they can remove from a store, but even in those cases it is hard to complete the basics. I’ve seen where the business decided to stop cleaning the floors seven days a week, three is good enough. The worst offenders don’t give options they just hold the store to a number.

This why I love working in this space and especially with Connors Group. Instead of cutting things to the bone and ultimately ending up like one of the closing retailers. Let’s be thoughtful of what your customer expects in their shopping experience. Let’s remove those task that don’t bring value, help control costs, but more importantly find things that increase revenue.

Let’s be thoughtful and ensure our operations is passing Retail 101 with an A+

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Wes Stanfield has over 20 years’ experience in Retail Operations, HR, Finance and IT. Managing Fortune 500 retail stores before he graduated high school, Wes has been in every role imaginable throughout a Retail organization. He is now a Senior Director at Connors Group overseeing our Workforce Optimization Team responsible for software. Wes uses his wealth of experiences across his career to helping clients get the best innovative results out of their workforce. He can be reached at [email protected]

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