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Eliminate the "Oops" Moments In Your Retail Store

Jun 16, 2008
Have you ever encountered the "Oops" situation in your retail store? Ever said "Oops" when the customer received a damaged or non-working product, when the price rang up incorrectly, when the bonus wasn't included in an employee's check, or when a quarterly insurance payment was missed? We have all experienced an "Oops" situation, and we know how that feels as well as what it costs. Using checklists can help to reduce the number of "Oops" moments.

As a retailer, you're faced with managing a number of areas that directly contribute to your profitability, including sales, operations, inventory, marketing, administration, and personnel. By managing each of these areas carefully and attentively, you can derive maximum profits out of each. Effectively using checklists can help you better serve customers, process sales, direct and control operations, manage costs, and achieve increased profitability.

Checklists are a key component of a successful retail business operation. Utilizing checklists leads to higher profit, more efficient and productive operations, satisfied customers, and a better quality of life for you and your employees. Let's take a look at some of the major functional areas of a retail operation and see how checklists can be applied to improve overall profitability.

Sales: Writing and recording sales can often be a source of errors and mistakes such as information omission, incorrect data, inexact calculations, return processing errors, inaccurate product numbers or payment mistakes. Each of these errors and mistakes can be reduced, if not eliminated, through the use of carefully designed checklists. Using a checklist will serve as a reminder to follow all procedural steps and ensure conformity with your business practices and policies for all your employees.

Operations: Everything required to run the store and not mentioned elsewhere, is typically called operations. This includes accounting, advertising, banking, budgeting, cleaning, opening and closing, handling money, ordering products and supplies, and reporting. Using checklists is important to ensure this work will be done in the correct manner and that nothing will be missed. Checklists can be especially useful in planning your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual To Do lists. When you must trust someone else to complete the work in your absence, a well designed checklist ensures all the work will get done and in the correct manner.

Inventory: Paying close attention to inventory means controlling costs and having enough products on the shelf to sell. Excess inventory has a carrying cost associated with it while no inventory means lost or delayed sales. Checklists can help you manage inventory, record stock items, receive shipments, and re-order; all necessary functions to maximize sales.

Employees: Turnover is an ever-present issue in the retail business as are the numerous government reports and regulations regarding employment. Checklists can be utilized to minimize time spent on reporting, maintaining files, hiring and training new employees, and dismissing employees. Doing it correctly and efficiently avoids problems later, problems that can be time consuming and costly.

Using checklists in your retail store gives you the ability to operate productively and efficiently, keep costs low, and make a profit. Checklists can be used in all facets of a retail operation, helping to organize tasks, manage time, operate more efficiently, avoid excess costs and wasteful ways, and ensure compliance with laws, policies and procedures. Checklists can be developed internally, can be purchased through a commercial source, or purchased and modified to meet your specific requirements. Purchasing a professionally designed checklist that has been tested by many other retailers can save you a lot of time and money and is an option that should be considered.
About the Author
Jim O'Donnell of Jaguar Consulting, Inc. in Kingston, NH provides a wide array of marketing and business development services for small business and has developed a series of Business Checklists designed to help small business owners achieve a higher level of growth and profitability. He can be reached at (603) 642-8338, JimODonnell@JaguarConsulting.com, or http://WWW.Checklists4Business.com to review all checklists that are currently available.
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