Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Well I said lets evaluate your store. The one thing we want to do is compare your store to the competition. Why do they go in their stores? The Store in question is a small general merchandise store. About one third is clothing. He sells at competitive prices, but doesn't specialize in any one area.
His competition in the same shopping center:
- Major Supermarket
- Dollar Tree
- Card and gift shop
- Food Shops
- Post Office
- Rite Aid
- Another Supermarket
- Toys R Us Express
- Varies clothing and other stores
I can buy cleaning supplies in the supermarket. I can get cheap items in Dollar Tree. Get greeting cards at CVS. By the time I do my other shopping I already bought everything sold in the general store except clothing. But, because there is a wide range of clothing stores nearby, I'm less likely to shop in a small general store.
So my answer is this is not the right location for a small general merchandise store. Either move the store or change what you sell. If the rent is so good, the foot traffic is there. Then Change what you sell to something that people aren't going to get nearby.
What items sell the best?
His answer was gadgets, small impulse items, toys, small electronics. I said well that your answer. Specialize on those items. Sell off the rest of your stock and slowly turn your store into a gadget selling store.
Keep your price range better than a dollar but not too high. You want items they cant buy in the supermarket and better quality than the Dollar store. Now if people want a decent charger for their phone, either they come into your for it or have to drive down the block. By changing what he sells he will cut down on the local competition.
People too often open a retail store selling what they want to buy. And then think its what everyone else will want. Sam Walton the founder of Walmart said that if you want to compete with Walmart you have to specialize. General merchandise stores sell a little of everything. Your choices are limited. If your want model cars, your only going to find a few choices in a general store. Where as a hobby shop may have dozens of choices.
If your set on owning a general merchandise retail store, I suggest you find the right location. Somewhere where people don't have a local store. If People have to drive a half hour to get to your competitor than that's the right spot.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
- Small Privately owned dollar or dollar plus stores
- Dollar Tree
- Family Dollar
- Privately owned Drug Stores
- Small Card stores
- Convenience stores
- Gift Shops
- Small privately owned Super Markets
- Small Privately owned Hardware Stores
- Any store with few employees
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Fred has been finding empty packages all over his store for months now. But he never seem to ever see the people stealing all his merchandise.
That's because shoplifters pay more attention to what he was doing, then he does to them.
But, Fred doesn't know who is stealing from his store. So what is he supposed to do?
The most common reason shoplifters steal from a retail shop, is because they can. No one in paying any attention them.
In my current position I have supermarket customers coming up to me looking for help. I see the fustration on thier face when I tell them I don't work there. They all say the same thing. "Nobody works here", " I can't find anyone".
I see employees everywhere. As a consultant it's my job. But, customers shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get some help.
Shoplifters take advantage of this void in customer service. Everyone is busy doing thier job and no one is concerned with the customer down aisle 5.
The best defense against shoplifting is a strong offense of GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE !
Be aware of and greet every customer that walks in the door. A large store should have a door greeter or security guard up front. A small store should use a door chime and have the cashier's in sight of the doors at all times.
Watch your customers you will start to see things. You see the customers who are walking out just because they can't find what they want, even though it's there.
You will also see the Customers hiding in the back always looking to see who's watching.
A real shoplifter will get annoyed when you watch them. Annoy them enough they will leave. A real customer will appreciate you helping them and may even buy more.
A trick to use when your overwhelmed with too many customers to watch. Page security!
See who looks concerned or walks out.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
It doesn't matter if you're from New York or California, from Boston or Miami.
Small stores are easier than large stores to shoplift from.
Small retail stores with few employees are easier to go under the radar when shoplifting. If your the manager of a small store it is your responsibility for shrink control. Train your employees about all forms of shoplifting.
Don't ever forget who is the number one shoplifter in small retail stores. The employees are the biggest shoplifters stealing a lot more than a candy bar.
Professional Shoplifters are more likely to pick a small family owned supermarket before stealing from a large chain supermarket. why? Because even with a camera everywhere, its less likely anyone is paying attention.
I worked for a small 14 store chain of closeout stores. One night after inventory the district manager put together A bag painting supplies. He explained they were painting the office. There was no accounting of the merchandise and the store manager didn't question it.
Same store I caught a teenage neighbor of the owner stealing from the register. She was smart she didn't steal directly from the store. What she did was give the customers the wrong change. when no one was looking she would take money out of the cash Register. I caught her by watching for signs of a their and doing an audit. Because it was a small company and she was a friend if the owner, nobody seemed to care. "Well she wasn't stealing from the company", they said.
Today that company is out of Business. Control Shrink or shrink will control you. I'm pretty sure it wasn't lack of sales or a low gross margin that killed that company. More likely it was Poor Management.
If your reading this blog you are either a retail manager or a thief. Read my past posts and learn how to stop shrink. Then teach what you have learned. Pass on this blog to your fellow employees.
Think Shrink !
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Monday, August 8, 2016
Don sweat the small stuff. Their are more important things to worrie about. I'm not saying forget em. I'm a big fan in teaching and learning. It's then ideas of how to manage that I try to teach hear. Anyone who thinks that pointing out little mistakes in a purely negative way, does not make a good manager.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Taking inventory is the process of counting all the merchandise to see the total value available for sale.
If you keep good records, you should know how much inventory is supposed to be on hand at any one time. Buy merchandise, you add it to your inventory. Sell merchandise and you subtract it from inventory.
So why take an Inventory?
Taking an actual physical inventory of all the goods in your shop will tell you if anything is missing. If you have more merchandise than you expect to have you have a surplus. If you have less merchandise you have a shrink.
Shrink means that your on hand inventory is less than you expect it to be. It shrunk! So what causes it to shrink?
- Bad record keeping counts for a large amount of shrink in small retail stores. How can you expect to know exactly how much merchandise you have on hand if you don't keep good records.
- Honest mistakes can cause shrink. Always double check what you received equals what you paid for it. Make sure your pricing the items correctly.
- Damages can cause shrink too. Many employees just throw out damaged merchandise. Keeping records of your damages can be more helpful than just keeping tabs on your inventory. By keeping a list of damages you know, what is getting damaged, what's coming in damaged, when damages might be happening. Not keep records it just goes in to one category of missing merchandise or shrink. Plus, there are ways to get some money out of damages, so they are not a complete loss.
- Theft is the main cause of shrinkage of inventory.
- Known theft, those empty packages you find. Keeping track of those empty packages helps you know where problem are between physical inventories.
- Unknown theft usually counts for the largest portion of shrink, both internal (employee) and external (customer).
- Fred owns a small card, candy and gift shop. A few days a week his daughter works the closing shift after school. He allows her to have a soda and snack on any open candy as a perk to the job. Being young she doesn't think it's a problem to open a bag of candy when damaged bags are not available. The other employees see this and think its ok for them too. Fred not being there during the closing shift doesn't know the employees are opening and eating the candy. He thinks the customers are opening the candy. Either way, by not keeping track of the amount of candy the employees are eating, its assumed to be shrink when inventory is taken. The big question is how much money is it costing you? Do you want to allow this perk? If so keep track of it and list it in your books as an employee perk. Or, it just gets mixed in one larger number of unknown shrink at inventory.
- Fred's wife come to the store and does her shopping right off the shelf. If this merchandise is not recorded, you will never know what was stolen or just taken for personal use. Other employees even family members may see this and just think its ok to do same. Without keeping records, you may never know.
- Fred ordered 48 pieces of wrapping paper for .50 cents each. He usually sells it for $1.00 each. Fred didn't open the box and count it before it went on the shelf. If he did he would of know that only 36 pieces of wrapping paper came in. The bill comes listed as 48 pieces. Fred pays it thinking its correct. His daughter mistakenly forgets to change the price in the marking gun and puts a sticker of .89 cents on them. $48 in merchandise went into inventory(from the bill). $32 worth of merchandise was sold (through the register), causing a $16 in shrink.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Every township in every county in every state in every country have different rules. So where do you find out the rules before you open a retail store.
The town or county clerks office in which you want to open your store will know exactly what kind of business permits you will need depending on what kind of business you want to open.
You will need to have a state sales tax permit. This tells the state you will be collecting sales tax. Usually sales taxes are paid quarterly. You have to file even if you had no sales in the quarter. If you don't you just might get a bill for estimated sales tax along with a penalty. The state assumes your doing business until you tell them otherwise.
If you are selling food you may need a business permit and a health department permit. Alcohol, Tobacco products, fireworks, and other fire arms all need special permits.
Your local building department and or fire marshal may require to inspect the building before you open.
In New York State to drive an Ice Cream Truck you need the following permits and licences.
- Drivers Licence from the Motor Vehicle Dept.(D.M.V.).
- A mobile food vendors permit from the local town clerk.
- A NYS sales tax certificate.
- The truck needs a DMV registration (license plate).
- A DMV Inspection sticker.
- A county health department permit.
- If you use a unique name for your business you need to licence that too with the county clerk.
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Planning on opening your first retail store? Well I hope you are!
Because if you fail to plan, your just planning to fail!
Many retail store managers go into business for themselves. Only a few have the experience to be successful in the retail business world.
If your planning to open your first retail store or your planning on expanding to two or more retail stores, you need to make a plan. Financial planning is used for banks to see if your planning for success in that retail business venture. But every thing you do should be planned out. Plans don't always work. Sometimes you need to change plans. But winging it rarely works out well. Unless you have won the lottery and can just throw money around, you need a plan. Start with an outline and add details as you do your research.
What do you need to plan for before you can open your first small business retail store? The following is an outlined list of things you need to plan before opening your first retail shop.
- What would you like to sell?
- What retail experience do you have?
- Location matters in what you sell in your store.
- What size store?
- Buy a franchise or start from scratch?
- How much money do you need to open and run my business?
- How much do you have?
- should you share the cost with a partner?
- Where do you get financing for a new retail store?
- What size?
- Who are my customers?
- Who is my competition?
- How do I layout my retail store?
- How much merchandise do I need?
- What kind of fixtures do I need?
- What is construction of my store going to cost?
- What is a POS system?
- What kind of POS system do I need?
- How much is it going to cost for a good retail POS System.
- What kind of merchandise am I selling in my small retail store?
- Where do I get merchandise to sell in my store?
- How much merchandise do I need to start?
- What are the goods going to cost?
- What price do I sell the merchandise for?
- How do I keep track of Inventory?
- Who's working in the store and doing what?
- Human Resource Manual
- Store Operation Manual
- Merchandising Manual
- Employee handbook
- Cashier training handbook and guide
- Who's doing all the paperwork, payroll, and bills?
- Where am I doing the store banking?
- Who's doing the buying and pricing of the merchandise?
- Where am I doing my banking?
- Advertising and promotions.
- Signs, both outside and inside the store.
- Website and Social Media.
- How to tie it all together.
- Go back to #1. start over and tweak the plan.