Are staff shortages affecting retail sales?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from The Retail Doctor’s Blog.
Stores that were designed to run on six employees are now limping along on two. How do store operations personnel know when they’ve cut past the fat and into the very muscle and bone of their retail operations?
Here, a few signals:
- How long do customers have to wait to pay? At most grocery stores, policies call for opening another register when three or more shoppers are in line. For smaller stores, three could feel like an eternity. The first step is training the crew on how to hustle when it is busy and then look at adding additional staff.
- Do employees have enough time to add on to every sale or are they just trying to get customers out the door? Do a POS report and look at the average number of items per sale. If employees have been trained to add on to every sale, the number should rise — especially over the holidays. If it doesn’t, listen to what an employee says while they bring someone to the cashier. If they’re constantly running around trying to do the work of three people, customer service, the ability to build a sale and the potential to make the store a great place to work all suffer.
- If sales are down, how do employee hours over this last three months compare to the average of the same period last year? This is a bit more advanced but helps determine if the store has been running low on employees for a long time. Then you have to see which came first: lower sales due to fewer employees or fewer employees due to lower sales. If it’s too few employees, you’re just a slower and more expensive version of your online competitors.
- How often are you having to call associates to work extra shifts because you’re slammed? If you’re desperately holding on to employees in this tight labor market, you have no room for error if you get slammed or when one calls in sick; you’re constantly trying to plug the leak.
- How to Determine If Running Your Store Employees Too Lean Is Affecting Retail Sales – The Retail Doctor
- Here’s the Employee Scheduling Secret to Building Your Retail Sales – The Retail Doctor
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What signs do customers see when stores are understaffed? What suggestions would you add to those in the article for improving staffing efficiency?