Retail Policies and Procedures

Businesses run on rules. Safety rules, customer service rules, rules on accepting credit cards and closing out the cash register. If you've launched a retail business, figuring out retail store rules and regulations for employees from scratch may seem baffling. With a few retail store policies examples, it should be doable.

Why Bother With Rules?

Whether you're hiring employees, ordering inventory or arranging financing, opening a store takes a lot of time. With everything you have to do, it can be tempting to skip drawing up rules or an employee handbook. Just launch and tell employees what to do and not do as you figure it out.

This is not the best choice. The policies and procedures you lay down not only cover practical stuff, like your hours of operation, but also help shape your business working conditions. It's worth taking time to think about what those conditions should be.

You'll have even less time to think about retail store rules and regulations for employees once the store opens. Schedule in the time to draw up your rules well before you have to start teaching them to your employees.

Basic Retail Store Policies Examples

The basic rules of store operation should be simple to spell out, but it's still worthwhile getting them down on paper.

Hours of operation: Employees need to know not only when the store is open to customers, but the hours for behind-the-scenes work such as closing out the till, getting change from the bank in the morning and finishing paperwork. If you expect employees to work holidays, as many stores do, they should know that too.

Security rules: When do employees make bank deposits? At what point do they take money out of the till and place it in the store safe? Do they have to undergo a bag check before they leave the store, to prevent any shoplifting? If they spot a possible shoplifter should they confront him? These rules affect your bottom line directly.

Store cleaning. You want your store to look attractive and inviting to customers, which requires cleaning. Your landlord or a contractor may handle some of it, but other parts, such as restoring merchandise to order at the end of the day, will fall on your staff. Your policy handbook lets them know what their responsibilities are.

Employee conduct: How do you want your employees to treat each other? Is it okay if coworkers at your store start dating? How will you deal with harassment complaints? These retail store rules and regulations for employees are important not only to a healthy work environment but to staying within federal employment regulations.

Cash or Credit?

Your staff has to know which credit and debit cards your store accepts and whether you take personal checks. If you accept checks, what sort of ID do you require? Do you give cash back on credit or debit purchases? Convenience store policies and procedures, for example, typically require customers buying gas either use a credit card or prepay cash.

Store Rules for Customers

Customer service is the heart of retail. Your employees need to know the store rules for customers so that they don't promise more than they can deliver:

  • Do you gift-wrap?

  • If you sell clothing, do you make alterations?

  • Can employees special order merchandise you don't have on hand?

  • What are the rules on returns and gift exchanges? Are the rules different if the customer doesn't have a receipt? If you have a website, can customers return an online purchase?

  • How do you want employees to treat your customers? Should they greet them as soon as they enter or wait until the customer asks for help?

  • How much should employees know about what you have for sale and where to find it in the store?

  • How should employees handle angry or dissatisfied customers? 

References

Resources

About the Author

Fraser Sherman has written about every aspect of business: how to start one, how to keep one in the black, the best business structure, the details of financial statements. He's also run a couple of small businesses of his own. He lives in Durham NC with his awesome wife and two wonderful dogs. His website is frasersherman.com