Operational procedures are vital to the business of running a retail store. Procedures typically cover all activities in the store, from sales transactions to customer support to inventory. According to The Friedman Group, following standard operating procedures increases sales, boosts worker productivity and enhances a store's image.
Retail stores use some type of business software or point-of-sale system to track sales. This allows managers to determine what products are selling well and helps them track inventory, dollars sold through each cash register and inventory control tags on valuable merchandise. Retailers often use this electronic information to generate product orders when replenishing stock levels.
Inventory management procedures pertain to the handling of products in a store. These procedures include receipt of inventory by verifying that each product is in the order as quoted; counting of inventory each week; restricting access to valuable inventory using locked cabinets; and installing cameras or mirrors to limit or prohibit theft.
Retailers use marketing strategies to draw customers into the store and entice them to purchase goods or services. Marketing tools include radio, newspaper and television advertisements; special pricing; in-store promotions; and signs outside the store to attract buyers.
Employees are typically a large expense for retailers. Companies often devise schedules to ensure enough workers are available to cover the business’ needs without increasing operating costs. Retailers sometimes hire younger people willing to work for lower wages to save the company money. Relying on a large group of hourly employees also helps ensure the company does not have to pay overtime.
Some retailers keep detailed records of their customers through customer reward cards. Data received through the reward cards at the register may be used to offer promotions or discounts and can help the retailer identify spending trends. If retailers notice that some items are bought in pairs or groups, they may offer promotions on top-sellers to drive up business.
Retailers usually train new hires in groups because it is more cost effective than training one person at a time. Training typically covers register and checkout procedures, customer service and stocking shelves. Safety issues and what to do in case of a robbery are also discussed.