Retail Store Operations – 5 Tips To Stop Shoplifting

Tis the season… for shoplifting. All retail store operations are in the same boat, and it’s an all year problem. There are ways to stop shoplifting. Here are a few.

Keep valuables close to registers

First, place items that are the most valuable close to the registers. Since Retail Store Operations - 5 Tips To Stop Shopliftingthat’s the place in the store where you and your staff spend the most time, it makes sense to keep the most valuable items there where you can keep an eye on them. At the very least, keeping items in clear view, meaning don’t put them in a corner or an area of the store where cover is provided will help stop shoplifting in your store.

Train your employees

Next, train your employees about what to look for when spotting shoplifters. It has to be said, and for legal reasons, DO NOT TELL THEM TO LOOK AT RACE OR NATIONALITY. That can get you in real hot water. Instead look at common shoplifting habits, like being nervous, not making eye contact, wandering around aisles, looking around constantly, leaving the store and returning again, lingering in certain locations and watching employees or looking up at surveillance cameras.

Keep the store clean and organized

Here’s another reason to give your employees to keep the store clean and organized: loss prevention. Cluttered, disorganized stores provide a much easier place to shoplift. It also makes it harder to see when something has been stolen. Also encourage your employees to walk around our retail store often and all over the place. Also be sure to have a store that is adequately staffed.


Keep the lines of communication open between staff and other store owners. Talk with other retail store owners about any suspicious behaviors they might have witnessed. Have your employees keep logs of suspicious behaviors to share with each other. Again, caution them about how they describe people. Make the logs something that helps, not something that comes back to bite you in the butt. Follow these ideas to stop shoplifting in your retail store.

Top Three Mobile Apps For Retail Comparisons

Everyone loves the idea of getting the best deal, but do you know for sure you’re getting it? Well, with smart phones and retail comparison mobile apps, you can know. Like everything else, some apps are better than others. Here are the top three.

Google Shopper

Top Three Mobile Apps For Retail Comparisons This mobile app is available on iOS and Android. Google Shopper lets you into the world of shopping via Google, including Google’s local offers, daily deals, and more importantly, product search and comparison shopping via Google Shopping.

You can scan a barcode, say a product name or even scan the covers of books, magazines, and other media to search Google’s database for the product. Yes, Google’s database. Google will let you know if it is available at one of Google’s partner retailers, along with price, ratings, reviews, and specifications. It’s online and local all in one.


This mobile app is available on iOS, Android and WP7. ShopSavvy was one of the first price comparison apps and it’s still one of the best. Searching is easily done by scanning the barcode of a product to search. It will show you prices online and at other brick-and-mortar retailers. ShopSavvy will also provide you with a “wallet” with cash so you can quickly purchase directly through the app. ShopSavvy will even include estimates of shipping prices from the retailers listed so you know the total price. It also lets you and other users rate products and retailers.


This mobile app is available on iOS and Android. PriceGrabber is probably the most well known comparison app. It focuses on online retailers, but when you’re standing in a store looking at something and want to know if it’s cheaper online, no one has more information than PriceGrabber. It has millions of products in its database and thousands of online retailers.

So try one or all of these apps and be confident while holiday shopping that you did get the best price!

Do Most Consumers Want to Use Their Phones to Pay?

Do you use your phone to pay for purchases at a retailer? 40% of consumers in North America do. Mobile payments are taking off and why not? It’s easy for the consumer and another way for business retailers to make things easier for their customers.

Mobile Payments for Convenience

Do Most Consumers Want to Use Their Phones to Pay? Before mobile payments, consumers could shop, compare prices and make a decision about a product, all using their mobile devices, but payment still had to be done in a much more traditional manner. Now, that’s changed.

Most people are all about making their lives more convenient and mobile payments do just that. Accenture conducted a survey in August that studied the payment behavior of 4,000 people. The respondents were equally men and women, and also were comprised of 3,400 Americans and 500 Canadians.

What the Survey Found

The survey found a few interesting things. First, they study found that by 2020, mobile payment use is expected to increase 10 percentage points while cash transactions fall 12 percentage points. So who will be the ones using it? Millennials and high-income consumers (meaning households with an income of at least $150,000) are the highest demographic using it already. 52% of Millennials and 55% of high-income consumers currently do so. 13% of Millennials and 19% of high-income respondents use their mobile devices to make a payment at least weekly. 26% of Millennials and 32% of high-income consumers expect to do so by 2020.

Why Not Mobile Payments

What the survey also found was that among the 60% who don’t use mobile payments, 57% said they don’t because security concerns stopped them and 45% said privacy concerns stopped them. 38% said if they had more information they would consider using mobile payments.

The Coming Thing

Mobile payments are the coming thing, and once the concerns of those who don’t use them are addressed, it will become the norm in paying for products and services. It makes sense, and cents for retailers. Encouraging your customers to get on board will be a great way to increase your business.

Can Retail Catch Up with Hospitality Apps Like Outback’s Click Thru Seating?

Can Retail Catch Up with Hospitality Apps Like Outback's Click Thru Seating?Have you seen the commercials for it yet? You know, the ones about Outback Steakhouse’s click thru seating app? It’s a great hospitality app. Now, let’s take a look at ways that retail world might be able to take a page from its functionality.

A Cool App

Let’s look at Outback’s app first.The Outback app allows dining patrons to use it to do several things. It offers mobile access to data in real time about things like wait time for tables to making reservations for a table. The app lets customers sign up for a seating time, and if they are running late, it allows them to change the time slot. That means they don’t lose their table if they are late, and frees up the first slot for others more quickly. The app benefits everyone from customers to restaurant staff. Customers won’t get dropped from wait lists or wait for prolonged periods of time. Hosts have less lost time in waiting for people who don’t show. The app also has offers for Outback diners to use when dining.

What About Retail Apps?

What can we learn about this as retailers? Well, it comes down to service. This app offers service and control to the customer. How often do your customers wait in long lines to check out or receive service? How happy would your customers be if they could grab an app that lets them set a time to walk in and get immediate help buying a phone or tablet, or get service on their account? What about changing the time if they get hung up? What would that mean for your staff? Can you imagine how much better they could manage their time?

Time’s “A-Wasting”

The question is, do you wait and play retail app catch up? Time’s “a-wasting” and your competitors may just be working on an app for retail just like yours. Don’t wait. It is time now to design a retail app for your customers to get better service from you!

Retail Sales – Providing A Consistent Customer Experience

One of the ways to help guarantee success in retail sales is to provide a consistent customer experience. The people who do this for you are your employees, since they are the people who represent your business. Providing them with consistent customer service training is important.

Good Communication

Retail Sales - Providing A Consistent Customer Experience Since communication is the best way to provide that consistent customer experience, you need to consider a few things. First, do your employees deliver consistent, reliable information? Does it help your business to have your customers get contradictory information? Of course not.

Good Training

Customers tend to get upset when one employee tells them one thing and another employee tells them differently. So when you’re training your employees, be sure to address things like the typical questions that customers ask, different kinds of situations that come up and how to handle it, and what to do if you get questions and you don’t have the answers. Also train them on how to handle angry customers.

One thing that we have found be a great benefit is to have an in-store or cross-store knowledge base. Having all the answers either online or in a service manual will guarantee that you, as the business owner or manager, are directing the conversation instead of having mavericks out there saying anything that comes to mind.

Focus on Customers

Next, ask yourself do your employees look for ways to be friendly? Are they likeable? Do they compliment customers? Do they make eye contact with them? Do they focus on the customer’s needs instead of their own? You may think you know what the customer needs, and maybe you’re right, but if you impose your will on them are you really serving them?

Customer Service

Do your employees understand that your customer service policies are what keeps your business in business? The best way to do that is to make sure you are completely up front about your attitude about customer service. Your employees should be able to state, chapter and verse, your customer service policies. Simply put, they need to make your customers happy, period.


Technology store mystery shoppingMystery Shopping Programs

The best way to judge how your customer service is working is to “check in” when you are not around. Having a professional Mystery Shopping Company give you a report on what happens when you are not around is vital to your success. puts vital information right at your fingertips. We’re the secret shopping specialists for the technology retail sector – developing and managing turnkey programs for retailers, wireless carriers, franchise companies and manufacturers.

Retail Store Operations – How Managing Employee Costs Can Help the Bottom Line

Retail Store Operations - How Managing Employee Costs Can Help the Bottom LineThe busy time of year for retail store operations is right around the corner. Employee costs are always on top of the list of worries, so how can you staff your store adequately and keep your bottom line healthy? Outsourced employees.

Outsourcing Employees

Outsourcing employees for the holidays is a great way to have enough staff in the store, but keep your costs low.

Companies like Retail Business Development can provide you with well trained staff that are familiar with the hottest and newest technology. You have trained people taking care of customer’s questions and concerns, and your well trained employees doing the job you trained them to do. Do things like plan longer hours for the holidays. Have special events for your best customers. All the things that you might have decided to nix because of the costs of paying employees to staff the events. Suddenly the benefits of these extras will outweigh the costs.

Can You See Your Bottom Line Growing?

Retail, telecommunications, mall speciality retail outsourcingOutsourcing will also save you money in employee costs. How? You know that hiring new employees costs you a lot of money. Salary, benefits and training costs all add up quickly. But, if you use outsourced employees, all of those costs are the responsibility of someone else. You pay the company, like RBD, who provides the staff.

RBD is responsible for all the other employment costs. Things like payroll taxes, health insurance costs and other benefits that are usually associated with hiring staff. You get the staff you need, the hours covered and pay a set fee. Win/win for you!

The holidays are coming, so make your plans now to beef up your store staffing by outsourcing employees. Your bottom line will thank you!

Are Retailers Using Technology Like RFID, Apps and Personalization Enough?

Online retailers have been taking advantage of technology for years: using things like RFID, apps, personalization and more. Brick and mortar stores have been slower to use the same, but that is changing.

Are Retailers Using Technology Like RFID, Apps and Personalization Enough?So how are some of these technologies being used?

Let’s start with personalization and apps. Retailers these days have to make the shopping experience more personalized. In person that’s more easily said than done, so some retail outlest are trying to use apps to make it happen. Basically, the apps can do a few things. One type can scan barcodes or QR codes as people shop to give them more information, build lists or help them find other items that can complement a purchase. Another kind of app does things like help find coupons or instant savings as they shop.

Another kind of technology is RFID. This also helps with personalization, but it does more. It helps track a lot of information for the retailer. This helps them market items, find information to assist customers and track merchandise. RFID allows information about the product to be gathered, such as how long it stays in stock, how it moves around the store, who purchases it and even if there are ways to help with the purchase (such as rebates, etc.).

Chip-and-PIN technology is being used for credit and debit cards in store. It uses a microchip instead of a magnetic strip on credit or debit cards and can help consumers and retailers keep track of a lot more information. The chips can store customer loyalty and rewards programs, making the huge stack of separate “store cards” a thing of the past. They are also harder to breach for data, so are safer for consumers and stores alike.

Retail Sales Training – You Had Me at Your Window Display

Getting customers into your store is the key to successful retail sales. If people don’t come in, all the sales training in the world won’t help. Having effective window displays is the key to getting people in the door.

Retail Sales Training - You Had Me at Your Window DisplayThe exterior of your store is the first thing that attracts people passing by. How attractive your window displays are is the key to having a great exterior. Huge department stores have professionals with degrees in design to plan and implement their windows. Obviously a small retailer doesn’t have the payroll to hire a professional. It is very easy to miss the mark and make a window that sends people running instead of beckoning them inside.

First rule of thumb is don’t go overboard. As they say, less is more. Clutter is much less appealing and means that the things you are trying to feature in the window will be overwhelmed. So make one or two items or a specific brand the focal point and run with that.

Always make sure you have good lighting. If people can’t see what’s in there from at least across the street, they won’t cross to find out. When arranging items use height as well as breadth. Varying heights are eye catching. Be creative too. Make displays fun, attractive or compelling but keep it all within your theme. Obvious themes are upcoming holidays or back to school, etc. Also use backdrops. They accomplish two things. First, they can create drama or create a background for your theme and two, they block out the store itself from the window. This will help keep the activity in the store from distracting from the display.

Lastly, make sure you have enough stock for what you are displaying. Nothing is more annoying to customers than to go into a store excited to buy something and then find you are out of stock!

Retail Operations – Training Your Employees Should Never Fall Through The Cracks

Employee training should be the most important part of your retail operations. If you want your business to succeed it should be. In order to increase your bottom line, you need to increase sales. That means increasing the sales and technical knowledge of your staff.

Retail Operations - Training Your Employees Should Never Fall Through The CracksSales and technical training for your staff should fit your business. Use e-learning, distance training, onsite training or send the staff out. Whatever you need to do, do it. Spending money on training is investing money into your business. A well trained sales team will provide your customers with the knowledge they need to make the best buying decision for them. A well trained sales team will positively impact your business. In order to provide the best employee training you should provide training on a regular basis; ask vendors to provide training on new products; and make sure you are training yourself as well (i.e. “lead from the front”).

Employee training improves skills and knowledge. Before you think about firing a weak employee, train them. They may not be a bad employee, but just need more training. Overlooking training while allowing them to continue working will hurt your business. More importantly, training will boost the confidence of your staff. Remember too that employees need to be trained on store policy and paperwork as well. Both are also important parts of success for your business. If a salesperson can sell the moon, but not provide you with the paperwork you need to either complete the sales or track for post sale follow up, you have a problem. Dropping the ball post sale can be one way of ensuring customers are one shot deals instead of loyal customers.

Look over your training program. If you don’t have one, set one up. Employee training should never fall through the cracks. Set it up, make them go and reward employees who complete it. It’s that important to your business.

Retail Operations – Your Staff IS Your Biggest Point of Failure and Greatest Asset

In all retail operations, you staff is your biggest point of failure… and you greatest asset. The success of your business lies in the hands of the people you hire to sell to your customers. If they do it well, you thrive, but if they mess up consistently, they can ruin your business.

Retail Operations - Your Staff IS Your Biggest Point of Failure and Greatest AssetStaffing is more than just making sure you have adequate staff on hand to cover the hours your business is open. Part of your consideration should also be how you distribute those hours throughout the week. That means making sure you have more staff at busy times, and less during less busy times. As important as bodies there when you need them most, keep in mind that if they are lousy staff, they are a bigger hindrance than a help.

Store staff shape the experience of the customer. They are the face of your retail operations, which means you should be paying close attention to what keeps your staff happy, and what ensures they know their job. Listen to what your staff wants and their suggestions, and reward their hard work. Train them in sales so they are good salespeople, and train them in the technology they need to answer the questions of their customers.

Your staff are in your store daily. They know or learn how things may work better. They may have good ideas on displays, store flow or how to better serve the customers they deal with daily. When they have good ideas, reward them. Use the ideas and credit the person who came up with it. If you find there are people working for you who are not living up to your expectations, warn them or fire them. Your staff should be trained well. Pay them well and give them good benefits.

Use e-learning to train your staff. Make them better salespeople. Provide it for them to benefit your business as well as themselves.

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