Retail stores must be more adaptable than ever, and one key to sustained success is utilizing best practices to streamline your retail store operations. This guide covers the basics, like what is a retail operator and tips for established businesses to improve their store operations.
What are Retail Store Operations?
If you are new in retail, you may be wondering what is retail operations. Retail business operations are all the activities and factors involved in running a storefront.
Examples of Retail Operations:
- Supply chain
- Inventory Management
- Cash handling
- Pricing and promotions
- Interior design
- Loss prevention
The specifics of what store operations look like on a daily basis differ at each store and even across multiple locations of the same company. There is no universal retail operations definition.
What does a Retail Store Operator do?
A retail operator handles managing all the aspects of store operations. This is a dynamic job that requires a high level of communication, flexibility, and the ability to effectively delegate. Retail operators for large companies may manage more than one store and travel between them within the same day.
Consider outsourcing cash management so that retail operators can focus on running the store.
Essential Retail Store Operations Practices
Now that you can answer the question, what is store operations in retail, let’s look at best practices for managing operations. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for retail store operations, but there are three general categories that retail operations management should focus on:
- Retail Management: Administration, Customer Service, Store Design
- Cash Handling: Cash Register Procedures, Ordering Cash & Coin, Cash Drops
- Security: Merchandise Security, Building Security
A good management process is vital to any successful retail operation. Some stores have a specific retail operations manager or a team of managers that divide the operational responsibilities. For example, there may be one manager for product inventory and another manager for customer service.
Operations managers pay attention to small details while keeping overall business goals in mind each day. They help establish a strong foundation for store operation processes and hire the right people to enact them.
Administration refers to the operational processes that occur behind the scenes but are essential to keep a store running. These include staff training, managing the business’s point-of-sale (POS) system, and troubleshooting technical issues as needed.
How to Improve Administration: You can save time and money by digitizing and automating as much as possible. If you don’t already, use a smart safe to digitize cash purchases. You can also automate some of the retail workflow operational processes like reordering stock and paying employees.
Customer service involves interactions between customers and staff. While customer service operations in stores often focus on cashiers, all employees should be trained in positive customer service best practices.
Tailor specific trainings for:
- Sales representatives
- Dressing room attendants
- Store greeters
- Janitorial staff
How to Improve Customer Service: Modern shoppers rely heavily on online reviews even when shopping in stores. Great customer service can boost your reviews and increase store revenue. Customizing the customer experience can also increase customer retention.
Store design will depend a lot on the brand and type of goods you are selling. Some retail operators may hire outside consultants and designers for, while others rely on staff to help them with the physical store layout and visual merchandising. Store design should focus on drawing in customers and naturally flowing throughout the store to the cash register.
How to Improve Store Design: Consider changing the design of different sections of the store for different collections of goods, seasons, etc. This can make the store look fresh and make the shopping experience more exciting for returning customers.
Even with the rise of newer payment options such as cardless payment and cryptocurrency, cash remains one of the most popular payment methods for in-store purchases. Cash handling is an essential part of brick and mortar retail operations.
Cashiers and managers are responsible for securely storing cash and depositing it into the bank. Cash comes with a lot of liability and therefore requires precise procedures to avoid profit loss.
Cash Register Procedures
Store managers and owners establish cash register procedures and train cashiers in them. Make sure to clearly define all cash register procedures:
- Who is responsible for opening the cash register at the start of each day
- Who is responsible for counting the cash in the register and when
- Who is responsible for reconciling the register at the end of each day
How to Improve Cash Register Procedures: Upgrade to a mobile POS system such as Shopify or Squarespace. This allows you to turn any phone or tablet into a cash register which can speed up the checkout process and improve the customer experience.
Ordering Cash & Coin
Cash registers need to be stocked with enough cash and coins to give customers change for their cash purchases. Knowing how much cash and in what increments you have in the store at all times ensures that you will know when to order more, so you can plan accordingly. If your store has multiple cash registers, you may find that you need to restock one before the other.
How to Improve Ordering Cash and Coin: Busy weekends and holidays can cause a surge in cash transactions – when banks are at their busiest or closed. Avoid running out of cash or coin during busy periods by working with a fully managed service who will deliver cash to you when you need it most. The best management systems will have easy-to-use online web portals to help you keep a pulse on what cash and coin is currently at your store.
Cash Drop Processes
A cash drop is when you remove cash from a cash register and put it into a safe or business bank account. The frequency of cash drops depends on the amount of cash revenue your business makes. Many retail stores count the cash in each register at the end of the business day and deposit it into a safe. This is often called reconciliation.
How to Improve Cash Drop Processes: Create a step-by-step cash drop process in writing and share it with your employees. It’s best to choose a few trusted managers to be in charge of cash drops to minimize the number of hands on the money and avoid potential theft.
Learn more store operation tips for keeping your cash secure from Integrated Cash Logistics’ blog.
Most retail operators do not directly handle store security. Instead, they delegate this task to the appropriate employees or contractors. Store operators should communicate with security guards and cybersecurity specialists regularly to catch any issues early and solve them quickly. This will help you run your store smoothly even when problems inevitably arise.
Loss prevention can increase store revenue, so store owners and managers often focus heavily on merchandise security. This includes security alarms and cameras. Security cameras with CCTV help deter theft and identify any suspicious activity. Large stores may also hire an in-store security guard. The guard may be stationed at the entrance and/or patrol the store.
How to Improve Merchandise Security: Keep a detailed inventory of all merchandise to quickly identify missing items. One person should handle updating the inventory list regularly. You can also put security tags on items with a high risk of theft or store them in a locked cabinet.
You should position security cameras at entrances and windows and around the exterior of your store if you are in a free-standing building. Consider adding floodlights outside for extra security and visibility at night. You can also hire security guards to patrol the retail store’s interior and exterior after-hours.
How to Improve Building Security: If there are other retail stores or businesses nearby, introduce yourself to their owners or managers. Networking with your neighbors can help make sure you have someone watching your back, and they can alert you of suspicious activity in the area.
Enhance Retail Store Operations with Integrated Cash Logistics
Using these retail store operations best practices can help your store run smoother and increase profit margins. Take your operational excellence to the next level with a cash management partner.
Integrated Cash Logistics is an all-in-one cash management service that delivers store operations support by automating cash receipts, bank deposits, and other management and cash-handling processes. Schedule a demo to learn more about our unique cash capturing technology and how we can help you get the most out of your retail operations.