Making the Most of Retail Schedules

Have a nice day? - on my weekend?

So, what’s the best way to make the most of working on weekends?

Learn from Huck Finn

Jeez, it’s tough enough on your retail staff to hear their 9-5 weekday friends talk about weekend plans that they can’t attend. Don’t let them bring that dismal digression to work to bring yourself and the customers down.

Make Weekends something to look forward to!

Owners and Managers: Think Huckleberry Finn – make the undesirable job more desirable.

Bring in the doughnuts, spring for coffee and Chicken biscuits from the local breakfast place for the Saturday morning meeting. Or pop for pizzas at lunchtime. Make that morning meeting lively with an agenda that allows for lots of feedback, caffeine and food.

Loosen the dress code.

Make it a theme day.

Free Food!

Keep food handy – trail mix, water, nutritious snacks of all kinds that they can munch in the stock room as they search for merchandise. (And mount a hand sanitizer dispenser on the wall).

You know it’s tough to handle lunches on a Saturday… Free Food is an unexpected perk that means a lot more to your staff than you might think. The food court gets really old – especially on a busy, high traffic weekend.

More logical shifts

Schedule shorter 4-6 hour shifts so you don’t have to schedule in those 1/2 hours breaks (depending on state labor laws). It’s too hard to handle all the customers with too many lunches scheduled.

Get a Little GOOFY

Let the staff see your “other side.” Loosen up a little and energize the atmosphere. Keep the admin work for the weekdays. Better yet, hire a bookkeeper to handle the payroll and pay the bills so you can hang out on the floor more to enjoy your customers and get to know your staff better – including their strengths and weaknesses.

On the serious side…

Be ready for the weekends. If you have young staff, be realistic – – –  Have a backup plan if one of them calls in late Saturday morning instead of going ballistic when they call in or show up late. Be prepared!

Have a sit down with each staff member and tell them you know Friday night is for fun, but…

Don’t screw with me on a Saturday morning.

Consider telling them if they know they have a big party to go to Friday night, get approval from you to swap with someone to take the Saturday Morning shift. And if they call in sick Saturday morning, you most likely won’t believe them. Saturdays are too important in retail.

Saturdays are ridiculous to try to schedule in retail – and too important.

  • Morning shoppers who can’t wait for the door to open.
  • Weekend brunchers roll in around 1 pm.
  • Craziness then sets in before and after dinnertime.

So what do you do?

Weekend shoppers are different from those who shop during the week, but you still need good coverage. And busy professionals get really irked when there is no decision-maker available on weekends… schedule for that, too.

  • Schedule someone who is awake and ready to be there when the doors open, and schedule the “less-morning-resilient” (I made that term up) for the later shift.
  • Stagger shifts throughout the day. Bring in a lunchtime/peaktime shift.
  • Use your journal reports to track and document your busiest times for better scheduling.
  • Make a point of being on the floor on Weekends to make notes on the whos, whats and whys of shoppers – and your staff!.

IMHO

All retail should be open only Tuesdays through Saturdays. Keep people on a permanent and contained schedule and you’ll have better coverage and lower turnover for all shifts.

They have a life!

Retail employees would really like a better quality of life where they could actually schedule a haircut or doctor’s appointment weeks ahead and plan family and friends time.

With a modified schedule of Tues-Sat, Employers would have a stable staff, lower turnover, and better customer satisfaction.

Just think of the repeat referral growth if a customer always knew their favorite salesperson’s schedule. The high-end stores already know this…

Hair Salons and Chick-Fil-A do it

Chick-Fil-A, hair salons and the banks can close 1-2 days a week without losing volume, so you can, too. When stores have experimented with extended hours, often it evolves into a shift in traffic, not additional traffic.

And don’t give me any crap about how your sales volume would take a huge hit if you weren’t open on Sunday and Monday. Seriously? Customers who say they can’t shop your existing hours are likely the same people who like to come in just at closing time no matter how many hours and days you are open.

Hmmmmm… just imagine:

  • A happier, rested staff who takes better care of customers.
  • Customers who are more relaxed and better taken care of because they have a happier salesperson to wait on them.
  • Customers who can have their favorite salesperson every time they shop because the schedule doesn’t change.
  • Customers AND staff enjoying their Sundays with family and friends. No one really caring that stores aren’t open on Monday!
  • The staff actually enjoying their jobs.
  • A manager who doesn’t have to spend hours every week juggling to make a new schedule.

If I ever open a store, that will be the plan. Maybe I’ll close in the evenings, too. At least most nights……. 😉