Great customer service and sales begins with efficient store operations. Store employees preoccupied with running the operations of the store will often emphasize store tasks over customer service. Other employees who believe that their only focus is customer interaction can stand idle while their cluttered, dirty store degenerates around them. The most common way to prepare the team for an efficient sales day is to habitually use opening and closing checklists for retail.

Every store needs to use the opening and closing checklist everyday. Then there are the weekly, monthly and quarterly checklists. Monthly tasks contain rotating quarterly tasks. To be effective, checklist usage has to be a non-negotiable. Checklists must be used every day by every manager or employee and checklist use must be verified. It’s like counting calories in a diet: it only works if it is done for every single meal.

To begin, you must define the standard expectations for the store. How should it look every single day before opening? Write out the expectations by location within the store and then build the checklist around it. For example, you may say that you expect the checkout counter to be clean, with fully stocked bags, pens, credit card receipts, a tidy selection of impulse sale items, the till stocked with sufficient cash, an empty trash bin, and a smiling employee wearing a name badge. Use these standards to create your opening checklist.

An opening checklist

Should include: turn off the alarm, prepare the cash register, verify internet and systems connections, adjust the thermostat, clean the counters, floormats and door, restock any empty shelf locations, merchandise products to the front of the shelves, Clean and restock restrooms, turn on music, turn on the Open sign. Smile.

A closing checklist

Would include: turn off the Open sign, lock the front door, run sales or POS reports, run computer backups, count cash and make either a bank or a vault deposit, secure petty cash, clean off counters and floors, restock bags, return any stranded goods to their shelf location, survey the sales floor for damaged goods, adjust the thermostat, remove garbage, turn on the alarm, lock the back door. Smile.

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