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Here’s How You Can Get Your Retail Stores to Run the Right Way

It’s great that we are seeing things get back to normal with restrictions being lifted in most areas. For the most part, retail numbers are looking good, and most of my clients may not be where they were or want to be, but they are certainly seeing some positive movement.

Recently, the Retail Council of Canada held its annual Store Conference. I MC’d this conference, which allowed me to watch everything that was going on. Almost every mainstage presentation talked about the importance of people. I’ve been attending this conference for 15 years now, and previously the mainstage talks would focus on mobile, omnichannel, and technology. This year 75% of the talks emphasized looking after our people. This is a really good thing as major retailers like Walmart were also talking about employee wellbeing. I consider staff as the most important part of any business. Your staff is the biggest differentiator, and how they interact and create customer experiences will make all the difference at a retail store.

The other message I kept on hearing, again and again, was that there should be no more excuses. We have all gone through almost two years of running around with our hair on fire, but now, it’s time to stop. It’s time to go back to doing the things we know we can do. The holidays are when retail stores start seeing new customers, and if they get the impression that your store isn’t running the right way, it’s going to end up hurting your 2022 business. Then you’ve got your customers who normally come in, but if you create a mundane experience for them, why would they visit the store.

I get it! It’s hard to get stores to run the way they are supposed to. Some customers are still acting badly, there are staff shortages, and managers have to work long hours. But at some point, we have to move past all this and get on to solving problems.

How Can We Get Going?

It’s All About Mindset

Everything starts with the mindset. If we have a negative, defeatist, or stressed mindset, there will be issues at the store, and your customers won’t get the service they deserve. But if there is a mindset to run this thing the right way, it’s going produce a positive attitude and lead to the results you want. As a manager, you need to think about how you’re showing up as a leader at your store and pushing your team’s performance to a higher level.

Let’s Raise Standards 

At most stores, compliance with standards that protect the brand experience and deliver the customer experience is average at best.  We struggle with these at the best of times, but right now, what I’m seeing is that too many stores are not up to par. You can improve this by first identifying the top five or seven standards and working with your team to get these things right. As the leader, you never let any of these standards slip. Chase these things down and do them right every single day in your store.

Shift Starters 

I’ve been talking about these for 25 years, and I still walk into stores where they are not running them. If you have a shift starter meeting with your team, anything is possible, and it’s a consistent point of communication with your staff. These meetings are not only great for reviewing and setting agendas but can also be used to rally your team around a central message.

Walk The Store 

Mangers, if you want things to run the right way, you have to start walking the store. Go through the store department by department and make sure it’s running right. If you don’t pay attention to things, don’t expect your employees to.


I can not stress how important it is for a manager to delegate responsibilities. If you want to engage your teams, you need to get them more involved, and delegating some of your responsibilities is a great way to do this. One of the problems retail stores are experiencing right now is employees leaving, and being disengaged is a big reason behind this.

Everyone from your staff to your customers needs your store to run the right way every day. In the past, it was not that difficult to do this. It’s time to stop making excuses and get back to the business of doing things right. If we can’t get stores to run the right way now, it will be difficult as the holiday season progresses. Now is the time to make this happen!

At Graff Retail, we create leading-edge retail training programs specifically designed and customized to increase staff knowledge and performance with innovative teaching methods to drive sales and revenue for businesses.

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