For just about every retailer, Black Friday is the holiday selling kick-off that we've waited for all year!  Knowing that so many purchase decisions are made at store level, it's time to make sure everyone on the sales floor is at the top of their game.  Here are 3 more things you can do right now to help you squeeze a few more dollars into the cash drawer each day:

If you want to kick-start your holiday sales, develop and launch a sales contest that will get your staff’s attention and produce solid results.  Sound easy?  It’s not!  To drive success on the sales floor, your contest must follow these important guidelines:

My favourite season of retail is upon us.  Christmas stirs up all my fondest memories of my start in retail; working alongside my Dad in his stores, back when I was too young and naïve to truly appreciate all that he did for his staff to make the season special…and highly productive.  Now when I’m out in stores and see the beginnings of this awesome holiday start to pop up, I can easily identify the many “gifts” he gave to his team to set them up for success, not just at Christmas, but the entire year through. 

It’s that wonderful time of year again when we start to gear up for Christmas.  A critical part of this process is hiring seasonal staff.  The very thought of this is often enough to cause even the most experienced of managers to break out in a cold sweat!  But don’t worry … it’s all about planning and execution.

Whether you need to recruit only three new temps or as many as seventy, it’s time for you to get moving right now.  Not sure where to begin?  Follow these key steps to ensure your success this season:

I was going through the newspapers the other day, reading what the press was saying about retail. It hit me then, for the first time ever, that Trump might actually be right about one thing: Fake News!!

Look, up here in Canada you’d have a better chance of finding a unicorn than finding someone who doesn’t think Trump is, well, not the greatest fit for the job. But his claim of Fake News, while likely mostly nonsense, rings true when it comes to how the media reports on retail.

In my role at Graff Retail, I speak to Store Managers on a daily basis.  At some point in the conversation we end up "talking shop" and managers share their biggest challenges with me (kind of like a retail therapy session!). 

I've learned over time that the challenges aren't unique from manager to manager and, since I am in charge of our award-winning online retail training system at Graff, I happen to have access to a ton of tried and true techniques to take a manager from struggling to ALL-STAR!

In short order, here are 8 things you need to do to ensure you're an All-Star this Christmas selling season.

I think we can all agree that Retail changes at the speed of light. I've been in this industry for 25 years and counting and it's still a wild ride. What's interesting about our space is that the people in Retail often match the pace of our environment.  Have you ever noticed that most Managers, District Managers, VP's and Presidents talk fast, and move even faster? Not to mention they're the best task masters. 

It's possible that the Management environment attracts a lot of Assertive/Passionate people.   Or, that our environment requires you to move at a fast pace, so we adapt. Either way, one of my consistent observations when I ask a Retail leader, "how are you?"  I inevitably get the same answer … "busy" or when they really want to make a point … "Crazy busy!".   You've probably said the same thing yourself on countless occasions. 

So why am I bringing this up?

I’ve ranted and raved for years about the lack of compliance on standards at store level.  Retail’s inability to have the stores meet basic store standards costs the business sales, margin, customer loyalty and more.  Doesn’t it seem to be simple enough to get the staff to greet customers, maintain merchandising standards, dress properly, show up on time and sell properly?  Well, apparently not!

For years we’ve preached about the 5 things you need to do to get compliance on standards: 

What does it take to roll out a great training program at store level?  Better yet, what does it take to sustain a great training program at store level?  Do you have the answer on the tip of your tongue?  Don’t fret, from what I can tell, the majority of retailers out there don’t have the answers to these questions either. 

Ok.  Here’s an easier question.  What gets in the way of training success at store level?  I bet you can rattle off a bunch of ‘retail realities’ that interfere with training.

Last week was Back to School and it seems like everyone was posting proud Instagram pics of their kids' first day of school. Truthfully, I wanted to post a pic of me drinking Champagne. Is that wrong? (If it is, I don't want to be right!)   Yes, we all love our kids and would do anything for them; however let’s be honest, we cherish our freedom from strict bedtimes, homework and racing from activity to activity. Yet at the same time, we are so excited to see them go back to school and right back into the hectic routine.  It's the 'routine' that we both love and hate.

The same is true in our stores.  

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