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As of 2011, there were more than 3.6 million retail establishments in the U.S., and retailers themselves supported 42 million jobs. The size of the U.S. retail service industry is also impressive, with total sales in 2011 reaching $2.5 trillion. In order to thrive, a retailer needs a motivated staff. Retail sales don't happen by themselves, after all. Fortunately, there are many different ways to motivate retail sales staff to increase efficiency, including methods such as those found in department stores.
Retail Sales Environment
Almost everything sold in any kind of business dealing with the public can be considered retail sales. With its many different products, a department store is a perfect example of how employees interact with customers to sell products at retail prices. While many people don't think of the floor staff in a department store as being true salespeople, many of them are expected to sell additional products to customers, thereby "upselling" them. All successful department stores have floor staff heavily motivated to sell products.
Role of Management
To improve sales in a department store, management should promote employee motivation on an unceasing basis. Managers must get their department store employees to feel like associates of the company by publicly praising them and rewarding their successful sales efforts. For one, department store management need to be sincere, fair and candid with employees as well as enthusiastic about sales and the employees' vital role in the company. Successful department store managers also help employees meet store sales goals by mentoring them and providing regular salesman training.
Involving Your Employees
There are different methods department store management can use to motivate staff and improve sales. Managers can improve sales in a department store environment by using staff meetings to review sales and publicly reward top performers. Department store managers and supervisors can also build loyalty and pride in employees by seeking out and then genuinely listening to their opinions. By treating your department store's employees as real people, you can increase their enthusiasm for meeting what might sometimes appear to be tough sales goals.
Use In-Store Competitions
Healthy and nonthreatening competition within a department store sales environment can frequently be an effective way to improve sales numbers. Having a competition among employees or between departments in a department store adds a sense of excitement and newness for staff. Many successful department stores have sales competitions and select individual winners as well as team-against-team and even store-against-store champions. If you run sales competitions to help motivate staff and improve sales, make sure that you keep things interesting and run a variety of competitions.
Monetary Reward Programs
In retail sales, money is the greatest motivator and employees always love more of it. If you're a department manager looking to increase sales, consider a monetary incentive program for sales staff if they meet predetermined sales goals. Many retailers such as department stores with appliance or electronics departments use commissions and bonus plans while others offer better salaries for actual salespeople. Whatever monetary incentive plan you use to motivate your sales staff, ensure you always fairly measure employee performance and provide regular feedback.
Tony Guerra served more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy. He also spent seven years as an airline operations manager. Guerra is a former realtor, real-estate salesperson, associate broker and real-estate education instructor. He holds a master's degree in management and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies.
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