Empower your staff to share their ideas

November 21, 2022By Pet, Views

by Megan Moyer, corporate marketing manager, as seen on the IndiePet website.

As an independent retailer much responsibility falls into your lap. Often owner-operators are the human resource, merchandising, accounting, buying, inventory, and logistics managers. It’s a lot to juggle, which is why learning to delegate is key to managing it all.

Getting associates involved in certain areas, such as merchandising, can be a great way to empower them by allowing them to contribute to the success of the store. Your store associates are likely on the floor much more than you, thus they have a better feel for how customers shop your store and what they are looking for.

In addition, most of your associates likely have a pet themselves and have opinions about products or product types that could be a successful addition to your product assortment.

You’ll need to set parameters for their merchandising suggestions because the ideas could come in fast and furious (at least initially), however, there need to be some measures in place to gauge the plausibility of product suggestions.pet store employee

If employees have access to your ordering system, they can gather important information such as cost, order minimum, and return options if items don’t sell as well as hoped. Ask them to do as much research as possible about the items they are suggesting being added, and they should be prepared to recommend where it fits in the department and if something needs to be eliminated to make room for it, which item that is. If you encourage them to complete this legwork, not only does it give them a great understanding of the careful consideration that must be given when adding to the assortment, but it also strengthens their feeling of having an impact on the business in a very tangible way.

You may also need to develop boundaries regarding the amount of time spent conducting the research and building the case for a new product addition to be sure that attention to customers is maintained as the top priority.

There may have to be other tweaks needed depending on your staff’s reaction to being able to offer their opinions. You can introduce it as something you are going to try for the upcoming holiday season and will determine if it is an ongoing program after that.

Beyond suggesting new products or recommending eliminating others, you can also ask your associates if they have suggestions about organization of items within departments or endcaps and displays. Again, their insights from being on the floor and assisting customers can lead to some great ideas of how to increase shoppability in various areas of the store.

Encouraging open communication and opportunities for meaningful participation in the success of the store fosters a stronger bond with employees and usually inspires loyalty and job satisfaction. If it boosts traffic and sales and gives you a little more time to devote elsewhere, it’s a win-win-win.