Time Management in Retail Sales: Maximizing Sales and Customer Satisfaction


  Time Management in Retail Sales: Maximizing Sales and Customer Satisfaction

You are a sales associate in the retail store industry. You have a number of metrics to monitor as you work, including customer satisfaction and sales.

In this blog post we will review time management strategies that retail sales professionals use to balance maximizing their efforts with respecting their customers' needs. As the season changes, many of us are preparing for the onslaught of holiday shopping in stores across America. With extra customers and shorter time to hustle, retail sales associates are forced to learn how to manage their time.

Maximize Sales and Customer Satisfaction: Retail Time Management Strategies
There are several sales strategies that retail associates use in order to generate as much sales as possible while maintaining customer satisfaction. While these are not commonly applied in every store, these strategies have been shown to be effective in a number of different environments; leading the retail industry in terms of profit margins and employee turn-over.
The main focus of this strategy is on maximizing the amount of products sold per hour by minimizing the time spent with each customer. This strategy can be very effective in fast-paced environments because it focuses more on throughput than other strategies. A major component of this strategy is the use of technology; with handheld devices and a mobile app, the sales associate can scan the items the customer wishes to purchase and send them to the checkout counter for payment. This is especially advantageous in grocery stores, because it allows customers to select items from other parts of the store and pay for them at one location.
Andrea will use this strategy with her customer, Jim, who has just entered the store. Andrea works in a grocery store that uses handheld scanners to help speed up transactions. Andrea scans each item that Jim picks up. When Jim is finished shopping, Andrea sends the items to the checkout counter and provides Jim with a receipt. After paying for his items, Jim leaves Andrea a tip.
As opposed to previous strategies, this strategy focuses more on the needs of the customer than it does maximizing sales. This strategy differs from the previous one because of its labor intensity; because of this, it is generally used in stores where there are plenty of customers to keep sales associates busy throughout the day.

Other strategies that are commonly used include the following:

Time management in retail sales involves having clear goals and evaluating performance against those goals. To do this, a retail sales associate must first understand what his or her goals are. In addition to this, he or she must also understand how to measure his or her success against these goals. This is because measuring performance provides the employee with valuable information for improvement. It is key that the retail sales associate assess specific metrics in order to identify specific problems within an organization. This often involves analysis of data regarding time allocation and workflows versus actual revenues generated over time, based on the job role of any given employee.

When a retail sales associate uses these strategies to maximize sales, he or she must still maintain customer satisfaction. This means that they should consider at what points in the workflow their customers may be dissatisfied. This could involve items such as queuing and waiting periods. Managing these activities can help to improve customer satisfaction and turnover rates.

The purpose of managing time is to achieve the greatest output with the least amount of input. Retail managers have done this by creating new technologies such as handheld scanners, just-in-time scheduling programs and systems for monitoring productivity and employee movements in stores.

A recent study by Harvard Business School found that hourly workers who received feedback from their employers were more likely to leave the store than those who did not. The implication is that the employee's work was monitored and criticized, making him or her feel less positive about their experience at the store. Therefore, an ideal method for managing productivity is to provide constructive feedback that can aid in increasing performance and maintaining employee satisfaction. Another important finding from this study was that employees who worked shorter shifts were more likely to leave the company than those who worked longer shifts. This implies that retail stores should be structured in a way that allows employees to have a sense of variety and prevent boredom.

In general, time management is made up of three main components: Productivity, Efficiency and Effectiveness.
These terms are applicable when a retail store has multiple stages of production with multiple workers.
The concept of productivity is applicable when the workforce does not have to perform different tasks within the same task or project. Efficient time management is beneficial to store personnel as it allows them to be more productive and therefore improves customer satisfaction. Effectiveness of employees in time management also increases their effectiveness in delivering work products on-time and on-budget.To achieve effective time management, individuals need to assess their workplace environments (e.g. other employees and management styles), identify their goals and be aware of their current time management practices.
The most effective way to apply time management is by addressing it in a way that best fits the individual lifestyle. For example, some individuals prefer to work solo while others prefer team-work. Individuals also have varying levels of comfort with scheduling routine tasks. Being aware of these preferences allows individuals to choose where, when and how they will manage their time.
Once an individual has identified preferred methods of managing time, they are able to develop a plan or “schedule” to manage their time accordingly. If this schedule is not implemented, then the individual will most likely not be able to manage their time effectively and efficiently. Individuals should also make sure that they communicate their schedules to other employees in order to coordinate and prevent conflicts.

Retail operations are typically characterized by a “workflow” which consists of a series of tasks that must be performed in a given order. For example, items must be scanned before they can be sent for payment. If an employee wants to make a minor change to an item in the workflow, it may take more time and effort than necessary. If the time spent making the change exceeds two minutes, then this will likely result in poor customer satisfaction.


Many factors go into the management of time in a retail store. The first of these is the “workflow” that must be performed to complete transactions such as scanning an item and sending it on to payment or another process. For all but the simplest of systems, many steps are required to complete one transaction. This means that slight improvements to individual tasks can have unintended side effects such as increased costs and decreased efficiency. Thus, proper time management requires that a system be planned out in advance with proper regard for both workflow and efficiency/effectiveness. The second factor is employee involvement and their individual preferences for managing time (e.g., scheduling routine tasks).

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