Basic Tip: Inventory prep is one of the most important steps in the inventory cycle to ensure that the physical inventory is a success. At minimum - ensure that all items have SKU tags/barcodes, items are properly placed either on the sales floor or stock room, and “Do Not Inventory” tags are used for items that do not need to be inventoried.
Advanced Tip: During inventory prep you will want to open up every box and inspect them to ensure any/all sellable merchandise is identified and placed where it can be inventoried. Come up with a sign off process (For example: date/time and name of employee) to place either in the stock room area or box to ensure ALL employees know what has and has NOT been checked prior to inventory.
Basic Tip: Customer safety is a top priority for all retailers. Ensure all aisles are clean and free of any obstructions that may lead to a customer accident.
Advanced Tip: Ensure that the fixture design, fixture placement and/or fixture lifespan are reviewed prior to either implementing or replacing.
Basic Tip: During the holidays, shopping centers will have increased foot traffic and thus an increased exposure to crime. Ensure that your stores and teams are prepared to face the physical security challenges such as: Emergency contacts are updated and accurate, emergency evacuation plans are reviewed, associates are not leaving stores/walking to vehicles alone (“Buddy System”), and/or emergency closing/opening procedures are reviewed.
Advanced Tip: Mall/center security can be utilized, when requested, to do walk through of stores and/or escorts of associates to/from vehicles. This can be beneficial in the event of an incident occurring at the store with a problem persons/customer.
Basic Tip: Physical security of your data (register along with company proprietary information) is equally important to physical security of people and inventory. Consider implementing a visitor/vendor policy that defines when a visitor/vendor can come into your store, what a visitor/vendor can/cannot do in your store and more importantly how they obtain access into your store.
Advanced Tip: Vendor access to your stores should be more restrictive than a “visitor,” since a visitor can be defined as a company representative or government official. Vendor access to your store should ONLY be pre-approved and should be confirmed before access is granted. For example: An approved vendor list, a contract to provide services or product to sell, a work order for repairs and/or approval from a company representative. If a vendor cannot be confirmed then they should not be granted access to the store and should be turned away immediately.
Basic Tip:Require that all transferred in merchandise, especially from another store location, be piece counted in before accepting into inventory.
Advanced Tip:Ensure there is a secondary count of received transferred in merchandise and retain all necessary paperwork for future validation if needed.
Basic Tip: Have a designated area in the back room that is only meant to Receive/check in merchandise from vendors.
Advanced Tip: Having a robust audit/check in procedure for receiving freight will not only lower operational shrink but act as a deterrent to “Vendor Fraud.”
Basic Tip: Always have more than one associate present in the store at all times.
Advanced Tip: Ideally you should always have 2 or more associates opening and closing to ensure proper coverage of the store during the most vulnerable time of the day.
Basic Tip: Cash register functions like “No Sales”, “Cancels”, “Voids” and/or “Post Voids” should be only conducted by managers or approved by managers. If these transactions are able to be completed by employees, consider having a manager’s signature and/or reason for completion part of the authorization process for those transactions.
Advanced Tip: At the end of the night – all register transactions like cancels, no sales, voids and returns should be accounted for through a reconciliation process (such as store retained receipts compared to a closing day report summary). Any discrepancy should be investigated and reviewed with that “at fault” employee.