Tag Archives: retail

Lessons 4&5

~Ask the Questions & Love What You Do~

Lesson #4 –Ask the Questions

So as the customers enter Rinnt it is my usual practice to approach them and ask if there is anything I can help them find. As a general rule you should use an open ended question because you don’t get very far with just a yes or no. You can learn a lot about a customer by how they answer this question. (And customers, a “no just looking” with a smile will go a LONG way!) But the best way to help a customer is to ask questions. We can’t help connect the perfect product to the customer without having information to work with, and most people are not exactly forth coming with information. Asking questions will open the lines of communication. It’s also very important to listen to the answers so you can help the customer to the best of your ability. But rarely will a customer approach you, the question and the smile have to be used to approach the customer.

Asking questions. Why are we afraid to ask questions? Are we worried what we’ll find out? The best way to discover people’s needs and how you can help is to ask questions! Ask the questions and then take the time to listen to the answers. Gather the information by asking the hard questions. Open the lines of communication by asking and listening. Who knows what you’ll discover!

Lesson #5 –Love What You Do!

I think the most basic thing I have learned in retail is that if you don’t love what you are doing, you will not be effective. If you enter the store every day dreading the tasks, product, customers, or coworkers, you are distracted by the dislike and become unproductive.

I’ve found in my life that you can lose the love by only focusing on the negatives. So how can you stop this? Develop hobbies for outside of work. Keep friends and discussion with friends as un-work-related as possible. Keep an interest in the company and how can you improve the company. Always be learning more. If you master a skill or an area of work ask for another area, see how you can streamline and become as productive as possible. Basically it boils down to always be looking to improve yourself and your place of employment.

I love RINNT and I am so thankful for the many years I have been a part of this wonderful store. I hope some of my lessons learned will encourage you in at your job and maybe give you an insight into the world of retail. Remember sales associates and managers are human to! Politeness will go a lot farther than being rude and threatening.

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Lesson #3~Details Sell

Lesson #3—It’s in the Small Things-details sell

Rinnt takes great pains to execute windows, mannis, bust forms, and brand-standards with great precision and accuracy. When entering the store on an average day the product is straightened, the store is clean, the product placement and displays are organized and well executed, something most people do not even notice (until you enter a store where it’s not there *coughOLDNAVYcough*).

Through working with Rinnt I have learned to take pride in how well our mannis and bust forms are executed. I take pride in the brand-standards that are set before me to achieve. Small details give the store an overall clean and wholesome atmosphere. The small details set our store apart.

Rinnt takes great pride in the small detailing of its product. A fact that is very helpful to understand if you are a sales associate. Why you may ask? Well quite simply it gives you something to talk about with the customer; it also sets the product apart, and makes the product more alluring.

So I have learned, details matter! O sure, my dear skeptical readers, this is retail, silly things like that matter, I mean in what other line of work would it matter that a correct bust form height is 13’ on a table and 11’ on a wall? But I have concluded that this does apply to “real” life (aka-life outside of retail)

Think about a time where you felt really special (special in a good way-not the “o wow, that was special” type moment). What made it special? It probably wasn’t a huge fanfare in your honor (but if it was that’s AWESOME-please tell me about it!) I know to help my mom out all I have to do is clean the kitchen. Nothing crazy insane, just making sure the dishes are washed and put away and the countertops are clean. Simple, little, but it makes a huge impact!

Little details and small observations can leave a large impact on our lives! I love trying to understand people, but do I take the time to act on what I learn about people? Do I take as much pride in my home as I do at my job? Small things count!

What small things can you start doing for those around you?

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Lesson #2 ~Beyond the Hello

Lesson #2 ~Customer Service –beyond the hello

Working in retail you often hear the importance of customer service. Rinnt stresses customer service and I have learned a lot about how to approach customers and opening up lines of communication. Customer service is super important in retail, but I didn’t understand the importance until recently when I read this excellent quote:

~I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel ~Maya Angelou

Customers remember how you treat them. All people should be treated with respect and that may be the breaking point of a sale if respect is not shown.  Customers have needs and problems that we as sales associates can help solve. My favorite customer interactions are when they come to me completely baffled and I can help lead them to a decision or at least present some usable options. I know however that I sometimes miss these opportunities by being too focused on product placement or just being too exhausted or lazy to interact with the customer.

It is also extremely important in the retail world to follow up with a customer; usually called a second approach. I cannot stress the importance of this enough to fellow retail employees! If you never check in with your customer again–how will you know how to help them? Needs change and questions arise as they mill through the store and the product.

This lesson got me thinking about life outside of retail.

Do I treat everyone I interact with as people with needs and feelings? Do I seek out information from people so I can best help them grow? What stops me from asking the open ended questions? Too busy or too caught up in the tasks at hand? Am I so self-focused that I can’t take a few minutes of my busy day to ask a friend how I can help? Do I offer advice and never bother to follow up or to pray for them again? Why do I ignore the follow up? 

Look for someone to help today & pray for follow up opportunities to be presented! 

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Rinnt: Lessons Learned in Retail (Lesson 1-Appearance Matters)

Rinnt: Lessons Learned in Retail

So for the past almost five years I have worked for a retail store, let’s call it Rinnt (and if you figure out my secret code—don’t tell!). I actually love working for Rinnt, and it’s been such a great experience. I love both the coworkers and the product and I usually love working with customers, most of the time. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 lessons learned in retail. And since who wants to read a long post I’ll be breaking them up into a few posts.

Lesson #1 –Appearance Matters

Now there are several applications of this statement that appearance matters, especially in the world of retail.

Customers: yes you are judged on your appearance. Is this right? No, but what you look like communicates to the staff what to expect. As an associate I have come to see that I make many assumptions about people from the moment they walk into the door. No I should not do that and I should be striving to show Christ-like love to all people, but what this has taught me is that initial impressions are important!

I have found that the most notable impression comes not from the clothes worn, but the smile or lack thereof. When someone comes in the store looking angry I know to keep my greeting mellow and my smile short. When someone comes in looking happy and smiling broadly I know that it is ok to chat with them and usually end up giving them better customer service than the previously mentioned person.

Now you’re probably thinking, Sarah, this is terrible! You judge people by what they look like and if they smile?? Yes dear readers I have become cynical over the years. haha Ok so maybe not cynical, but I have noticed a pattern when it comes to people and it has caused me to stop and think about how would I approach myself if I stopped into Rinnt unknown. Do I smile and make eye contact with people? Am I friendly? Or do I take my bad day out on some innocent sales associate who has absolutely NO control over almost everything in the store? (personal experience here folks! the poor sales associates and NOT the people to be threatening; we get no say in anything!)

As to clothing, do I present something that is “easy on the eyes” (*snicker*) or do I give off a disheveled and uncaring vibe with my outfit? Does that even matter? Well no, in the long run I would say it is irrelevant. But I would suggest you dress in a way that represents you as a person and it doesn’t hurt to look nice. (Retail side note: Those who come in wearing all brand names and tons of make-up and the perfectly salon styled hair may get a little better treatment cause they will spend the money, but usually…they’re kinda a pain in the tookus to help) Balance is good!

So take this one for what it’s worth, I’ve just got finished with a shift & I admit there were people I chose to not give excellent customer service to because of their appearance. I’ll work on changing that–you take the time to assess what your appearance communicates.

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