“We’ve tried that and it didn’t work.”  “That might be practical for big stores, but not for us.”
“Our customers don’t like ____.”  “We can’t afford to do that.”

There are so many reasons to reject an idea that an employee comes up with.  And we know that not every suggestion is going to be practical, or successful.  But one of the advantages of being an independent retailer is that you can afford to try something new, and to do it quickly.

The truth is that you won’t know which idea is a good one until you try it out.  Set parameters for the experiment, with a deadline and metrics for measuring its success.  Want to see if customers are interested in a new line of products? Bring in enough to make a statement, and let shoppers vote with their dollars.

Want to see if social media posts attract attention? Track your likes and shares.  Use a coupon to see if advertising works (but don’t forget that repetition is necessary for most ads to be effective).  If you want to know if customers are interested in a new service, such as instruction or repairs, offer it for a period of time and see if it makes a difference in your sales.

Even if all of the ideas your employees come up with are unsuccessful, you have honored their input by trying them out.  And engaged employees give better customers service — which means that there is a benefit to even the worst idea of the month.

Happy Retailing,
Carol “Orange” Schroeder

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