Have you analyzed your retail store hours lately?
You might be wondering how a retail business could cut 8 hours per week and still grow. I probably wouldn’t believe it either, but numbers don’t lie!
Mid-2017 my sister and I noticed two things during the later hours of weekdays at our home decor store, The Salvaged Boutique. Foot traffic significantly slowed down AND we would get really tired from 4-6pm on weekdays, we often joke that we’re getting old. 🙂
Not to mention that while heading home after closing at 6 pm we were dealing with rush hour traffic.
So I decided to look at our numbers. I used the sales report in our Square Point of Sale system to determine our sales per hour. Then I calculated the percentage of sales per hour. Not only were we right about the slow periods each day, but then when I looked at it in terms of what we were paying ourselves to be there (based on the sales in those two hours) it was disturbing!
NOTE: Use sales data for one or two full years; deduct sales for any special events that might skew the numbers – you only want to use sales for regular store days; determine percentages for hourly sales by dividing sales for each hour by total sales.
So let me break it down, from 4-6 pm:
- We’re not seeing much foot traffic
- Our sales are significantly lower during those hours
- We’re barely paying ourselves to be there
- We’re tired and not as productive
Well, talk about an AHA moment!
We were always afraid to change our hours. From the day we opened, we were extremely committed to our hours and being consistent. We never wanted a customer to show up at our shop and find that we were either not open on time or closed early. Nope, that would NOT be us! Nor did we want to be the business with really limiting hours.
But as soon as I ran the report and did a little math, I found that our customers loved to shop with us from 10 am to 4 pm on Weekdays and of course, on Saturdays.
Yes, we were definitely afraid to close at 4 pm every day and we were not going to do it if it was a selfish decision, but the numbers were right there in front of our faces.
So just before our 2nd year anniversary, we decided to cut our hours. And it’s been one of the best decisions we made for our business and for ourselves.
Best practices for changing your store hours:
Prior to implementing the changes, we made sure we communicated the change in as many ways as we could to our customers. We shared it in our newsletter, we shared it on our website, we changed it on all of our online directory listings, we changed it on our website, we shared it ALL OVER social media and we updated our social media accounts too.
You may also have to change marketing or printed materials. If you have your store hours printed on postcards, business cards, flyers, etc – you’ll have to get these updated too.
What was the result of changing our retail store hours?
Since changing our hours, we haven’t heard anyone complain, we get to avoid traffic jams while heading home, we get two more hours to ourselves, and the best part? We still grew 30% in 2017 with most of that growth occurring in the last quarter of the year.
Why did we grow? It’s a combination of reasons I’m sure, but part of it is we were more focused during the hours we were open and we weren’t getting drained by the long hours. We continue to be consistent and we are more customer-driven than ever – this taught us to listen more to our customers, what they want, and how/when they shop – even if it’s indirectly by analyzing data.
We are a very customer-service driven business and we want to be the best we can be, but when we aren’t providing value to our customers and we aren’t providing value to ourselves, change must happen.
Take some time to ask yourself these questions:
- Do you notice slow periods in your business?
- Have you looked at your sales data?
- Have you reviewed your sales per hour?
- Is it financially worth it to be open during certain hours?
- Could you use those extra hours to take better care of yourself?
- Could you use those extra hours to handle other tasks?
If you are looking to be a savvy business owner, this is the place for you.
Want to engage with fellow shopkeepers? Join the Savvy Shopkeepers Facebook Group. (A free group for women who own an online shop or brick & mortar store and would like to learn from each other.)
I look forward to sharing how I’ve been able to help build, market and manage a retail store with my sister—all on a budget. ~ Kathy