10 Operational Failures That Hurt a Retailer’s Image and Sales

Christopher Fifelski recently posted this list of Top 10 Retail Failures to the District Managers and Retail Operations group on LinkedIn, a Bindy-moderated professional group with over 40,000 members. With his permission, we are cross-posting Chris’ list on this blog.

We also thank the other industry professionals who have contributed to the discussion, including Adele Bevan, Lila Paradise, Thomas Braemer, Ron Haines, Steven Ward, Heather Van Schoick and Dale K. Lane.

Contributions like these remind us that that there is no substitute for experience and that success in the retail space does not happen by chance, it is earned through vision coupled with consistent and purposeful execution.

Top ten operational failures that hurt a retailer’s image and sales

10. Broken / dirty shopping carts and baskets.
9. Products with dust or mold on the package.
8. Associates smoking at the main store entrance.
7. Missing or incorrect price labels or ad signs.
6. Products incorrectly merchandised or incorrectly placed.
5. Broken displays or damaged merchandise on the shelf.
4. Hot advertised products that are out-of-stock.
3. Rude cashiers dressed inappropriately.
2. Broken down or slow registers or other technology failures.
1. Managers who fail to engage with their customers and associates.

And a few bonus “failures”…

1. Background music blasting. – Adele Bevan
2. Messy bathrooms and broken water fountains. – Adele Bevan
3. Sign and parking lot light timers not set correctly leaving a dark lot. – Lila Paradise
4. Winter snow. After the lot is plowed, there needs to be pathways shoveled to get in the front door without climbing over a snow mountain. Entry ways shovelled and salted. – Lila Paradise

Gaining visibility into your sites also makes them accountable
5. Insufficient or poor scheduling/staffing. – Ron Haines
6. Stock issues. – Ron Haines
7. Poor or inadequate showroom floor lighting. – Steven Ward
8. Dead flies on the window sills, dirty windows & cobwebs. – Steven Ward
9. Staff that does greet each customer with a smile. – Steven Ward


Refer to the Retail Audits and Inspections category for how-tos and best practices for retail audits and inspections.

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