Today's article is all about how to get the benefits of checklists from retail businesses perspective by increasing productivity, time management, and reducing errors. We'll also let you know which are the current best tools out there to create and edit checklists in your store, more specifically, on a POS system, so keep reading if you want to know more about how to boost your store's efficiency with checklists.
What is a checklist?
They're often confused with to-do lists, however, they have a lot more to offer than that. A checklist is a sequence of steps previously developed for repetitive task management and recurring processes. A simple way to explain the difference between them would be that to-do lists register what you need to do, while checklists specifically tell you the steps to do it correctly.
What are the benefits of using checklists?
Nowadays, checklists have become a very important part of the life of a huge amount of people in the retail store's area. And what’s not to like about them? Their main goal is to make you remember your tasks in a very structured and organized way so that you don’t miss any of the steps in a sequence, and as a result, you end up delivering the best results possible.
Now, from brick and mortar store's point of view, these facts, of course, apply as well. Checklists are an amazing tool for any type of business, but especially for retailers. Given the nature of that kind of business, they can be totally benefited from using the proper checklists according to their individual needs and workflow, and therefore, the in-store experience is enhanced. Here you have a list with the top benefits of using checklists for retailers:
Customization: Not only these wonderful tools can be completely personalized depending on the size and type of your retail store. You can use checklists for any routine activity you can imagine and get better results out of them. This way, you can turn any frequent in-store task into a series of ordered instructions to be followed by your staff.
Time organization: Checklists are capable of helping you organize pending tasks, this way you avoid forgetting about them. They can also give you better criteria for time and staff management, providing a more efficient way to make sure employees, or even yourself as a store owner, complete the daily goals of the business.
Standardizing procedures: Another huge benefit of checklists is the ability to create a pattern or model to be followed by every store employee who needs to do the same task in the future. A checklist of the recurring procedures will increase the effectiveness of the results. It's important to mention that all the steps listed should be previously thought out by the person in charge of the specific task, so it guarantees the process is being performed accurately and the instructions are logically ordered.
When can you use a checklist?
As it's been mentioned before, checklists can be used in any aspect of a person's life, but they turn out to be particularly useful when applying them in retail stores. The best part of a checklist is that you can customize it for anything you want to, and if you aim them in a brick and mortar store, you can get a whole bunch of advantages that will improve the business' time efficiency and organization. Checklists can be applied to any size of the task, even the tiniest ones. However, from both physical and online stores' points of view, the repetitive daily tasks are the ones that might benefit the most out of checklists. Here we show you a brief categorization of their common uses:
Daily recurring tasks:
Store opening/closing: This might seem very basic, but daily repetitive tasks like these are the ones employees of retail businesses tend to forget the most. It never hurts to be a little more careful with this kind of responsibility, since forgetting to do a key step when opening or closing the store could bring serious consequences that can be prevented with a checklist.
Cash register closeout: Store owners need to make sure their businesses keep track and document all of their financial data. Having accounting software might be a great plus, but even if you have one, it is important to protect not only yourself as the owner but also your staff. The main reason to do a daily cash register closeout is to prevent shortages caused by inaccurate cash handling or theft, and a daily checklist for this adds a security layer.
Security checks: Owning a physical store comes along with lots of security checks, and one convenient tool for these matters is a good security system. Extra security measures like cameras and even guards promote trust and safety among the public and staff, so a good security plan followed by a checklist would be unbeatable.
Cleaning checks: A retail store that takes pride in its cleanliness might as well attract new customers, this is why making sure everything is pristine clean every day is so important, and having a checklist for it could make the difference.
Not so frequent tasks:
Product inventory: We all know that inventory management tasks sometimes get kind of bothersome and time-consuming, no matter the size of the business we're dealing with. Since these tasks are basically constant tracking and updating the number of products the store possesses, they can be standardized with a checklist. This way, every time an inventory management assignment is done, it follows an organized and previously designed model for efficiency purposes. It can also help to keep your employees motivated and in case they're not familiar with a process, having a checklist with the steps to follow will allow them to quickly learn how to do a specific task.
Sales reports: Keeping track of your store sales level is a major KPI every merchant should mind about. One of the main marketing objectives of every store is to sell products and also to attract new customers, so in order to achieve them and start selling more and more of your products, you'll need to be constantly analyzing both your online and offline sales. In that case, performing monthly sales reports with the help of a checklist is a great solution.
Sales tax payments: Your tax payment frequency will depend on your sales volume, and it is recommended to create a recurring checklist according to this frequency that might vary between monthly, quarterly, and annually. It is very important to constantly document and track your store operations and always file your tax return to the state.
Receipt organization: Now that people are using cash less and less every day, a point of sale system with its receipt printer is a way of both providing flexible payment methods that let customers feel comfortable when paying, and also creating safe bank statements that can be supported by the point of sale receipts for accounting purposes. This way your store allows Shopify payments while also easily keeping track of every transaction done.
Training new employees: Physical stores are probably one of the types of businesses in which staff members are constantly being changed, this makes store managers hire new people who will, of course, need some training. Setting a checklist for staff training on a specific task allows store managers to create a pattern that every new member of the staff will have to follow in order to serve customers in the best way possible.
Weekly/monthly staff meetings: A great way to ensure your store operations are running smoothly is by doing weekly or monthly meetings with all of your staff members so you can discuss how your business is doing from every point of view. You can create a checklist to be followed in each meeting and talk about specific topics, set areas of improvement in your retail business, develop a group strategy for in-store sales, etc.
Management meetings: This is kind of similar to the previous one but in this case, the meeting will be with only management staff. This way you can evaluate your staff members privately and discuss whether or not they should stay with you, how they serve customers, develop staff management strategies, etc.
Why Are Checklists Important for Your Business?
The ability to efficiently run a store requires careful attention, however, most retail businesses don't actually mind about it. That's why retailers are fully encouraged to make specific checklists for each repetitive task on their store's daily routine, such as the ones mentioned before. By doing so, you and your staff ensure that everyday operations run smoothly and that no important step or task gets unnoticed. Running a daily checklist is the most efficient way to make sure all your processes are being done in your physical store.
It doesn't matter if you own brick-and-mortar stores, pop-up shops, eCommerce stores, a retail business, or even an online store, the use of checklists can be adapted to any type of business depending on their workflow and complexity of the tasks the business normally does. Every store manager wants to make sure activities and tasks are being efficiently completed in their store location, and checklists are an amazing tool to plan ahead how exactly you want your employees to do a specific task and keep everything organized.
Staff Point of View: From Store Owners to In-Store Managers
As a store manager, the focus tends to be on long-term strategies to achieve or improve business success. This can be accomplished by establishing goals and designing a specific workflow, which includes individual tasks to complete each goal. Of course, each task can include a checklist that ensures every step in it is taken the way it should be. This way, while your staff is focused on their daily customer management activities, you can provide them with a checklist as a guide to how you expect them to perform their tasks.
This would be convenient from a store owner's point of view since checklists also allow them to delegate responsibilities and pending tasks by giving their employees all the tools and steps needed to successfully complete them. If your staff members have a guide to a new complex task they will feel a lot more confident when doing it and at the same time, you'll make sure your instructions are being followed. Checklists have been proving to all of us that mistakes can be reduced and productivity can be increased if you properly apply them.
Top Checklists for Retail Stores
It is important to keep every member of your staff on the same page as you are, and as mentioned before, you can do this by establishing daily checklists they can follow step by step to maximize efficiency and make sure nothing is forgotten. Retailers are encouraged to complete their daily checklists as a routine, starting them at the same hour every day and ensuring every little detail is taken into account. Here you have a list of the top checklists you can apply in your store:
Daily Store Opening:
- Do a security check.
- Perform daily cleaning.
- Power on electronic equipment and other appliances.
- Launch the point of sale system.
- Enter the daily cash float.
- Verify all displays work properly.
- Restock shelves as needed.
Pre-shifts Daily Meeting:
- Talk about the store's goals.
- Discuss new promotions.
- Introduce brand-new products to everyone.
- Discuss any incidents.
- Point out the highlights and congratulate your team.
- Set improvement areas.
Daily Cash Register Closeout:
- Make sure there is always one person per drawer.
- Obtain the point of sale report.
- Count the amount of cash available.
- Check for discrepancies.
- Record all transactions in the cash drawer.
Daily Store Closing Checklist:
- Make sure all areas are clean.
- Inspect shelves for restocking.
- Process orders.
- Run end of day reports.
- Verify cash drops.
- Check security cameras.
- Turn off electronic equipment and POS.
- Lock all the doors up.
- Create a monthly report document.
- Keep your audience in mind.
- Include convenient KPIs.
- Establish your current and previous periods.
- Collect the appropriate data.
- Present the data with charts and graphics.
- Double-check the information.
- Explain the results obtained.
Sales Tax Payments
- Make sure your product/services are subject to sales tax.
- Register for a sales tax permit.
- Calculate the sales tax rate you must charge.
- Collect the sales tax at your point of sale or checkout cart.
- Send sales tax returns and payments to the state.
- Keep all receipts
- Make notes on receipts about their business purpose
- Scan receipts and keep them at least for 6 years
- Have your receipts emailed to you
- Don't rely on bank/credit card statements
- Avoid cash
Retail Store Inventory
- Print out the current inventory list.
- Assign each employee to a different section of the store.
- Go through each item on the list and count the current stock.
- Markdown on your printout how many items you actually have.
- Go through any damages or returns you may have.
- Reconcile the hand count with the printed count.
- Update your inventory software with the correct amounts.
How Not to Use Checklists?
Now that all the benefits and advantages of checklists are crystal clear, I think that knowing what to avoid while using them is as important as what to do. So, here you have some tips to boost your checklist experience:
Ticking off the checklist: Some people forget to tick off their checklist's items as they complete them and end up with a disorganized mess, this prevents the checklist to follow a sequence of steps and as a result, mistakes can be made and productivity goes down.
Allow flexibility in your checklist: Take time to do other things besides the ones listed and don't get too attached to your checklists. You should also include spontaneous activities so you can enjoy some time with yourself.
Avoid checklists overload: Even something as useful and convenient as a checklist can be unfavorable for your routine if you overuse it. Having too many checklists can create a huge pressure on you and affect your productivity.
Find a convenient software to work with your checklists: You need to take advantage of all the tools available for you, there are plenty of apps and templates that provide you a digital platform to create and customize your checklists, you just need to select the most convenient one for your needs.
What's the best tool to use Checklists on Shopify POS?
So, after hearing about the advantages of using checklists in your retail store, what would you say if all the benefits of a checklist can be brought into your store's POS system? Well, it is as convenient as it sounds. If you're already a Shopify POS user or if you're a Shopify store owner and want to become one, this information is for you.
Shopify point of sale is one of the best-reviewed POS systems given its numerous benefits and it will allow you to easily customize your checklists. However, it cannot be natively done. In order to have a checklist feature you need to download a Shopify POS app from the app store, and it has to be compatible with the POS. Shopify app store is integrated into the POS software, so you'll be able to find hundreds of apps that can add new features to your POS experience. This time, we'll focus on EasyTeam and how it can help your in-store management through its checklists feature.
Just imagine how convenient it would be to manage your checklists right into your physical store's main tool, sounds great, right? Well, EasyTeam offers way more than that, But in the meantime, we'll just be talking about the checklist feature. Thanks to EasyTeam's features, brick and mortar retailers can be benefited from applying checklists directly on their Shopify POS software given how handy and useful having them right into your store's POS system.
As you can see in the image above, checklists can be created and edited on EasyTeam's website. All you have to do is click on the Checklists section and there you'll be able to create and personalize your checklists for the task you need them to. Below you will see all the properties you can customize once you create the checklist:
Checklist name: This is how you will identify your checklist from the rest, you won't be able to have more than one checklist with the same name.
Store location: In here, you will select in which locations exactly you want your checklist to be available. The feature allows you to select both single and multiple locations. For stores with several locations, it is really useful to have the ability to select in which of them they want a specific checklist to be seen and completed.
Frequency: This part allows you to select between the 3 frequencies available, which are Daily, Weekly, and Monthly so you can split your checklists depending on the most recurring tasks of your store.
Permissions: Here you can set who is able to use the checklist, the feature allows you to use Admin, Manager, and Staff permissions.
Description: In this part, you can add a brief description so other people know what's the checklist about.
Adding tasks: This tab is right next to the Checklist Properties, and here is where you can list the steps of every checklist you create. Once you're done, all you need to do is click on Publish and your creation will be available to add to the POS system.
This feature allows you to know who, when, and how many times the checklist has been completed. Here you have a brief tutorial on how to create a checklist on EasyTeam's website:
1- Login to your account.
2- Click on the Checklists section.
4- Click on the blue "+" sign circle to create a new checklist.
5- Customize your checklist properties such as name, store's location (single or multiple locations), permissions, and frequency.
6- Add all the tasks you want to your checklist.
7-If you have any doubts, you can click on the question mark circle to watch the quick tutorials.
7- That's it! Enjoy creating your first checklist!
This feature is available on the POS system too, so you and your staff will be able to upload the checklists directly on the mobile device where your POS app is installed. This allows admins to remotely customize and have complete control of the elements of the checklist and then sync them with the store employees. Here you have the steps to upload your previously created checklists into your Shopify POS system:
Adding EasyTeam's Tile to the dashboard:
- Log in with your unique staff PIN.
- Go to the dashboard.
- Click on Add Tile.
- Select Apps.
- Select EasyTeam.
- Select Store Checklists.
Accessing the checklists:
- Go to the dashboard.
- Click on the tile you've just created.
- Enter your unique PIN code.
- Enjoy your checklists!
As soon as you log in with your PIN code, the system will recognize your permissions, location and this way it'll give you access to the checklists available for you. EasyTeam also has quick tutorials in every section of its website, so users can be guided through any process and feature they want to make use of.
Even though sometimes it might be a little time-consuming to create, edit and customize a proper checklist for a specific task, after everything we've talked about it's been made clear that checklists are so worth it and can help us manage our daily tasks in the most organized and convenient way possible. You just need to ensure every checklist is logically designed for its specific purpose and then you can start applying them and of course, receiving its benefits. Almost any size of business can adopt checklists to its convenience, but they turn out to be especially handy for retail stores. So, if you're a store owner looking for better time management and a productivity increase, then you should start applying the tips mentioned here.