When I was managing a retail jewelry store, I did 26% of my sales in December. Like everyone else, I hired a bevy of part-timers who had limited experience with sales or jewelry. It was up to me to train them in sales techniques, company policy, and the features and benefits of the different lines of merchandise we carried. All this on top of keeping the store merchandised, clean, and trying to spend as much time on the sales floor as possible.
If I had retail customers who were at their busiest during December, here’s what I would do. I’d call the owner or manager and volunteer to come by early in the day during the week when the stores were least busy and demonstrate the features and benefits of my lines to the sales staff, especially the new ones. I’d be sure they were all educated on the fastest way to order merchandise that was not in stock in their store, and if I could expedite matters, I’d encourage them to call me first.
Then, if it did not violate anyone’s ethics policy, yours or theirs, I might arrange for a snack tray to arrive at some of my best customers’ stores by 11:00AM on Christmas Eve. In my store, Christmas Eve was always a madhouse, and many of my staff would have worked through their lunch breaks. My first year in retail, my district manager went out and ordered a boiled shrimp tray, and decades later, I still remember how much we appreciated it.
This last suggestion isn’t just restricted to retailers. If you have a customer who is a CPA preparing tax returns, I’m sure a snack tray would be greatly appreciated on the 14th of April.
In both cases, the key is not to get in the way or to violate any policies. Call first, find out when the best time to come by would be. If they know you’re coming, they can ask the part-timers to be there. You should know about the ethics policies of retailers. My company wouldn’t allow us to accempt so much as a pencil from a vendor, but other businesses may be different.
Whatever action you take, it should be of help to the retailer, not just an attempt to score brownie points for you..