Increase Efficiency to Reduce Retail Labor Costs

While retailers struggle to maintain their profit margins, labor costs continue to rise. Check out these smart ways to keep them under control.

Fine-tune schedules.

This can be tricky in retail; there may be too many employees on the job when customer traffic is low, or not enough when the store is jammed. Analyze your POS sales data to more accurately schedule the right number of employees for each shift. (Or obtain scheduling software that will do it for you.)

Avoid overtime.

Instead of having your full-time employee work extra shifts at the time and a half, pay a part-time or temporary worker the base rate to cover the same hours.

Eliminate time theft.

A time and attendance app will ensure that employees are not being paid for the time they didn’t actually work: coming in late, leaving early, long breaks, rounding up hours or buddy clocking in/out.

Cross-train employees.

Most people are happy to learn new skills and take on new roles. And you’ll be happy that fewer people are needed to get the work done. Plus, if one employee quits, you’ll have another ready to step in without the costs of a new hire.

Reduce employee turnover.

Recruiting and hiring new employees is expensive; it’s much more cost-effective to keep the ones you have. That doesn’t mean you have to give them raises; the number one reason people leave a job is happiness, not money. Provide opportunities for engagement and career advancement to keep them on board.

Increase employee productivity.

Another benefit of keeping employees happy is that it also keeps them more productive and efficient — up to 20% more, according to some studies. That means you could get the same work out of fewer people.

Re-evaluate wages and pay structures.

  • Check whether your pay rates are consistent with industry norms at PayScale or Glassdoor. If they’re too high, bring them in line for new hires.
  • Convert sales roles to a commission-only pay structure.
  • Give pay raises based on performance, rather than an automatic annual increase.

The best way to reduce labor costs isn’t to reduce staff. It’s to increase efficiency in managing the human resources you already have. That’s how you have your cake and eat it too: keep customer satisfaction while taking a giant step toward improving profit margins.


This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.


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