Convenience retailers have unique challenges when it comes making sure every customer is satisfied with the point of sale experience. One of the best ways to prepare for the range of challenges front line employees face is to provide practice situations where the stakes are low and the opportunity for learning is high.
This leads us to our next best practice #6
Simulate Difficult Situations That Occur at the Point-of-Sale
Retailers are some of the most talented when it comes to guessing age. When checking IDs for an age restricted product, employees look at customers, then look at their IDs and check the date-of-birth. After enough repetition, it may get easier to guess how old someone is.
And this talent can sometimes get in the way. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how old a customer looks, it’s whether they are carded. The FDA requires everyone under 30 be carded.
This brings us to Best Practice #5
Running a retail business requires solid multi-tasking skills. Keeping the store running -- making sure everything is stocked, systems are running properly and ensuring customers are happy is a demanding job.
On top of these responsibilities is that of keeping on top of laws, regulations and store policies. In the case of tobacco and vaping products, the FDA regulates the sale and states do too. Plus, your store policies may be designed to support these laws and the safety of your employees.
Training every employee in person can be a challenge. Keeping track of new requirements for selling age restricted products requires constant monitoring and it’s easy to fall behind.
With new technologies, employers can offer regular training, new training and refresher training ON DEMAND. This means that rather than requiring a new employee to sit through a scheduled class or take time away from other pressing tasks, employees can take training at their own pace and sometimes from their home.
Onboarding new hires involves many steps, from completing tax forms to company orientation meetings.
One thing we heard many years ago was that when an employee was found not carding, the retailer would often say that they signed a form indicating they would ask for ID and “card” as the company directed.
What we also found back then is that this process was used as a placeholder for regular training – and that on-the-job training was done right after the employee signed their forms. No warm-up. No practice. Just go live.
Over the years, we’ve heard from hundreds of retailers asking questions about what to do in certain scenarios. We have always advised to check first to see if there’s a store or company policy that answers their question. If there’s no store policy and no answer, we suggest they develop a policy.
Federal government studies seem pretty clear as to how these products predominately get into underage hands. Retailers should be aware of this information so that they can be best prepared to identify-and-deny underage attempts to purchase age-restricted products.