You are probably looking for places to cut costs before the holidays.
If you adjust staff to meet sales you could be ramping your retail business down - low sales become a self-fulfilling prophecy because customers will have to wait for service.
And with consumer confidence low, if a customer has to wait, they will walk away.
The wrinkle is they will share your uncaring service, your employees who are hammered by trying to do it all during a rush, your brand as a fourth-place retail hell. And tweet, post, and blog about it...
And how does that begin in the first place? By using a scythe to reduce labor when you need a scalpel.
Here's the secret:
Staff for the rushes so the most people see you at your best.
If you are a restaurant, that means you need to make sure to have enough servers on at key times they can have the necessary time to upsell the drinks, the desserts, and the appetizers.
If you are a retail hardware store, you need to make sure to have plenty of people on at key times so they will have the necessary time to talk to the customer and suggest new tools, services, and products so they don’t just walk out with the necessary 25 cent washer for the job.
If you are an apparel retailer, you need enough people on key shopping times so there won’t be a line and employees can be on the sales floor upselling, instead of at the register ringing up.
See also, 9 Secrets To Effectively Managing Retail Employees [Infographic]
Sophisticated software scheduling is quite expensive. How to do without it?
If you are a restaurant, take half-hourly readings of transaction counts by the day for two weeks, you can see when you are busiest on which days and schedule accordingly. If you are a coffee house, you already know 90% of coffee drinkers drink their coffee before 11 am, but knowing how many employees you should have on during that time can only be found by doing this analysis.
If you are a hardware or other retailer, you can also take half-hourly readings of transaction counts but a better gauge would be total sales per half hour. If you can find better software and can afford it, by all means, make the investment to really know the patterns of your customers.
Without this detail, you are bound to guess.
With it, you can build your sales to your staff - training if it isn't busy, taking care of customers when it is.