Allow us to present the case to you: Some stores choose to operate 9-5 Monday to Friday. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that. Others operate from 10-6, or 12-8, Tuesday to Saturday or weekends only. Why? How do you know you are operating at the

Allow us to present the case to you: Some stores choose to operate 9-5 Monday to Friday. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that. Others operate from 10-6, or 12-8, Tuesday to Saturday or weekends only. Why? How do you know you are operating at the best time?

The important thing for you as a retailer is to do what is best in your situation. However, bear in mind that some local governing bodies have strict laws for opening hours, so before you make drastic changes you should do your research on what is legal for your area.

The case for non-standard working hours

If you choose to remain open outside of standard hours you will net custom that other stores miss out on. Many professional people aren’t going to frequent a retailer during ‘standard working hours’ because they are employed for the same period. A fashion or gift store will bring in commuters for last minute buys – particularly in inner-city locations. A late night coffee shop draws crowds for the same reason – the majority of shops are closed, so patrons notice you.

Staying open costs your company money. Independent retailers often find Mondays to be very quiet (Mondayitis is to blame!) so decide that it’s more economical to close on Mondays. This may be the case for you too: either on specifically quiet weekdays or certain times of the day. Look at when you make your sales, and see where you can trim hours and days.

An independent retailer is essentially running a business for themselves. If you have a clear-cut reason not to operate on weekends, you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. Same goes if you decide opening at 10.00am is a lot more attractive to you than 9.00 am. At the end of the day it’s your choice and you (obviously) will pay the price or reap the rewards for your decision.

What could go wrong?

Be careful, though, to not ostracize people by never being open. Look to your surrounding shops’ hours for ideas. If everyone in your neighbourhood is open on Saturday midday except you, imagine the sales you will lose in this time.

You may also find it difficult to employ staff members who are happy to work unusual hours. Your staff will need to back you up, and run the shop should you be called away so it’s important that you communicate clearly with them the hours they are expected to work.

Obviously every store will have a different set of needs, a unique customer base and a location that will influence their opening hours. In your store, your priority is to be open when the most people want to visit your shop. There’s no right or wrong answers – but remember “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

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