Retailer Risks

A code of ethics in retail is just as important as a great marketing strategy or must-have products. Without the right ethics, you can easily lose both customers and employees.

Training employees on the expected ethics for your retail business helps ensure a better experience for your customers. And, of course, that helps boost your bottom line.

Create A Better Team Environment

In retail, everyone has to work well together. They don’t have to be best friends, but they do need to respect each other and get along. Happier employees create a more positive experience for customers too. But, if you have employees who can’t trust each other, harass each other or even try to cheat each other, it spells disaster for your store.

Developing a code of ethics in retail lets all employees know what is expected from them. It showcases how they should interact with each other and what is and isn’t appropriate. By knowing this upfront, employees are able to report issues that violate the code of ethics, helping to create a more ethical workplace.

Hold Employees Accountable

As a retail owner or manager, you’re not always going to be around to see everything an employee does. However, a code of ethics in retail spells out how employees need to conduct themselves. This includes treating customers fairly, not stealing, being honest about hours worked (including not taking extended breaks and lunches without prior approval) and more.

If all employees are held to this same standard, you can implement an ethics hotline for employees to report violations. If most of your employees are trying to be ethical, they’ll report the ones who aren’t. This helps reduce the amount and frequency of violations as unethical employees know their behavior isn’t tolerated by the business or their co-workers.

Increase Customer Satisfaction

While customers can be difficult sometimes, it’s important for employees to know how to interact with them. If a customer is upset, yelling at them won’t work. Treating them with respect and even knowing when to ask for backup shows the customer that the store is respectful and willing to help customers.

From being available to help when a customer needs something to not trying to scam them, a code of ethics in retail is critical for defining the proper behavior for employees. For instance, an employee might secretly charge customers full price during a sale or purposely mis-mark items to boost their commission or just pad their own pockets. If any of this becomes common knowledge, customers won’t come back.

Hold The Store Accountable

Employees aren’t the only ones that a code of ethics in retail affects. Management and owners are also held accountable through the same code. This means treating employees fairly and equally. For instance, two employees at the same level, who’ve been with the company the same amount of time should be paid the same. Also, overtime hours should be paid overtime pay. Of course, manipulating employees by threatening their job is also unfair.

There are also instances where employees are blamed for something a manager did. Or, employees notice the store purchasing sub-par or knock-off items to sell as the real thing. An ethics hotline allows employees to report all of this to help improve the reputation and ethics of the entire store. In the end, this helps increase customers and profits.