Retail Opening & Closing Checklist: Store Procedures Guide

Revel Blog | Julie Holkeboer | June 16, 2020 |


In retail, smooth-running store operations start long before a customer walks in. The clean floors, cool air, fully stocked shelves, and well-arranged aisles are a product of careful planning and efficient systems. One such system is the implementation of retail store opening and closing procedures to ensure nothing falls through the cracks in the daily, weekly, and monthly running of the store. A good store manager understands that closing and opening a store are key parts of the day, and ensures a retail opening and closing checklist is followed strictly to maintain high standards and promote staff safety.

Though businesses are different, and you may have adjusted procedures as a result of COVID-19, here is a basic checklist of retail and warehouse opening and closing procedures you can apply to ensure streamlined operations throughout the day. 

Opening the Business

Getting ready for business can be hectic if you are all over the place trying to do everything at the same time. Ensure your day takes off on the right foot with this opening a retail store checklist that covers all the bases. 

1. Preparation

A good practice for store managers is to arrive at the business premises at least thirty minutes before opening time. But before you leave the house, make sure you have your keys and anything else you will need for the day. Forgetting something important and having to rush back home would be a time-wasting mistake.

Opening and closing times are considered high-risk periods for robberies. Because of this, it is advised that no less than two people be on hand for the store opening process. Making sure everyone is on time is key. 

2. Building Inspection

Before you open the store, do a walk around the building or outside of the store premise. Inspect windows, doors, air vents for signs of forced entry. If there is any tampering inside or outside the store, call the police and do not enter.

As you inspect the building, your colleague should carefully observe the surroundings for any suspicious behavior like loitering nearby or unfamiliar cars. Do not proceed if you notice anything unusual. 

3. Entry

Once you are sure that it is safe, open the store door and relock it after entry. Disable the alarm. If your security system requires a panic or distress code, make sure all members who open the store are familiar with it. Store doors should never be left unlocked before the store opens. Employees should be let in one at a time and the door locked after each entry. 

If your store’s security system includes security cameras, ensure the tapes are changed and the unit is recording. 

4. General Inspection

After turning on the lights, it’s time to get down to business. Walk the floor to do a store evaluation:

  • Are there any wet spots on the floor, walls, or ceilings? This could be a sign of a faulty HVAC system, a leaky roof, or plumbing issues. 
  • Any traces of vermin or pests? It may be time to call the exterminator. 
  • Inspect the housekeeping. Go over areas where necessary, making note of any feedback to give the staff or cleaning service.
  • Check that all shelves are stocked and tags are well arranged. 
  • Make sure the in-store signage is up to date. Take down any signs for promotions that may have ended the previous day.

5. Turn on Electronic Systems

Once you’ve ensured everything is where it should be and nothing is wrong, it’s time to turn on your electronic systems.

Turn on and check your cash registers to make sure they are ready to go. Remove the cash register tills from the safe. If your registers do not have sufficient funds, count the money you will need away from the sight of the front door.

Boot up your computers or retail POS system, televisions, sound systems, and activate the air conditioning. Ensure your screens are showing the correct promotions with accurate and current details. 

6. Prepare the Storefront

Whether your store is in a mall or a stand-alone building, it is your responsibility to make sure your store-front is appealing. Clear out any litter or debris and place any outdoor signs and banners you may have. Also look at your display window from the outside to make sure your display is appealing and nothing is out of place. 

7. Hold a Staff Meeting

After creating your daily task-list and lunch and break schedules, call a short meeting with all the staff of the shift. Assign the duties and make sure everyone understands what they have to complete within the day. You should also go over any important information such as daily targets and notices for the upcoming period.

As the effects of COVID-19 remain ongoing, make sure your staff is educated on the most up-to-date best practices around health and safety standards. Meeting these standards for your staff and customers is critical to remaining open for business.

You’re all set for the day!

Closing Down at the End of the Day

Closing procedures are important as they determine how the next day will begin. To make sure you don’t overlook any details and create more work for the next morning, here’s a retail store closing checklist to follow. 

1. Prerequisites

Just as with opening the store, some things need to be done before the actual closing time. Wait for all customers to leave the store before turning off any screens or lights. Similarly, make sure all customers have checked out and exited before closing the last register.

As with opening procedures, store closing procedures should be done in pairs or more. You should be even keener on security in the evening, as robbers know there is more likely to be more money on the premises in the evening. 

2. Clearing the Store

Do not rush your customers out of the store, but it is appropriate to make an announcement 15 minutes before closing time. This enables them to wrap up their browsing and head to the registers.

Always confirm that everyone has left the store by inspecting all areas including restrooms, stockrooms, and closets. When this is confirmed, bring in all the banners, signs, and shopping carts that had been placed on the sidewalk or outside the store.

Lock all doors, including the main entrance and exit doors. A supervisor should stand by the door to let customers and employees out, relocking the door after each exit. Customers and employees who are leaving should be observed to ensure they have not carried out any unpaid merchandise. 

3. Restock and Recovery 

Return all non-defective returned merchandise to stock. Staff should start reorganizing items on the shelves while waiting for the customers to leave so that not much straightening up is needed to be done after. 

4. Housekeeping 

When closing a retail store, procedures on cleaning are determined by whether your establishment utilizes an overnight cleaning and restocking service or if the staff does it. On top of clearing the aisles of any merchandise, carts or litter, dusting and mopping the floors is usually done at closing time.

If you use a cleaning crew, preparing a cleaning checklist can help make sure nothing is left undone. However, it is still best to do some light housekeeping to make everyone’s life easier and instill some sense of responsibility.

Empty all trash, but do not place the bags in the dumpster until the next morning. This will deter any theft of product through the trash for later removal.  

5. Closing Registers and POS Systems 

The steps of the closing down process will greatly rely on the size and type of retail business you are running. Here's an example of what a general step by step should look like:

  • Set out a specific time for counting cash and closing all safes and cash drawers. Cash should be counted away from registers, customers lingering in the store, and away from the sight of the front door. 
  • The countdown of money should be witnessed and formally acknowledged by a manager.
  • Turn off your POS hardware
  • Settle all credit card machines.
  • Place the tills in the safe and leave the cash registers open as best practice to avoid damage if a break-in takes place. 

Any retail store should have its own clear and systematic standard operating procedure as well as a cashier cleaning checklist for reconciling sales at the end of the day. 

6. Final Walkthrough

After shutting down any computers, working displays, overhead music, and seasonal items such as lights, televisions, and more, walk the floor one final time before shutting off the lights.

Make sure everything is where it should be, and check that the windows and doors are properly locked. Activate the alarm system and know the duress code before exiting the store through the front door. All closing personnel should leave together. 

Close the doors and double check that they are securely locked before leaving. 

Running a retail business involves many different responsibilities. From leading staff to tracking sales and accounting duties, a store manager must make sure operations run smoothly. That’s why having standard procedures such as this retail opening and closing checklist is important to running a successful business.

Revel Systems understands the need for optimization of business processes. That’s why we’ve created an iPad POS system that greatly simplifies day to day tasks while helping to reduce costs. Schedule a free demo to learn more about our services and how they can help your retail business thrive.