When you start to work in retail, there can be a lot of new terms and abbreviations that are unfamiliar to you. Learning how to run the cash register and navigate the sales floor can be tough on their own, but they are even tougher when you don’t know what your manager is talking about. Let’s break down some common retail terms and phrases so that starting your new job can be a little bit easier.
One of the first terms you may hear is SPAH or SPH, which means “sales per hour” or “sales per average hour”. This can apply to your sales as an individual employee, or it can apply to the store’s overall performance for the hour. Stores track this in order to determine what their busiest times of day are, so they know when they need more employees, and they also keep track of the SPAH so they can strive to perform better than previous hours, or the same time the previous year. Many stores have a set expectation or goal that they expect each employee to hit dependent upon their position on the sales floor for their shift.
Another key term that you may hear while working is POS, or “point of sale”. This is more commonly heard when working on the cash register, as the register is the point where the sale is made (hence the phrase POS). This means that transactions are done at this point, and it is where credit cards are sent through the transaction process, which involves many parties, various steps, yet takes place in only a matter of seconds.
Learning how to work the POS system is important, because if an error is made while processing a customer’s credit card, they can dispute the charge with the bank and file a complaint against your store. The customer’s bank will charge a fee for retrieving the transaction data from the store, and if an error is found, a chargeback fee will also be made in addition to the money that needs to be refunded directly to the customer. So, in other words, a mistake can cost a lot of money!
Finally the POS is important to understand because you may be asked to run a mobile POS or an on-the-go POS if the cash register line is too busy. This is done through processing customers’ credit cards by using a mobile phone or tablet that an associate carries on the sales floor during especially busy hours. It can be run through services such as Square, which provides a merchant or business with a small card reader to attach to the portable device, or through another similar service.
Things run fast in the retail world, and it can be difficult to keep up, especially when you’re new. But now that you’re caught up on the common abbreviations that you may encounter in your new job on the sales floor, hopefully the transition gets just a little bit easier and you can do your best at the POS.