Retail is, as Anya says in that one episode in season 6 of Buffy where she's back from the dead (spoiler alert! Oh wait, that happens in the first season, so technically she's back from the dead the whole time) and trying to regain a hold on life through testing various forms of employment, one of which being working in the magic shop, a fast-paced and exciting world.* A lot can happen in retail. Sometimes you get 3 or 4 customers at once, and then what are you going to do? Or they come in one at a time, just overlapping each other enough that you can't run upstairs to the bathroom in between even though you really really really need to go really bad and you wonder if it's really so bad to just leave them alone in the store for a minute, because you are a really fast peer (pee-er?) and would be back in a jiffy.
Regardless of the customer-flow situation, I have grown to realize over the years that many people just don't know how to give the customer a truly optimal experience. A truly optimal experience will lead to such happy occurrences as goods exchanged for cash which is then divided into a percentage that goes directly into your pocket, as well as an increased likelihood of continual exchanges of this nature. A non-optimal experience will lead to such unhappy occurrences as not getting any money in exchange for anything, merchandise-tossing, angry blog rants, and bludgeoning. Lucky for you, dear lost-soul of a retail employee, I have 5 tested and true tips on how to be the best retail person you can be!
1. Hover just outside of someone's personal space while they're shopping.
This shows that you are available to them to help and puts you in the perfect range for tip #2, whilst maintaining a socially appropriate amount of space for them to move around. They will feel stalked but not inhibited, which is exactly what you're going for with a customer.
2. Make the occasional comment about the things they look at.
Be sure to only say encouraging things that will make them feel confident in their choices, like "Ooooh, that's cute isn't it?" or "That's my favourite piece right now, isn't it just perfect?"
3. Try to make friendly conversation that will trick the person into buying more things from you because they'll like you because you learned about that in psychology class, even though you don't actually have anything real to say.
4. Don't worry too much about knowing where things are in the store, customers like it when they feel like they're discovering things with you!
Shopping is like a safari - it's way more fun if the guide only kind of knows where the lions might be.
5. Always forget to remove at least one security tag from an item.
Especially if you're wrapping a gift for someone. People love staying in the store longer after they've made their purchases, it makes them feel like they're a part of your retail family.
*Ed. Note: Was that a sentence, or was that a sentence? I KNOW!