Your product could be the next best thing since coffee (I told you I was addicted), but having a disorganized store is going to stop customers from buying it.
Whether your store space currently looks like a teen’s bedroom, or you just need to make room to increase your inventory, it’s important to remember to keep your store as organized as humanly possible. Give the high-volume, high-margin products the proper display they deserve.
Even just switching a few things around can have a significant impact on your bottom line. One of the best ways to go about doing this is to make sure the customer feels important, starting the very moment they step into your store.
Follow these tips to maximize your retail space:
Welcome the Customer
Aside from the actual greeting of the customer (which you or your employees should always be doing), the ‘decompression zone’ (the spot directly inside the door) needs to be open and welcoming. Your customer should get a feel for the overall layout right away, without being distracted by a bunch of products.
Tip: Place a display about 10 to 15 feet back from the front door. Make sure this display is organized and shows the customer the types of products they will see throughout the store. Think of it as a summary of your inventory. Nesting tables are an excellent choice for entry displays, since they work for practically any product.
If you’re not sure which products to put out there, look for your newest inventory or any particularly awesome sale items that will make your customer excited to look around the rest of the store. Make sure your brand’s personality shines through here, and place some unique products out to set the tone for the customer’s experience and set you apart from your competition.
Help the Customer
In terms of customer service, this is the point where you ask them what they are looking for (in accordance to your store’s own phrasing), and offer to help them find what they need.
When it comes to maximizing your retail space, this is where having a clear arrangement really comes into play. Think like a customer: Consider the path you want them to take when they come through your store. What do you need to change to guide them down that path, rather than just wander around willy nilly?
The path they should be taking would ideally pass all of your products, since this would maximize your sales. Have linear, consecutive aisles with an organized (and clear!) path throughout the store. If your space is circular, remember most people turn right when they enter a room. Plan accordingly.
Freestanding fixtures paired with high-quality tables are great additions to the layout of your store. These versatile options will keep the store organized, as well as allow for flexibility when you want to change layouts. Freestanding fixtures also serve as a focal point that will grab the customer’s attention.
Entice the Customer at Checkout
Checkout spots (almost) always get me. I’m standing in line, waiting to pay. I spot something interesting, and take a peek at it. Suddenly, my 3 items has turned into about 8. Do I absolutely need them? Probably not. In that moment, though, I want them and they are available. I’d forgotten all about the fact those things even existed, and I am absolutely positive this would be a GREAT chance for me to pick them up.
It’s important to make sure the checkout spaces are easily accessible and free of obstruction, since great organization will turn browsers (especially people waiting with their friends) into paying customers. Little items, popular products, gift ideas (holidays are great for this!), and other related things that get lost out there on the floor are great places to start.
You also want to make sure the customer has enough room to lay down their entire purchase at once. (Yes, 169 cans of cat food CAN fit on that belt.) If things look cluttered, customers will focus on how large their purchase looks in that space, and will dissuade themselves from buying several things. It also gives people a negative feeling, which doesn’t do well for your reviews.
Making Things Easy on the Customer
Let’s say you have some time to kill before you have to be at the next place you need to go. You think of how much you miss your super fluffy dog at home, and how much you wish you didn’t have to go to this next thing because you would rather be at home with Fluffydoodles.
You decide to pick up a fun new toy, or tasty treat, for him. You head into that pet store over there ,but end up getting a big headache from having to duck down all the time to peer underneath the sparsely stocked shelves. It looks like a zombie apocalypse has been going on, even though nothing all that cool is happening.
Now, after ducking down several times, you’re eventually going to just give up on trying to find something on the shelves. You’ll probably just look at some of the pretty fish and head on out. Without buying a single thing.
Had you been really looking for something specific, you may have taken the time to duck down a few more times and look through everything available. But, you weren’t REALLY looking for something. You just wanted to pass the time, and Fluffydoodles DOES already have plenty of toys and treats at home. It would have been nice to pick something up, but it wasn’t essential. If something was easy to find, you would have grabbed it, but nothing was easy to find. Had this store properly “faced” its merchandise (moved the items to the front-most part of the shelves), things would have been more visible and far more convenient to you as a potential customer.
Always make sure your store is properly faced. This gives the illusion of a perfectly stocked store, regardless of whether or not there are actually only 3 cans in two of those lines. By making everything appear full stocked, things are easier on the shoppers – it makes it easy to find what they need, compare that to similar items on the shelves, decide that is what they are looking for, and put it into their shopping carts or baskets.
Additionally, make sure the products are in the right spot. Customers love to do this thing where they pick something up, walk around, decide they don’t want it, and then set it down in some random spot. By doing a sweep of your store several times a day, you can ensure products are kept in their correct places. This maximizes your retail space by keeping everything as organized and convenient for the customer as possible.
Impress the Customer
Your customer is the royalty of your store. They are the reason you have money, and they should be treated to the best signs and displays you can afford.
Find the types of displays that work best for your store, and then find the right manufacturer for the job. Things to take into consideration include:
- Construction: The construction and materials need to be of high-quality. Your customers will interact with your displays every day. Strong, premium materials that will last are important.
- Durability: Cheap fixtures actually cost more in the long-run, since you have to be constantly repairing and replacing them. It’s just a waste of money. Fixtures are an investment in your company, so treat them accordingly.
- Personalization: Make sure your signs are uniquely yours, and fit in with your store’s color palette. Get them specially sized and shaped to fit the odd space’s within your retail space.
Tip: Signs, banners, cards, etc. are just as important as standing fixtures. Make sure you opt for a professional, experienced graphic designer who will help you maximize your retail space and wow your customers. The best graphic designers aren’t cheap, but they are investment that is well worth every cent.