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No matter what you’re selling, a disorganized store filled with cluttered shelves introduces an unnecessary barrier to customer purchases.
Whether you’re looking to clean up your current space, expand, relocate or increase your inventory, it’s important to keep your store organized with high-volume, high-margin products prominently displayed.
A few small changes can have a big impact on your bottom line. Follow these tips to maximize your retail space.
INVITE THE CUSTOMER IN
The space directly inside a store’s doors is known as the “decompression zone.” You want to keep an open space so customers can get a feel for the overall layout without being distracted immediately by products.
One method for balancing an inviting entrance with a sales opportunity is to place a display 10–15 feet back from the front door. The display should be well organized and show customers the types of products they can expect throughout the store. Nesting tables are also a great choice for entry displays since they lend themselves to displaying almost any product.
When deciding what products to feature, look for new inventory and sales items that will make customers excited to explore the rest of your space. Premium, unique offerings can also set the tone for customers’ experience and differentiate you from other stores.
GUIDE THE CUSTOMER
A common challenge of retail stores is a cluttered layout. Many spaces start with a clear arrangement in mind, but as inventory changes, that organization disappears.
Take a moment to consider the path you want customers to take through your store. The route should pass all of your products in order to maximize sales. Aisles that are linear and consecutive offer a clear and organized path through the store. If you are working with a circular space, remember that most people will turn right upon entering a room.
Consider freestanding fixtures mixed with high-quality tables to layout your store. These versatile options keep your store organized, allow for the flexibility to change layouts, and offer different focal points to grab customers’ attention.
DON’T NEGLECT THE CHECKOUT
The space where customers pay is often overlooked when it comes to layout and planning. It’s important to make checkout spaces easily accessible and clear of obstruction to turn browsers into paying customers.
With the right displays, you can maintain organization while still displaying small, inexpensive items that customers are prone to impulsively buy. Frequently purchased items, gift ideas and small items that might get lost in your aisles are a great place to start. It’s also important that a customer has enough space at the checkout to lay down their entire purchase at once.
An unprofessional checkout counter will dissuade purchases and decrease your sales. It also creates a negative lasting impression of your store and could stop visitors from returning.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST DISPLAYS
Once you’ve chosen the types of displays that are right for you, it’s time to turn your attention to finding the right manufacturer. Below are a few features to consider when purchasing new fixtures.
Quality build – Make sure to note the quality of the construction and materials when looking for a fixture manufacturer. Your customers will interact with your displays every day. Choose strong, premium materials to give customers confidence in your products.
Durability – Cheap fixtures can often cost more in the end due to repair and replacement costs. Think of fixtures as an investment in your company that can benefit your store for years to come.
Customization – Custom solutions are a great way to gain an edge on the competition. You can choose specially sized and shaped fixtures to fit your store’s odd spaces, and match the color to your existing color palate. Ask potential manufacturers about what customization options they provide to see what’s right for you.
On-time delivery and customer support – Make sure you find a fixture manufacturer that has a reputation for on-time delivery and strong customer service. Check rating websites like Yelp, Angie’s List or even Google when starting out. Asking for a list of referrals to call can help you understand the experiences others have had when working with a particular company.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the view of Convenience Store News and Convenience Store News for the Single Store Owner.