25 Ways To Improve Your Store

We’ve learned a lot in our 25 years as a wholesaler.  Here are 25 ways you can improve your store to increase sales and have happier customers.

1) Clean up!  Take an objective look at your store and ask yourself if any part of it could be cleaner.  Customers feel better in a clean store than in one that’s dirty.  Be sure you also look at the outside of your store.

2) Light it up!  Is your store too dark?  Make sure there’s adequate lighting for people to know what they’re buying.  If you’re buying new bulbs, you could look for more efficient ones and save some money on electricity as well.

3) Treat your customers like people!  Be nice.  Have conversations with them.  If they have kids with them, say something nice to the children as well.  You’ll be happier at work, and people will want to come see you again.

4) Treat your employees like people!  Always be friendly to your employees on the retail floor, and if it is necessary to take disciplinary action, don’t do it where customers can’t see or hear you.  I hope that you like your employees, but whether or not you do, the customers will feel better shopping in your store if it looks like you’re all happy together.

4) Good music!  Don’t just play music you like.  Play music your customers like.  And don’t play it too loud.

5) Closeouts!  Unique, good-quality closeout items sell well, and they’ll keep customers coming back to see what’s new.

6) Seasonal Items!  Make sure you have appropriate items for the current season.  Consider holidays, sports and current weather conditions.

7) Targeted merchandise!  Talk to your customers.  Ask them what sorts of things they’d like to see in your store.  You could even have a suggestion box.

8  Complaints!  Handle customer complaints quickly and politely. If people feel like you’re really working to make things right, they’ll keep shopping with you.  Don’t fight with them.

9) Dead merchandise!  Identify slow-moving items and take action. Maybe they need to be in a more visible location.  Maybe the customers don’t like the items.  Move them or remove them and replace them with something better.  Be aware of how your merchandise sells, and keep adjusting the sales floor to make it sell faster

10) Displays!  Look around and see how your items are displayed, and consider moving items around, grouping them together, or putting up a sign to show people where they are.

11) Suggestions! Ask your employees for suggestions to improve the store.  There’s a good chance they see something you don’t see which would improve your business.

12) Give back!  It’s good for the community, and it will bring you business.  You can sponsor the local high-school baseball team or donate to a local charity.  Whomever you support will most likely let people know of your generosity, which will make people more likely to shop in your store.

13) Returns! Make it easy for customers to return merchandise.  This will make customers feel more comfortable about buying from you in the future.

14) Impulse items!  Near the cash register, make sure you have items people forgot they needed, or items they’ll want to buy when they see them.  One great impulse item is the reusable shopping bag.  It saves you money, too.

15) Signs!  Make sure your store is clearly visible from the street, and make improvements to existing signs or add signs in order to attract people passing by.  If people don’t know where you are, they won’t buy anything.

16) Essentials!  If you have essential items people need, like toilet paper, people will be more likely to come to your store when they run out, and they’ll also probably buy something else as well.

17) Snacks!  Make a little extra money and make hungry shoppers happy by selling snack food items.

18) Window display!  If you have a big window in the front of your store, put something good in it.  You may want to put a variety of merchandise in the window, or hire a painter to decorate the window to draw attention to your store and let people know what you’re selling.  You may even want to change the window display on a regular basis to keep it fresh and interesting.

19) Dress for success!  Consider what you wear to work as well as what your employees wear.  You don’t need to start wearing uniforms, but you should make sure you and your employees look good, and that you aren’t wearing anything frightening or offensive.

20) Clear the air!  Does your store stink?  You may want to have one of your friends with a good sense of smell come in and give you an honest opinion.  Sometimes you don’t notice a smell because you’re around it all the time.  Take the appropriate steps to make your store smell nice.

21) Potty room!  Allow customers to use the bathroom.  People really appreciate being allowed to use the bathroom in a store, especially if they have little kids, and they’ll feel better about your store knowing you have a bathroom they can use.

22) Make change!  Don’t deny customers simple requests like making change if they need some quarters to do their laundry.  Enforcing no-change rules like this will make them never want to shop there again, and giving people change will make them feel good about your business.

23) Go to the show!  Attend trade shows to see what’s new in the industry.  It’s not just an excuse to go to Las Vegas.  Going to a wholesale merchandise show is the best way to see what’s new.  You can order items at the show, and you’ll find yourself buying items you never knew existed before the show.  Your store will have a more diverse product line, and your customers will appreciate it.

24) Be available!  Look at your store hours and ask yourself if you’re missing any sales.  If you’re closed, people can’t buy from you.  The opposite is also true.  If your store is open late and has no customers, you may save money by closing earlier rather than paying staff to be open late.  When analyzing this, make sure you consider the day of the week as well as the season of the year.  It may make sense to have different business hours in different seasons.

25) Buy from Kole Imports!  You know I wouldn’t write something without promoting Kole Imports.  At least I waited until the end.  Seriously, we have a great product line, and now that we are concentrating on closeouts, we’ve always got something new and different for you.  See it all at www.koleimports.com

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