Dollar Store Strategies

What do customers want when they are shopping at a dollar store?  And what would they buy in a dollar store, even though they didn’t know they wanted it when they walked in the door?

These are relatively simple questions, the answers to which are fairly complex, and vary depending on the location of the store.  How do you answer them?

Obviously, if you’ve been running a dollar store for a while, you know what your best-selling items are, as well as your best-selling types of items.  This is the first place to think about adding items to your inventory.  If  wrenches are selling really well, do you carry nuts and bolts?  If not, you should put some on the shelf and see how they do.   This is called adding a complementary item, and it’s a basic retail strategy which works great.

 If a 16-ounce travel coffee mug is a great seller, you should add some other styles of travel mug to your inventory.  The dollar store customer will have more choices, and if you sell out of one item, people will likely buy the style you have left, which means you didn’t miss out on the sale.  Offering a few different types of a popular item is a great way to generate consistent sales, and to compensate for sold-out items. 

Look around your dollar store for impulse items.  Do you have enough items people will want when they see them?  Are these items placed in obvious locations near the front of the store, or near related items on your shelves.  If someone doesn’t know they’re going to buy something, they need to easily find it.  It’s a simple concept.  Look around your store and see if it’s true in your situation.  A few examples of great dollar store impulse items are toys, lip balm, sunglasses, candy, iPod cases, and small tools.  I’m sure you can think of many more.  When you’re placing an order with a dollar store merchandise wholesaler, think about this when considering what new items to buy.  Do it right, and you’ll increase the average order size, and you’ll make your customers even happier. 

Get into the habit of asking yourself simple questions about how you can improve your store, and over time your sales will improve, and your customers will be happier.  You can also ask your customers what sort of things they’d like to see in your store, and pay attention when they tell you what they’d like to buy that you don’t carry.

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