We get up every morning. We make our way into work. We start our day.
The routine becomes predictable and, in time, we even find comfort in that predictability. It’s actually nature’s way of helping us cope and survive. After you’ve done something often enough, your brain tunes out those things that it feels aren’t an immediate threat to your safety or security. It’s the same reason why you may have a long, boring commute to work, but sometimes you can barely recall the drive.
This leads to the subject of the first edition of Pro Tip Recap – Cleanliness to Creativity. It’s all about breaking our routines, reexamining our surroundings and opening our eyes to the possibilities.
Let’s start with a topic that often gets people a little hot under the collar.
So, it’s Friday night and your store is packed. As usual, it’s getting a little hot and folks are stepping outside to cool off. Some are even making the decision to go home.
What happened? Customers used to stay in your store until their shopping was done. Now they slip out the first chance that they get.
You might want to ask yourself, “When was the last time that I changed my air conditioner filters?”.
It’s important to note that, depending on the type of lease that you have, you are probably responsible for changing your stores air conditioner filters. If not, you’ll want to check your buildings maintenance schedule with your landlord.
Just remember, when people come in to your store, they bring dust and pollen with them, so to be on the safe side, you should check your filters at least once a month. Also, the busier you are, the more frequently you should check them.
Lastly, make sure that all of your air ducts are dust free. Even the slightest amount of blockage can restrict air-flow drastically.
Now, go forth and keep your customers happy, comfortable, and shopping.
“91% of shoppers select a store to shop in because of it’s appearance.” (Progressive Grocer). Let that sink in for a moment.
Hopefully, your staff is dusting your store shelves on a regular basis. The most common shortcut that associates take is only cleaning the exposed areas of your shelves.
The main concern there is that your customers will be picking up games and books to exam them and they are going to see every section that your staff missed.
The best way to solve this problem is a rotating thorough cleaning schedule. Each day of the week, a member of your staff should be deep cleaning a section of the store. They should be touching every item in that section. This means, moving, examining, and cleaning every item on the shelf (including the shelf).
By doing this, they are not only keeping your store clean and inviting, but they are monitoring product levels, checking for damaged inventory, and looking for remnants of stolen merchandise.
More importantly, you will increase your staff’s awareness of product presentation and give them a personal investment in the store’s appearance.
This is a win for both you and your customers.
Customers associate a well-lit store with a clean store. Perhaps it’s because there are fewer shadows. Perhaps it’s because the staff can see dirty floors and shelves more clearly and can, therefore, take action to clean them.
So, take a minute and look up. Are there any lights out in your store? Perhaps it’s a blown bulb or a bad ballast. Either way, it’s an unappealing presentation of your store to your customers (and potential customers).
Start by surveying your store, inside and out. Make sure that your outdoor lighting makes customers and staff feel safe. Unless you have a maintenance contract with your landlord, you will most likely be changing them yourself. If so, be careful working with electrical equipment and tall ladders.
Finally, if all of your lights are working and your store still feels a little too dark, consider updating to more efficient lighting fixtures. It’s an investment that will pay off in the long run.
Just remember, effective lighting makes a store feel warm and inviting. Show your customers that you care and brighten up their day as they shop this season.
According to an IBM survey of American shoppers, 32% of customers stated that a well-organized store was a key reason for them returning. That means that nearly 1/3 of your clientele are likely not to shop in your store again if you aren’t keeping it tidy
The reality is that after you have been in a store for a few years (or even months), it’s easy to accept things as they are. That stack of magazines has been there so long that it’s turned into a crude, wobbly table.
But you… say, “My store has character… personality.” Perhaps. But if you’re not sure that you can be objective, here are a few questions that you should ask yourself.
Do customers always seem to be knocking things over? Are shoppers constantly asking where a particular product is that you feel is easy to find? Do you have trouble finding merchandise that you know that you have? Do customers with wheelchairs struggle to maneuver through your store?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, your store may be in need of a little straightening.
The easiest solution would be to reach out to a follow shopkeeper that you feel keeps a clean store. Ask them to visit your business and give you some feedback (maybe offer to buy them lunch for their trouble). Then be prepared to listen intently. If that’s not an option, make an effort to visit a store that you feel is neat and organized and take notes (or pictures if it’s okay with the manager).
Most importantly, find a way to look at your store with fresh eyes. Then take action… one section at a time. Make your store one that 100% of your customers would love to come back to.
These are just a few ideas to get your blood flowing and help you start taking a second look at your store. Hopefully, they’ll do just that.
I’ll leave you with this quote. Dee Hock, the founder and former CEO of the Visa Credit Card Association was quoted as saying “Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”. I believe that this adage can easily apply to the corners of your sales floor as well. So, the next time that you step into your store, make room for more creativity, more customers and more cash-flow.