As many store owners and staff are forced to shelter in place because of local and government restrictions, the challenge becomes finding ways to sell product and maintain front-of-mind presence in the community during this crisis. For this endeavor, you may want to consider teaming up with an “essential” retailer, such a local grocery store or drug store, and see if they have any flexible space to spare, such as an end cap (that section at the end of an aisle that faces out), or inline (down an aisle).
You will want to choose products from publishers that allow you to sell their products outside of your store. Consider focusing on more traditional, or entry-level, 2–4 player games and activities to reach the widest audience possible. Also, if you carry puzzles, they are a great pastime and should occupy a sizable portion of your allotted space.
Be sure to sticker your product in a way that identifies your store and the price of the product. More than likely, the partner you are working with will not have time to put your items in their system except maybe to add a category code for your merchandise. Regardless, be sure to clarify what your starting inventory is, how sales will be recorded, what their percentage of sales (if any) will be, and how you will be compensated.
However much space is granted to you, ask permission to make the initial stocking of the area yourself. While there is no guarantee that they will maintain it to your specifications, it will help set the tone for store staff members who care about such things. If you wish to be extra cautious, wipe down your product boxes with disinfecting wipes. Be sure to review the section with the manager or owner to make sure that your display meets with their approval. Finally, if you are permitted to use signage of any kind, such as sign holders, a header, shelf liners, or shelf talkers (preferably with social media tags), then please do. These things will remind buyers who they are supporting and where they can shop when things have improved.
Hot Tip: Be sure to promote the shelf space with a couple of pictures and the partner retailer’s location and tag on social media to your store’s community. Let them know that you are providing this service in a local venue and that you appreciate their ongoing support.
If they are willing to treat you like a third-party vendor, they may be able to provide a separate location (usually a shelf or pallet) in the back to keep your overstock. Depending on their policies and your agreement, their staff may restock the shelf, though it may end up being your responsibility to maintain it. Next time you pop in for some essentials, take a quick inventory of your product and offer to restock if permitted.
During this time, please remember to follow local, state, and federal laws. You may not be allowed back into your place of business, so if you can’t keep additional stock at the store, consider storing it at an accessible remote location.
As always, these are merely suggestions designed to inspire and motivate you. In the end, you must decide what risks, if any, you feel compelled to take with your merchandise. Your safety and well-being are our priority.