You need to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to get to your store. If your store is in an odd location, publish directions in your advertising and make sure your staff is prepared to provide clear directions over the phone.
Advertising: Do you have an in-store link to your outside advertising?
It’s amazing how many stores spend a bundle on advertising, while neglecting to "connect the dots" between their ads and their store. One easy way to do this is to display your ads on a sign board at the front of the shop. Use your logo in advertising, and as a consistent presence in your shop. Spotlight the items featured in your ad with special displays or signage. Be consistent with your advertising, so customers will come to recognize your advertising style.
Basics: Are your shelves stocked with basics?
Be sure always to stock the basics. Rain checks are no longer an acceptable replacement for out-of-stock items. You want the people who stop in for a quick purchase to return to your store—don’t turn them away with under-stocked shelves.
Bathrooms: Sigh. This really does matter!
Are your bathrooms clean? Bathrooms are an important part of customer service. Do you keep them clean and well-lit? Are paper towels, soap, etc. always available? Do you have an employee frequently “inspect” them to assure they are well-maintained?
Cash/Wrap: Is your cash/wrap counter organized and free of clutter?
The cash/wrap is your customers’ last impression of your store. Keep it neat and representative of your store’s dedication to service and organization. Be mindful of open storage shelves that often become a haven for clutter. Keep office supplies neat and organized.
Cleanliness: Is your store clean?
Cleanliness should start in the parking lot, continue through your entrance and carry throughout your entire store. Remember that tidiness is an important indication of your store pride. Make cleaning and tidying your shop a daily activity.
Competitive (But Practical) Prices: Is your merchandise priced appropriately?
Studies show that 20 percent of customers are true price hounds and will chase down the lowest price. The other 80 percent care about price, but also take into consideration what else the store has to offer. When pricing merchandise, don’t be distracted by the 20% who are price-hounds and lose sight of the 80% who are looking for total value. Keep your prices competitive, but don’t lock yourself into a habit of hasty discounting in order to chase fickle price shoppers.
Customer Mailing List: Do you ask customers if they’d like to enter their e-mail address on a mailing list?
Don’t underestimate the importance of regular correspondence with customers. It’s not enough just to have a mailing list—you must continually use this resource and update it, providing your customers with meaningful information. At the cash/wrap, ask customers if they’re interested in joining your mailing list if they haven’t already.
Displays: Are they timely? Are they fun? Are they constantly changing?
If a display seems to be turning slowly and not generating a lot of interest, consider making some changes. Use creative signage to add interest, replace it with another display, couple it with faster turning products or move it to a different part of the store. Just make sure it’s eye-catching.
Fixtures: Do the fixtures showcase the merchandise?
The best fixtures highlight merchandise in a discreet way. Choose fixtures that are practical and durable, but won’t draw the attention away from the products with gimmicky colors or design.
In-Store Graphics and Signage: Are your graphics and signs clear? Are they colorful? Do they have a theme?
Graphics and signage should never detract from or compete with the merchandise. Their goal should simply be to draw attention to various products, discounts and special offers. Make sure your signage communicates its message immediately. Customers