Monday, December 30, 2013

Year-End Sales Tips For Retailers

The holidays might be over, but this doesn't mean retailers should go back to their 'normal' business operations just yet. With millions of consumers loaded with gift cards, extra spending cash, and time off from work, the week leading up to the new year is a prime shopping time. If you own or manage a retail store, you can boost your sales and profits by offering year-end sales. For some helpful tips on how to perform effective year-end retail promotions, keep reading.

Mark Down Seasonal Items


With a new year on the horizon, there's no better time than now to mark down seasonal products (fall/winter clothes and products). Allowing these products to crowd space in your store will only hurt you in the long run. If you're having trouble selling certain fall and/or winter products, try marketing them down to encourage more sales. Even if customers aren't actively looking for a specific fall or winter product, the steep discount might be too enticing for them to pass up.

Bring In Warm-Weather Clothes


If you run a retail apparel store, you should start bringing in warm-weather clothes around the new year. While the spring season is still several months away, you can count on early-bird shoppers looking for new warm-weather clothes. Selling these clothes just a little bit early will give you a head start on other retailers, essentially snatching up sales from your competitors. In addition, you'll have a better understanding for the demand of certain clothes before the full spring/summer rush gets here.

Mark Down Holiday-Related Products


Unfortunately, it's highly unlikely that retailers will sell holiday-related good and products at full price. Now that Thanksgiving and Christmas are behind us, customers are no longer shopping for holiday-related items. The good news is that you can still push leftover inventory; you just need to mark it down so customers feel like they are getting an amazing deal. Marking down holiday-related products 50, 60 or even 70% is perfectly fine, as it allows you to move product out of your store while generating some revenue in the process.

If you're going to mark down products for a year-end sale, make sure you spread the word so customers know about it. You can send out emails (assuming you have past customers' email addresses), run commercials, advertise on billboards, etc.

Friday, December 27, 2013

4 Easy Ways To Reduce Retail Inventory Shrinkage

Retail inventory shrinkage is defined as the loss of product between the manufacturer/supplier and the point of sale. Retail stores must acknowledge, track and deal with shrinkage to prevent it from cutting into their profits. Allowing it to grow out of control can dampen a store's profits. In fact, many stores have been forced to close their doors in the past due to high shrinkage. To prevent this from happening to YOUR store, check out the 5 tips listed below on how to reduce retail inventory shrinkage.

#1) Display Products Correctly


Ever notice a product tucked deep behind or underneath a shelving unit in your store? Whether it's a perishable food product or not, allowing it to sit in the dusty, dirty area behind a shelving unit will ruin an otherwise perfect product; thus, contributing to your store's inventory shrinkage. Owners can protect themselves against instances such as this by displaying product on premium gondola shelves, gridwall, slatwall, rolling racks, etc. Taking the time to display your store's products correctly will naturally reduce inventory shrinkage.

#2) Shoplifting


It's not something most retail businesses want to think about, but shoplifting is a serious concern that can greatly eat into your profits. And since it technically occurs between the manufacturer/supplier and the point of sale, it's part of shrinkage. Each year, U.S. businesses lose billions of dollars from shoplifting, which is why it's important to take preventive measures in your store. Installing security cameras, dye tags, alarms and security mirrors are just a few measures which are sure to help reduce theft.

#3) Employee Theft


Theft doesn't occur only from customers; unfortunately, employees statistically steal more product that customers. Each time an employee steals an item, it adds to your store's shrinkage. Even small items and products gradually build up to create a financial burden for retail stores.

So, what steps can retail stores take to reduce the chance of employee theft? The first line of defense is to hire trustworthy, reputable, experienced employees to run your store. I'm sure this is common sense to most people, but you shouldn't hire employees whom you don't trust. Owners can also install video monitoring systems in their storage rooms to prevent theft.

#4) Move Perishables Fast


One of the most common contributing factors of retail inventory shrinkage is from spoiled perishables. If your store sells perishable food and/or beverages, make sure your employees are trained to move it as fast as possible. Don't just place it in some obscure part of your store where customers can't easily find it, but instead keep it out in the open with signs, banners or other promotional material drawing attention to it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tips For Retail Success In a Crowded Marketplace

There are both advantages and disadvantages of trying to muscle your retail business into a crowded marketplace. Lots of competition means the market is popular and in high-demand, which translates into sales for businesses in this industry. However, too much competition can make it difficult (if not impossible) for new businesses to succeed. Crowded marketplaces essentially reduce the market share available for businesses. If you're thinking about tackling a crowded marketplace with your retail business, keep reading for some important tips on how to succeed.

Offer More Product Choices


One way retail businesses can set themselves apart from their competitors is by offering a greater amount of product choices. Rather than limiting your store's inventory to a particular line or niche, perhaps you could branch out into other avenues. By offering customers more products to choose from, you'll naturally attract customers who wouldn't 'normally' visit your store. This is a simple yet highly effective way to help your retail stores succeed in a crowded marketplace.

It's important to note, however, that more product choices translates into more space. Once you start filling up your store's shelves with new product, you may find yourself struggling to display all of your inventory. Be sure to check out the solutions offered at AAStoreFixtures.com, including wall unit shelving, gondolas, and much, much more.

Offer Better Prices


Of course, you're bound to attract more customers by offering lower prices than your competitors. If a competing store across town is selling the same pair of jeans in your store for $40 bucks, you should try to trump their prices by selling the same jeans for $30-$35. Although your profit margins will be smaller on this product, you'll pull shoppers away from your competitors and into your store, making it well worth the cost in the long run.

Market Your Retail Store


Even if your store offers better choices and prices than your competitors, most people won' know this until they actually visit your store. So, how do you get them to initially visit your store? Rather than waiting around 'hoping' that customers walk into you store, you should actively spread the word through any all promotional means necessary. This may include social media, television commercials, radio commercials, mail adverts, billboards, etc. Just remember to track your marketing campaigns so you know which ones are helpful in driving more customers, and which ones are simply a waste of money.

Friday, December 20, 2013

How To Greet Customers In The Retail Industry

Greeting customers when they first step foot into a retail store is key to winning their loyalty. A simple greeting lays the foundation for a positive shopping experience, and it's one of the many ways retail stores can set themselves apart from their competitors. If a customer is greeted with by a friendly employee in one store and completely ignored in a second store, which store do you think they'll return to in the future? Chances are they'll go back to the store that greeted them. This is just one reason why you retail stores and businesses should emphasize the importance of greeting shoppers.

Know When a Shopper Enters Your Store


You can't expect to greet each and every shopper unless you know when they enter your store. One technique that works in retail stores is to place a small bell either at the top or bottom of the door. When a customer walks through the door, the bell will jingle to notify employees of their presence. A basic bell can be purchased for a bout a $1 or $2 bucks, making this an inexpensive 'alarm' to help you greet shoppers.

Of course, you could also install an electronic alarm system. Each time the door is opened, the system emits a low 'beeping' noise. If you're interested in installing one of these in your retail store, contact your security monitoring company to see what they offer. Most big-name security monitoring companies (and even some of the smaller ones) will gladly install a door alarm such as this.

What Should I Say To Customers?


There really isn't a particular phrase that employees must use when greeting customers in a retail store. Some companies focus on basic greetings like "Hello, how are you doing today?," while others greet shoppers with a longer phrase like "Welcome to [insert store name here]. Is there anything I can help you find today?" Both of these examples are perfectly fine for just about any type of retail store or business. They help to acknowledge the customer in a friendly, positive manner.

Customer Greeting Tips:


  • Watch your tone! Greeting customers in an aggressive and/or unfriendly tone sends the wrong message.
  • Don't be pushy. If a customer doesn't need or want assistance, let them browse in peace.
  • Stick with shirt, concise greetings.
  • Make sure your store's employees are trained to greet customers following your guidelines.
  • Don't forget to tell customers "Goodbye. Thanks for coming" when they leave.

Monday, December 16, 2013

How To Identify The Target Market For a Retail Business

One of the biggest mistakes new retail business owners make is blindly opening a store without researching their target market. Unless you know this information, you won't be able to make educated decisions on marketing, location and store setup, which in turn increases your chances of failure. Launching a successful retail business is no easy task, but you can increases your chances of success by identifying your target market. But what exactly is the target market? And how can you use this to your advantage? To learn the answers to these questions and more, keep reading.

There are some general questions you should ask yourself to better identify your target market. While you may already know the answers to some of these questions, you may need to do a little digging to find the rest. Here's a short list of some questions to help you identify your retail business's target market:
  • What age group typically buys my store's product?
  • Are customers mostly male, female, or mixed?
  • Where do my customers typically come from? Are they local? Or do they travel from a nearby city? Tip: ask for customers zip codes when they check out to determine this information.
  • How many customers come back for future purchases?
  • What are some of the social characteristics of my customers?
  • What about the marital status of my customers?
  • What is their typical education level?

How To Use This Information


Acquiring some (or all) of the information listed above will help you make smarter professional decisions when running your retail business. Once you've identified your target market, you can then shift your focus towards the main group of people who purchase your store's products. For instance, radio and television stations offer their demographic data to potential advertisers. Running either a radio or television commercial on a station with a demographic that matches your store's target market will offer the greatest return on your investment.

You can also use this information to choose new products for your store. Let's say you own a retail fashion boutique that sells mostly to females between the ages of 21-28. You could contact some distributors to see if you can get trendy new apparel and accessories that young women would likely purchase.

Now for the question that's likely burning a hold in your mind -- how do I gather target market data on my retail store? There are several different ways to gather this information, one of which is through the site ZipSkinny.com; you simply enter your zip code and the website reveals tons of useful data for that particular location.

Friday, December 13, 2013

5 Common Retail Customer Service Mistakes To Avoid

Customer service plays a direct role in the success of a retail store. Businesses that overlook or underestimate this element will suffer from fewer customers and ultimately lower sales. Whether your store sells sporting goods, apparel, jewelry, electronics, groceries or practically any other consumer product, you need to focus on your customers' needs. In this post, we're going to reveal some of the most common customer service mistakes made in retail and why you should avoid them.

Mistake #1) Not Greeting Shoppers


Arguably, the single most common customer service mistake retail stores make is not greeting shoppers when they first enter. It only takes a few seconds to greet shoppers, and doing so leaves a lasting impression. A simple "Hello, how are you today?" will set your store apart your competitors. Retail store owners should train their employees to greet each shopper who walks into the store.

Mistake #2) Not Helping Customers Find Product


A second all-too-common mistake is not helping customers find product. If a customer is browsing through a rolling rack of shirts, pants or other apparel items, perhaps you could ask them if they need assistance locating a specific size. You can even go one step further by bringing the customer several different sizes just in case the one they requested doesn't fit.

Mistake #3) Bad Attitude


Of course, bad attitude is another customer service mistake that should be avoided in the retail industry. I think we've all been guilty of showing up to work with a general negativity, but retail employees must put on a 'happy' face to send a positive message to customers. Workers who constantly perform their duties with a bad attitude will spread negativity to other employees and customers.

Mistake #4) Bad Return Policy


A retail store's return policy goes hand in hand with customer service. Stores with a large "ALL SALES FINAL!" sign probably won't win over the hearts of their customers. Sure, it takes time and energy to restock items that customers have returned, but it's well worth it in the end. Allowing customers to return products within a reasonable time frame will keep them coming back to your store for future purchases.

Mistake #5) Always Saying "No"


Employees should be trained to avoid using the word "no" in correspondence with customers. If a customer asks if you have a jacket in a certain size, perhaps you could tell them that while it's currently not in stock, you can order it for them. There are times when employees must use the word "no," but it's important to focus on "yes, we can" instead.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thinking About Renovating Your Store? Read This First.

Renovating a retail store or business is a big project that shouldn't be taken lightly. Hastily jumping into a major renovation without first planning ahead could result in your store being shut down for days or even weeks. And this translates into a loss or sales and profits. Whether you plan on performing a small or large renovation, however, there are some things you should know to make the process smoother.

Are Renovations Allowed?


If you are currently leasing a store (which most business owners do), you'll want to talk with the owner to find out whether or not renovations are allowed. Some property owners may allow minor renovations, such painting and constructing new fixtures, while prohibiting major renovations. Other the property owners may allow all types of renovations -- as long as you get prior approval. It only takes a couple of minutes to call up the property owner and ask them.

Renovating a store without the owner's permission could result in your lease being terminated (and possibly monetary compensation to reverse the renovations).

Which Walls are Load-Bearing?


Are you familiar with your store's blueprints? If not, you should pull them out to locate the load-bearing walls. Just as the name suggests, these walls are critical to the structural integrity of the building, and tearing them down creates a serious hazard for workers and shoppers alike. You can usually identify which walls are load-bearing and which ones are partition by looking at the blueprints. If you want to tear down a load-bearing wall, you'll have to shut down your store and hire a professional architect to create a new load-bearing wall and supporting structure.

How Much Will It Cost?


Of course, budget plays a big role in store renovations. While there's no way to determine exactly how much a renovation will cost, you perform an estimation based on materials and labor expenses. Sit down and decide how much you are willing to spend on the renovation, and then estimate your total cost. You may also be able to get price estimations from professional contractors.

Create a Plan


You can't expect to have a smooth store renovation without a clear plan of attack. Perhaps you want to install new flooring in your store. If so, plan the type of flooring, who's going to install it, where the installation process will take place, etc. Planning ahead will reduce the chance of unforeseen 'mishaps' while ensuring the process goes more smoothly.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Workplace Safety 101: How To Create a Safe Working Environment

Safety should be a top priority for all retail stores and businesses. While the rate of work-related injuries in retail is low compared to industrial businesses, it's still something that needs to be addressed.  Allowing your employees to work around common hazards and dangers creates an entirely new set of problems for your business. In this post, we're going to reveal the true costs of work-related accidents, along with some safety tips for retail businesses.

Direct vs Indirect Costs of Work-Related Injuries


When a worker is injured on the job, the company must pay for both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include 'obvious' things like medical bills, lost wages, and broken equipment. These costs alone can place a heavy financial burden on a company, especially new companies trying to lay the foundation for their success; however, it's the indirect costs which really hurt a company's wallet. Here's a short list of some of the most common indirect costs of work-related injuries:
  • Lower productivity
  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Resources spent hiring and training new employees
  • Reduced employee morale
  • Purchase new safety equipment
  • Lawsuits
  • OSHA fines and sanctions

Common Types of Work-Related Injuries


As you can see, work-related injuries negatively affect businesses in several different ways. Educating yourself on some of the most common types of work-related injuries, however, will help you prevent them. The single most common injury in the workplace is a same-level fall. This occurs when an employee falls (whether they slip or simply lose balance) on the same level. In the retail industry, same-level falls are a real concern that businesses should be aware of.

Another all-too-common type of work-related injury is overexertion. Just as the name suggests, this occurs when an employee pushes themselves beyond their physical limit. Pulled and/or strained muscles fall under the category of overexertion.

Tips For Creating a Safe Working Environment

  • Create a safety bulletin board with key information about potential workplace hazards.
  • Train your employees on the proper way to lift boxes and use equipment.
  • Lay out non-slip rugs in areas where slip-and-fall accidents are common.
  • Perform routine safety audits to identify new workplace hazards.
  • Listen to your employees to see what safety issues concern them.

5 Tips To Become a Better Retail Salesperson

Mastering the art of retail sales takes take, experience, dedication and the desire to succeed. Far too many people jump into this profession without realizing what all it entitles. Anyone can show up to work and go through the movements, but it takes a true salesperson to encourage a customer to buy an item they otherwise wouldn't have purchased. Whether you're looking to get your foot in the door as a retail salesperson or to improve your numbers, check out the 5 tips below.

Tip #1) Start At The Door


If you aren't greeting each and every customer who comes through the door, you're missing out on a simple yet highly effective way to pre-sell. When a customer walks into the store, greet them with a friendly “Hello, how are you going today?” And then you can offer assistance to help them find a particular product or item. Numerous studies have revealed that customers are more likely to purchase from the first salesperson who greets them, so make sure it's YOU.

Tip #2) Go Beyond The Call of Duty


What does this mean exactly? A retail salesperson can go above and beyond the call of duty in a number of different ways. The key thing to remember is that you want to exceed your customers' expectations. If a customer asks a salesperson for a pair of shoes in a particular size, perhaps the salesperson could bring out several different sizes just in case. This extra effort really leaves a positive impression on customers.

Tip #3) Think Like The Customer


Try to place yourself in the customer's shoes and ask yourself – what am I trying to accomplish by shopping here? Some customers shop for the sole purpose of finding good deals; if this is the case, show the customer some excellent sales and promotions currently going on. Other customers may be on the lookout for a newly recent product, which you can help them locate.

Tip #4) Speed It Up!


Let's face it, shoppers don't want to wait around for a slow salesperson to walk them around the store. If you want to improve your numbers, you have to work at a relatively fast pace. This is beneficial for several different reasons; it keeps customers happy, and you can move them through the store in less time.

Tip #5) Listen


One of the biggest mistakes employees make in retail sales is talking to their customers too much. Rather than jabbering away about products, service plans, etc., sit back and listen to your customers.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Holidays From AAStoreFixtures - Large Items

It’s the holidays and whether you are a dollar store or a convenience outlet, you are probably looking to move some product. Here at AA Store Fixtures we have three items that might be of interest to you this season. One, we have a $2600 TRUE 2-door freezer with a Brand new Condenser w/Warranty. We back all of our refrigeration with a 30 day guarantee, but this unit comes with the extra security of a 1 year manufacturer warranty. Considering this is only asking $600 more than we sold the last 10 for all summer this is a great deal! Second, you can purchase a reconditioned 24’ Liquor Wall w/18 adjustable shelves for only $796. The height of this unit can range from 48 to 84”, with shelving ranging from 13”-22” for no price difference. Thirdly, we have Brand NEW 60” tall, 24” x24” base, Island Slatwall Merchandisers. High pressure laminate finish, with aluminum inserts. These white units come complete with an Acrylic Magnetic Sign holder on top and are really classy. These brand new units are only $60 each. We have hooks, acrylic shoe shelves, whatever else you need to make this unit work in your setting. Need fixtures yesterday? For many orders we have the ability to pick, pull and ship the parts in less than a week. We have the fixtures you need and can get them to you fast! Give us a call so we can help you save and make money this 2013 Holiday Season.

Click on link below to view specials.

Happy Holidays From AAStoreFixtures - Small Items/Accessories

You’ve remodeled and you are all ready for the Holiday craze…but there are still a few accessories you need to be fully ready. AA Store Fixtures has several items that can help polish your showroom or convenience store…and what’s more we are selling them at blow out prices:

First off we have 4’ wide Shelf Label Holders w/Clear Protective guard. They are $50 a box for 50 label holders. No more stickers! These 4’ wide strips click right into the front channel on all major retail shelving and can easily be removed and applied to another shelf if needed.

Next we have front wire fencing, both new and used. Available 3’ and 4’ wide, 3” and 6” tall! Packages of 20 to 25 qty ranging from $60-$75 for used at $125 for Brand NEW. We are charging $3 a fence for used and $5 a fence for the new items. Nothing keeps small add on items organized better than some wire fencing which snaps into the holes on the front of most retail shelves.

We have brand new aluminum framed pegboard, 48” x 36”, 2 to a pack, for only $30!

Finally we have 2 BRAND NEW peg hook styles at great prices. You can purchase a ready to go box of 100 11” Heavy or 4” Medium duty peg hooks. These both come with the quick inserts for the pegboard, and 100 2” x 1.25” Clear Labels for the peg ends. The price for the 11” is only $50 for the box of 100(Normal retail $120+) and the price for the 4” is only $35 for the box of 100.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Understanding The Impact of Lighting In a Retail Store

Lighting is a key element in retail stores that's oftentimes greatly underestimated. Whether your store sells groceries, electronics, sporting goods, pet supplies, convenience items, jewelry, clothing or practically any other consumer product, it must feature appropriate lighting. Far too many owners overlook this critical aspect, resulting in a loss of sales and profits for their business. In this post, we're going to reveal the role lighting plays in a retail environment.

Illumination


The primary goal of lighting in a retail store is to illuminate the surrounding area. Without this critical element, customers and employees wouldn't be able to see. This is why it's important to choose high-wattage light fixtures that cover a large area. Opting for smaller fixtures will limit their effectiveness, forcing you to go back and add more later.

While you are designing and setting up lighting for your store, it's recommended that you use either compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Although they cost slightly more than traditional incandescent bulbs, both of these alternatives last longer and use far less energy. LED and CFL bulbs are a smarter, more energy-efficient choice that's sure to pay off in the long run.

Emphasize Product


A lesser-known impact of lighting in retail stores is the additional visibility it places on product. When used correctly, lighting can emphasize certain products in your store, essentially drawing the customers' focus towards it. The trick in accomplishing this is to strategically place the fixtures in a manner so the light shines directly on the product. This is typically done with either flood lights or track lighting depending on the product's location. Don't be afraid to experiment with different forms of lighting to see which type works best in your retail store.

Define Traffic Paths


Lighting can also be used in retail stores to define traffic paths. By installing and focusing more lighting over walkways and aisles, your customers will have an easier time navigating through your store. Try to install either additional overhead fixtures or some type of supplemental lighting around the areas where customers walk in your store. This will have a direct impact by making your store easier to navigate, and it will also have an indirect impact of creating a more pleasing atmosphere. It's just one of the many ways you can use lighting to your advantage as a retail store owner.

Recruiting Tips For Retail Businesses

Employees are the backbone of any retail business. Regardless of how much time you personally invest into your retail business, there will be occasions when employees must watch over the place. This is why it's important to choose hard-working, dedicated and reliable workers; otherwise, you could be placing your business at risk of failure. To learn more about recruiting employees for a retail business, keep reading.

Tip #1 – Check Past Work History


When reviewing applicants for a position in your retail store or business, you'll want to carefully analyze their past work experience. Look to see not only where they worked before, but also the length of time spent at the establishment. Individuals who jump around from job to job probably isn't the type of employee you want running your retail store.

Ideally, you should only hire applicants who've worked in an environment similar to your specific retail business. If your store sells apparel, for instance, then you'll want to hire employees with a background in retail fashion and apparel. They'll likely already have some knowledge and experience with helping customers find and choose the right clothes.

Tip #2 – References


References are a must-have for any retail business applicant. These should be non-relative people who support the applicant. If there's a phone number attached to their references (which their should be), call them up to see what they say. Simply introduce yourself as a retail business owner who's interested in hiring the applicant. Ask the referenced person about the applicant's work ethics, background, etc.

If there are no references listed on the application, skip it and move on to the next. When you place the responsibility or running your retail business in the hands of another, you need to make sure they are trustworthy. While having references isn't a surefire way to ensure the applicant is trustworthy, it's certainly a step in the right direction.

Tip #3 – Interview Questions


Interviewing applicants is arguably the single most important step in hiring employees for your store. During an interview, don't be afraid to ask questions that are somewhat “outside of the box.” For instance, you could ask the applicant how long they plan on staying with your company if they are hired. Just remember to keep your interview questions professional and legal. Avoid asking questions like “Are you married?” or “Do you have children?”

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Go "Green" With Your Retail Business


It's important for each and every retail store and business to take the initiative to reduce their impact on the environment. Coca-Cola, for instance, teamed up with the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) in 2007 to help preserve the world's freshwater resources. In addition, the beverage company has worked to reduce their CO2 emissions, water usage, and they plan on using 30% renewable plant-based packaging by 2020. While your retail business might not be able to replicate these same techniques, there are steps you can take to create a “greener” workplace; here's how:

Lighting


The first step in creating a greener environment for your retail business is to make the switch towards energy-efficient lighting. If your store still relies on dated incandescent bulbs to illuminate the area, you are wasting tons of electricity; thus, leading to a higher electric bill month after month. A better option is to switch these incandescent bulbs out with either compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, both of which last a considerably longer amount while consuming far less energy.

Heating and Cooling


Another area where most retail businesses could improve upon is heating and cooling. Depending on the size of your business, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars in month by improperly using the heating and air conditioning. This doesn't mean you have to stop using the AC during the hottest times of the summer, but instead consider more energy-efficient options. For instance, you could use a programmable thermostat to turn the heating and air off once your store closes. This alone will yield huge savings in your store's overall energy usage.

In addition to using a programmable thermostat, you should also perform some basic maintenance to your heating and air conditioner. I think we've all been guilty of not changing the air filter after the specified date. This may not seem like a big issue, but it can lead to increased energy usage along with poor air quality. Try to get into the habit of changing your store's air filter at least once a month for optimal efficiency.

Reduce Waste


The key to creating a greener, more energy-efficient business is to reduce your overall waste. Sit down and brainstorm ways to accomplish this with other executives or managers. Perhaps you could use recycled paper and packaging, or maybe you could shift from traditional snail mail to email. These are just a couple options for reducing waste in a retail business.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Advertising Sales and Promotions on Gondolas

Most experienced retail store owners will agree that gondolas are the perfect form of shelving. Not only are they incredibly easy to set up and use, but they can be modified and adjusted to fit the needs of your store. It's this superior level of customization and ease of use that draws so many store owners to them. In order to take full advantage of your gondolas, though, you should incorporate adverts and promotional material on them; here's how you do it:

Gondola advertising is important because it gives you the ability to market products to your customers while they are shopping. Just because your customers are walking around your store doesn't necessarily mean they intend on making a purchase. By giving them a little encouragement through gondola adverts, you may convert a “browsing” customer into a buyer. This alone should be reason enough for store owners to set up promotional material on their gondolas.

There are several different options when it comes to gondola advertising. Depending on the layout of your store and the specific type of gondola used, you may want to attach banners that stick out an inch or so from the edge of the shelf. Customers walking down the aisles of your store will notice the banners and hopefully decide to make a purchase as a result. The secret to achieving success with gondola banners is to display special deals and promotions on nearby products. Regardless of what your store sells, customers are always on the lookout for a good deal.

Another idea is to install an electronic coupon dispenser on your gondolas. Placing them directly in front of the respective product will naturally encourage shoppers to make a purchase. Chances are you've seen coupon dispensers such as these in grocery stores. National supermarket chains frequently use them as a marketing tool. Be warned, though, they do require more maintenance and time than traditional banners and signs.

There's a fine line between creating the right amount of gondola advertisements and going overboard with an excessive amount. Try to avoid flooding your customers with too many promotions, as this could have a negative effect by making them immune to it. Space your banners, coupons and promotional material out every few feet for maximum effectiveness.

Utilizing promotional material on gondolas within a retail store is a simple and highly effective way to boost your sales. There are dozens of signs and marketing material designed specifically for gondolas, so take advantage of them by performing this technique in your store.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Importance of Hiring The Right Employees


Many retail store owners overlook the importance of hiring the right employees. When you are busy handling dozens of other responsibilities that come with managing a business, it's easy to forget about something as simple as choosing employees. Unfortunately, however, the wrong employees can have a disastrous effect on your business, lowering your sales and tainting your brand name.

Employees should come to work with a clear drive and determination to make the most out of their time on the clock. According to a recent study published in the Gallup Management Journal, only 29% of all US employees are actively engaged in their job with a true passion and desire. That means over ¾ of all employees here in the US are simply going through the motions just to get by. Statistics such as these should serve as a wake up call to retail business owners everywhere.

Of course, hiring the right employees is also necessary to reduce the risk of theft. Did you know that over $50,000,000 (yes, that's billion) worth of goods in the US are stolen by employees each year? A recent survey revealed that upwards of 75% of all employees have stolen at least once from their employer. Unless you want to theft to eat away at your store's profits, you must hire trustworthy, reputable employees.

Don't make the decision to hire employees based solely on their application. Instead, categorize all of the applications into three separate stacks – not hiring, maybe and high chance of hiring. You can followup with applicants in the “high chance of hiring” to see if they are ready for an interview. This will give you a chance to see what the individual is like, and you'll be able to ask them more questions. If you're still shorthanded after going through this stack, go back to the “maybe” stack of applications.

Taking the time to hire the right employees will pay off in several different ways. For starters, they'll likely go above and beyond the call of duty. Instead of performing only their job requirements, a good employee will take some of the other work off your shoulders. Whether it's answering the phone, sending out emails, making trips to the bank, etc.

Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding on why hiring the right employees is important. Sure, it takes additional time and resources to carefully analyze and interview all of the potential applicants, but it's a smart move that's sure to pay off in the long run.

How To Create an Effective Window Display

Window displays are one of the most effective marketing tools for retail stores and businesses. They essentially serve two purposes -- to encourage passerbys to come and check out your store, and they reveal special deals, discounts and other promotions to customers who already intend on visiting your store. The bottom line is that each and every retail store should utilize window displays to help improve their sales. In this post, we're going to cover some tips on how to set up an effective display.

Maximize Your Display Space


It's important to maximize the space you have available for a window display. If your current display is small, compact and offers limited room, perhaps you should open the area up more. A little bit of renovation work can easily turn a structured wall into a glass display. As long as the wall isn't "load bearing," it should come down without a hitch. By increasing the window display space in your store, you'll have more room to market products to potential customers, making it well worth the time and effort in the long run.

Attention-Grabbing


The secret to creating an effective window display is to make it grab the customer's attention and draw them into your store. Setting it up with the same items used in your store won't offer the same effect as a more vibrant and colorful display. Try to incorporate attention-grabbing colors with bold letters that really stand out. You want people to automatically look at your window display as they walk by it. In order to accomplish this, you must use the right colors along with large size font lettering.

After setting up the window display in your retail store, watch people's reaction as they walk by. Hopefully, it catches their attention, even if it's only for a couple of seconds. If it doesn't achieve this goal, you'll need to go back and modify your window display.

Contact Product Manufacturers and Vendors


It's a little-known fact that product manufacturers and vendors will oftentimes work with retailers to create attractive window displays. Before you begin to set up your window display, contact your vendor to see what kind of assistance they can offer. While they probably won't be able to offer you any physical labor, they may send you some cut-outs, signs and other promotional display material to use in your window area. And best of all, the promotional material is completely free since you are using it to market their products.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

3 Steps Towards Building Stronger Customer Relationships

Customer relationships are essentially the backbone of retail businesses. Without customers, product will remain unsold on your shelves, leading to lower sales and profit margins. Whether your store sells groceries, electronics, pet supplies, sporting goods, antiques or practically anything else, you need to focus on customer relationships. To learn more, check out the following 3-step method towards building stronger customer relationships.

Step #1 – Identify Target Demographic


The first step towards building stronger customer relationships is to identify your store's target demographic. While you may have men and women of all ages shopping at your store, chances are there's a very specific type of demographic that's generating most of your sales. It's up to you, however, to identify this demographic so you can use it to your store's advantage.

If you need some help identifying your target demographic, don't be afraid to gather this type of information through email surveys. You can offer customers a discount in-store coupon in exchange for providing their information. Simply collect your customers' email addresses when they check out, and then follow up by offering a coupon in exchange for their birth date, age, zip code, etc.

Step #2 – Marketing


The second step is to use the previously acquired information to market your store. Know that you know who shops at your store, you can advertise towards that specific demographic. This is incredibly useful in not only building stronger customer relationships, but also branding your store's name. The more people who know your name, the more sales you will receive.

The sky is the limit when it comes to marketing. In most cases, local marketing seems to be the most effective for small retail businesses. You can advertise in classifieds, phone books, billboard signs and through postal mail. The key thing to remember is that you need to focus your marketing efforts on the store's target demographic.

Step #3 – Customer Service


If you want customers to keep coming back to your store, you must go above and beyond the call of duty with your service. Show your customers that you and all of your employees care by greeting them with a big “hello” when they enter and “thanks for coming” when they leave. It only takes a few seconds to greet a customer, but it will leave a lasting impression that sets your store apart from your competitors.

Monday, July 29, 2013

How To Reduce Your Employee Turnover Rate

Do you constantly find yourself scouting for new employees to fill empty positions? Instead of focusing your time and money on running your retail business, you're forced to go through applications and perform interviews. This naturally hurts you business a whole, which is why it's important to constantly work on reducing turnover rates. In this post, we're going to cover some simple and effective techniques for lowering turnover rates.

Offer Benefits


Far too many companies underestimate the importance of offering employee benefits. They assume that cutting a paycheck every other week is enough to keep employees happy. While this may be enough for some workers, other workers are looking for additional benefits at their place of employment. If you aren't doing so already, consider offering benefits to your employees such as health insurance, holiday bonuses, stock options, etc. Going the extra mile to show your employees that you care will naturally lower your turnover rates, making it a smart investment that's worth the cost.

Employee Recognition


Employees want to know that all of their hard work isn't going unnoticed. This is why it's important to focus on recognition in your store or place of business. By recognizing employees who excel on the job, you'll encourage everyone to strive for perfection. There are dozens of ways to recognize employees, such as offering them gift cards, free lunches, labeling them as "employee of the month," giving them a bonus check, etc. Ideally, you should set goals for your employees to reach and reward those who reach it. Doing so is a highly effective way to reduce turnover rates while improving employee efficiency.

Incorporate a Feedback Program


Each and every business should have a feedback program in place where employees can voice their professional concerns. Small problems in the workplace will oftentimes lead to bigger problems if not properly addressed. By having a feedback system in place, employees can voice their concerns. As a result, this will lead to a reduced turnover rate by keeping employees on the job for a longer period of time. Just be sure to not only reed your employees' feedback, but also follow through by taking the necessary action to correct any problems.

These are just a few of the many ways business owners can reduce their employee turnover rates. While there's no way to keep 100% of your employees on the job, following the tips listed here will significantly reduce the amount of workers who quit.

Friday, July 26, 2013

What You Should Know About Purchasing Used Gondolas

Gondolas are the single most widely used type of shelving in retail store environments, and for good reason: they are fully adjustable, easy to move, versatile, and incredibly durable. All of these features make them a popular choice by store owners everywhere. Instead of purchasing new gondolas for your retail store, you should consider purchasing used ones. Doing so will save you a substantial amount of money while giving you the peace of mind knowing they were previously tested. If you are interested in purchasing one more used gondolas for your retail store, keep reading for some tips on choosing the right ones.

Some people might be turned away at the thought of installing a previously used gondola in their retail store. After all, used items are typically directly and/or broke, right? The truth is that reconditioned gondolas have gone through an extensive quality assurance process to ensure they are fully functional with no damage. In fact, it's oftentimes difficult to tell the difference between a new and used gondola. The one primary difference between the two is the price, which is a huge advantage for store owners looking to save money.

Choose The Right Size


Before purchasing used any used gondolas for your store, you should determine exactly what size you need. Gondolas come in a wide range of different sizes, varying from heights of 36 to 84 inches and lengths of 4 to 24 feet. If you haven't done so already, use a measuring tape to get the dimensions for the area where you intend on setting the gondola up.

Although it's important to choose the gondola best suited for your store, you can always go back and add more on to it later. Gondolas are designed to work interchangeably with other gondolas, allowing store owners to remove and add new ones on as they see fit. If you wish to increase the size of your gondola in the future, you can purchase additional ones to attach on. Just remember to choose gondolas that are the same height to create a proper appearance.

Finish


Reconditioned gondolas also come in a wide variety of finish tones and colors. Ideally, you should keep your gondolas uniform by using a single color. This will allow for a more cohesive decor that's attractive and easier on the eyes. Some of the different gondola finishes you'll find include almond, white, silver and black.

Ways To Reduce Your Store's Power Usage

The high cost of providing electricity to a retail store can place a financial burden on the company as a whole. Those who are new to the retail industry might be surprised to learn just how much energy a typical store goes through on a monthly basis. Depending on the size and scope of your store, you could easily see a monthly power bill that's over a thousand dollars. Instead of throwing your hard-earned profits away on monthly power bills, you should try to reduce electricity usage in your store. There are several different techniques that can yield significant reductions in your power usage and ultimately your power bill.

Install Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs


Many store owners are drawn to using incandescent light bulbs simply because they are the least expensive. With an average cost of less than a buck, you can illuminate your store without spending an arm and a leg on light bulbs; however, incandescent bulbs are somewhat misleading. While they may cost less than other types of bulbs, they use far more energy, contributing to your sky-high monthly power bill. If you wish to reduce your store's power usage, you should consider installing energy-efficient light bulbs instead of incandescent.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) cost about 2-3 times more than incandescent bulbs, but they also last about 9-10 times as long. While a traditional incandescent bulb will last about 1,200 hours, CFL bulbs will last 10,000+ hours. In addition, they also use about a third of the energy that's used by incandescent bulbs. CFL bulbs are a great all-around choice that will yield huge savings in your store's power bill.

Energy-Efficient Appliances


Does you store sell frozen or chilled grocery products? If so, installing energy-efficient appliances would likely reduce your store's power usage. It's no secret that some of the older model freezers are power-hungry monsters that eat through electricity. Switching them out for some of the newer, more energy-efficient models could dramatically lower your store's power bill.

Another reason why you should install energy-efficient appliances in your store is because of the tax breaks offered. In an effort to encourage business owners to use less power, the government is offering tax incentives when you purchase energy-efficient appliances. These incentives are nice bonuses that store owners can take advantage of in addition to their reduced monthly power bills.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Save Money With Used Pharmacy Store Fixtures

If you are planning to open a pharmacy store sometime in the near future, you should consider purchasing used fixtures as opposed to new ones. Doing so is a simple way to save money, and that's something nearly all new store owners can benefit from. Used pharmacy store fixtures work just as well as new ones. The only real difference between the two is the price. To learn more about the benefits of purchasing used pharmacy store fixtures, keep reading.

Some people might turn their head at the thought of placing once-used fixtures in their pharmacy store. They believe that used fixtures are dirty, broken and simply don't look as nice as new ones. The truth, however, is that used pharmacy fixtures are reconditioned to ensure they meet certain quality standards. If the fixture is damaged in any way, shape or form, it's set aside and not sold. This gives pharmacy store owners the opportunity to purchase high-end fixtures at a fraction of their original cost.

Opening a pharmacy store is no easy or cheap task. In addition to leasing a building, you must also pay for all of the necessary business licenses, permits, employee payroll, insurance, electricity, shipping, etc. These costs can easily force some early store owners underwater. Thankfully, however, you can save money by opting for used store fixtures instead of new ones. Depending on the size of your store, you could end up saving thousands of dollars simply by purchasing used fixtures. And that's money in your pocket that could be spent for other parts of your business.

Purchasing a used pharmacy store fixture also gives you the peace of mind knowing that it's fully functional. Since they've already been used, they should continue to work fine in your pharmacy store. This is just one more reason why you should purchase used fixtures instead of new ones.

Of course, there are other ways to save money when starting a pharmacy store. In addition to purchasing used fixtures, you should call around for various price quotes on building leases. Remember, location is key to running a successful pharmacy business. Even if you are getting a rock-bottom lease price, it's not going to help if people can't find the store. Choose a location for your pharmacy that's in plain view with clear, easy-to-navigate directions. Once you've found a few different suitable locations, call around for multiple price quotes to see which ones will save you money.

Monday, June 17, 2013

How To Move a Gondola

Gondolas offer a number of unique benefits that simply aren't found in other types of shelving units. For starters, they are incredibly versatile with the ability to adjust shelf heights in a matter of seconds. Another reason why so many national retail stores choose them is their mobility. Gondolas can easily be moved around the store to fit your specific needs. To learn how to move gondola shelves, keep reading.

Step #1 - Remove The Product


The first step in moving a gondola is to remove the product. Doing will naturally reduce the weight, making it easier to move. Some people may attempt to move their gondolas with the product still on, but doing so places an unnecessary stress on it. Too much stress could pull the gondola apart. To prevent such a disaster from happening, remove any product on the gondola before you attempt to move it.

Step #2 - Wheels and Sliders


There are several different products out there designed specifically for moving gondolas. However, I've found that the easiest way to move a gondola is by sliding wheels underneath it. You can lift up the gondola shelf by using a large tool that looks like a pry bar. Start by lifting up one end of the gondola so you slide the wheels underneath. As previously stated, there are a number of wheeled products designed specifically for this reason. Depending on the size of your gondola, you may need to add 2, 3 or even 4 wheels to keep it balanced. Just make sure the wheels are secure under the gondola.

Step #3 - Moving The Gondola


Now, it's time for the fun part -- moving the gondola. As long as the wheels are securely placed underneath the gondola, moving it should actually be pretty easy. You can literally push it from one side of the store to the other with the help of an extra person. The larger the gondola, the more manpower that's required. Just slide gondola over to the desired area in your store before lifting it and removing the wheels.

Moving a gondola is a quick and easy process that will give you the ability to maximize your store's potential. The fact is that stores must be rearranged to offer customers the best possible selection of products. Allowing your shelves to remain in the same place year after year will take away from your store's potential. If you plan on using gondolas in your store, follow the steps outlined here to move them around as you see fit.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Local Advertising Ideas For Retail Stores and Businesses

One of the key elements to the success of a retail store business is local advertising. You can offer the most competitive prices in town along with exceptional customer service, but it's all for nothing if residents don't know about your store. By spreading the word through local advertisements, you'll naturally have more customers coming into your store; thus, increasing your store's revenue and ultimately profits. For the price, there's no better or more cost-effective way to advertise your retail store.

Radio Ads


When done correctly, radio ads can prove to be a lucrative and rewarding way to drive more customers into your retail store. Call some of the radio stations that broadcast in your area to inquire about advertising. This is essentially how radio stations make their money, so they'll be more than happy to give you a quote. By broadcasting ad advertisement for your retail store over the airwaves, people around your town will hear about it and "hopefully" want to check it out. The key to successfully advertising a retail store or small business on the radio is to target the appropriate demographic. Ideally, you should match your store's demographics with the radio station's demographic. The closer they are to one another, the more benefit you've receive from the radio ad.

Mail Ads


Ever get one of those printed books in your mail that's filled with coupons and advertisements for local businesses? Placing an ad in one of these is a highly effective way to advertise your retail store locally. In most cases, these coupon books are created and managed by the local post office. So if you want to place an ad for your retail store or business in one, you'll need to contact the post office. Generally speaking, the larger ads cost more money. However, they are also more effective since more people will see them.

Contrary to what some people may believe, going around and sticking flyers on mailboxes to promote your retail store or business is illegal; therefore, you should avoid using this tactic. Instead, call up the post office to see what kind of mail advertising options they offer.

Phone Books


Although they aren't used as much as they once were, millions of people still rely on phone books to find the numbers of local businesses. Purchasing ad space here could yield dozens or even hundreds of new customers coming into your store. As with most forms of "print" advertisements, the bigger the ad, the better.

Monday, June 10, 2013

3 Features To Look For In a Cooler of Freezer For a Retail Store

Having the right cooler or freezer is an essential element for retail stores. If you own or manage a store that sells groceries or other goods that must kept at a low temperature, you must have a cooler to properly store them; otherwise, you run the risk of the product going bad or spoiling. With so many different types of coolers and freezer on the market, how do you know which one to choose? Keep reading to learn 3 essential features that all retail store coolers and freezers should possesses.

Feature #1 - Adjustable Shelves


No matter what brand of cooler or freezer you choose, it needs to be built with adjustable shelves; otherwise, you'll have reduced space for storing product. Before purchasing a cooler or freezer for your retain store, take a minute to make sure it has adjustable shelves. As long as the shelves can be moved up and down, you should be able to maximize your storage space. Adjustable shelves will also make cleaning is a fast and painless process, as you can pull them completely out to give your new cooler or a freezer a thorough cleaning.

Feature #2 - Lights


A high-end cooler or freezer should have built-in lights to provide illumination when the door opens. This is a simple feature that will allow customers the ability to see exactly what's inside. You'll find that some of the retail coolers and freezers on the market come with LED lights while others have basic incandescent bulbs. Ideally, you should choose a model with LED bulbs since they last longer, use less energy, and emit far less heat than incandescent bulbs. If a cooler or freezer doesn't come with built-in lights, you'll want to check and make sure you can add them later.

Feature #3 - Thermometers


A third feature that you should look for in a cooler or freezer is a thermometer. Instead of "guessing" how cold the atmosphere is inside the cooler or freezer, you can check the thermometer for a more accurate reading. It's a simple and effective way to better judge the temperature, allowing you to make any necessary adjustments. Of course, you can always add another thermometer to your cooler if you want more reading options, but this usually isn't necessary.

Ensuring your cooler or freezer possesses these 3 features will allow you to get more bang for your buck.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grand Opening Ideas and Tips For a Retail Store

When done correctly, grand openings can prove to be highly effective for increasing a retail store's exposure along with driving more direct sales. Once residents around the area know your store is open, they will naturally be more inclined to visit. This is why it's essential that all serious retail stores have an official grand opening; otherwise, it's a guessing game as to whether or not your store is open. If you are a retail store owner, check out our ideas and tips for throwing a grand opening celebration listed below.

Make It Fun


One of the biggest mistakes retail store owners make when performing a grand opening is not spending enough time, energy and resources to make it fun. If your store looks the same as it does every other day, then what's the point of having a grand opening? People want to enter a fun and vibrant store during its grand opening. You can use this to your advantage by sprucing up both the interior and exterior of your store. Try placing bundles of balloons around your store to really set the atmosphere in "fun" way. In addition, you can hang some streamers and banners inside the store to provide an extra touch to the atmosphere.

Offer Sales


If you really want to take advantage of the large crowds of new customers coming into your store during its grand opening, you should offer special sales and promotions. Whether your store sells apparel, jewelry, handbags, electronics, groceries or practically anything else, you can set a good impression by offering customers highly competitive prices on your products. This will result in more direct sales, and it will also keep customers coming back in the future, which is where the real benefit comes from. Even if you are only making minimal profit margins on the sale items, it will likely still be worth it in the long run.

Spread The Word


You can't expect to have a successful retail grand opening if you don't spread the word about it. Once you have a date chosen for your store's grand opening, start spreading the word through any means possible. You can send out emails, newspaper advertisements, local radio and television commercials, bus stop signs, etc. Be creative and don't be afraid to think outside of the box. Remember, the more work you put into advertising, the more successful your store's grand opening will be.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Retail Wine Store Shelving Tips and Ideas

Are you thinking about owning a retail wine store in the near future? When it's done right, this can be a highly lucrative business venture that lasts for decades. You have to remember that people have been drinking wine for thousands of years, and it's doubtful this trend will end anytime soon. Opening up a wine store will allow you network and connect with customers on a more personal basis, recommending specific wines based on their preference and taste. If this is something you are interested in doing, keep reading for some essential tips and ideas for a retail wine store.

Gondolas


Hands down, one of the most versatile and effective forms of retail wine store shelving are gondolas. These are used in just about every major grocery store chain, and for good reason: they are easily adjustable, maneuverable, easy to clean, durable, and they even look nice as well. With so many different benefits offered by gondolas, it's no wonder it's the top choice by retail store owners.

If you intend on using gondola shelving in your retail wine store, it's important to measure out the areas where you intend on using them beforehand. Gondolas come all different sizes to fit the needs of any retail store Whether your store is small, large or somewhere in between, chances are there's a gondola out there to fit it. However, the only way you are going to be able to choose the right size is by measuring out your store ahead of time.

One of the great things about gondolas is their versatility. By using them inside your retail wine store, you can adjust the shelves so they fit perfectly over your wine product. Doing so naturally maximizes your store's real estate while allowing for a more enjoyable customer experience.

Do I Need a Cooler or Freezer?


Some retail wine store owners overlook the use of a cooler or freezer in their store. Typically, most types of wine are strictly stored at room temperature on basic shelving units. Some store owners may go one step further by installing special dehumidifiers to help balance out the atmosphere. Although wine shouldn't be stored in a cooler or freezer, there are other beverages that prefer these "chilly" conditions. If you sell pre-made mixed margaritas, daiquiris, mixers or other drinks, you'll need to check and see if they require refrigeration. If so, purchase a cooler or freezer for your store to prevent them from spoiling.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Saving Money With Reconditioned Gondola Shelves

One of the most important fixtures for a retail store are shelves. Whether your store sells groceries, liquor, electronics or general items, you need shelving units for displaying them to your customers. Instead of purchasing new gondola shelves for your retail store, you should consider buying reconditioned models. Doing so is a simple and effective way to save money without sacrificing quality; here's why:

First and foremost, let's take a look at what exactly reconditioned gondola shelves are, as some people are likely hearing about them for the first time now. Basically, these are gondola shelves which have already been used. Before they are labeled as "reconditioned," however, they must go through a rigorous inspection process to ensure they meet quality control standards. If there's damage or some other problem with the gondola shelf, the manufacturer will fix it before selling it as "reconditioned."

Trying to fill a newly opened retail store with gondola shelves can easily burn a hole in your company's finances. This is especially true for large retail stores with lots of floor space. The good news is that you can significantly slash your costs by opting for reconditioned gondola shelves instead of new ones. Yes, reconditioned models have been used before, but they've also gone through an inspection process to ensure there's nothing wrong with them. You can rest assured knowing that your reconditioned gondola shelf meets all of the standards set forth by the company.

The truth is that most people can't even tell the difference between a new and reconditioned gondola shelf. Reconditioned gondola shelves see very light use for the most part; therefore, they look almost brand new. The only real difference between them is the significantly lower price associated with reconditioned gondola shelves, and that's a benefit that's hard for most retail store owners to overlook.

Using reconditioned gondola shelves in your store rather than new ones is a simple and effective way to save money. If you are financially conscious business owner who's always on the lookout to cut costs, you should consider using reconditioned gondolas. Not only are they cheaper,  but they've also been inspected for quality assurance.

So, go ahead and see for yourself why so many store owners choose reconditioned gondola shelves over new ones. You'll find a wide variety of reconditioned gondolas for sale available through our website. Just browse through our selections and click on the ones you are interested in.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Increasing Your Store's Profit Through Special Promotions

One of the easiest and most effective ways to increase a retail store's profit is by offering discounts and special promotions. Whether your store sells electronics, liquor, antiques, clothing, groceries or convenience items, chances are it will benefit from the use of special promotions. The fact is that customers want to feel like they are getting a good deal on their purchase. By placing a bug "special sale" sign on your product, you will give customers this feeling. To learn more about how you can increase your store's profits through special promotions, keep reading.

Follow The Holidays


If you've been in the retail business for any length of time, you've probably noticed that holidays are the best time of year in terms of sales. While the Christmas season draws the most sales, you'll still see higher numbers during other holidays as well. You can use this to your advantage by offering your customers special sales and promotions during the holidays.

Let's face it, trying to keep up with all of the different holidays throughout the year can be challenging, especially when you are busy focusing on the more important aspects of your business. However, allowing these holidays to slide by without using them to leverage promotions is a mistake that far too many business owners make. If you haven't done so already, pick up a calender so you can see exactly when the upcoming holidays take place.

Get Rid of Old Product


If your store has product that simply doesn't seem to sell easily, you can encourage customers to purchase it by offering a special promotion. Simply mark down the price on any stubborn products in your store and chances are customers will snatch it up. This can be extremely helpful for moving out-of-season clothes and accessories that customers aren't willing to pay full price for. Of course, you may not be able to use this method to get rid of groceries that are past their expiration date. In this case, you'll have to toss them out and count them as shrink.

Choosing a "Sale" Price


So, how do you choose a sale price for your products? There's a fine line between giving your customers a good deal and losing money on a transaction. To ensure your business remains profitable, you need to avoid pricing your products too low. Instead, work on finding a happy medium that allows you to profit from a transaction while giving your customers a good deal. Always be aware of your profit margins when offering sales and special promotions.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How To Get The Most Benefit Out of Your Gondola Shelving

Most experienced and successful retail store owners will agree that gondola shelving is the best all-around way to display products to your customers. While there are several different types of gondolas available, most of them are designed in the same fashion. Gondola shelving units have fully adjustable shelves that can be moved up or down to better fit the product. In addition, the entire gondola can be moved to a different area of the store by lifting the unit and placing wheels underneath. To learn more about gondolas and how you can get the most benefit out of them, keep reading.

Shelf Sizing


Arguably, the single most important thing to remember when using a gondola unit is to properly adjust the shelves so it gives your product just enough clearance to pull out. Spacing out the shelves too far will result in reduced space, which ultimately forces you to give up some of your product. You can maximize the amount of product space you have by properly adjusting the shelves on your gondola unit. Ideally, the shelf about a row of products should be just tall enough for the tallest product to pull out without hitting the shelf. If you haven't done so already, go around to your various gondola units to adjust the shelves in this manner.

Keep It Clean


I can't stress just how important it is to keep your gondola units clean. While gondolas are naturally durable, you can maintain their fresh new appearance by occasionally cleaning them. So, how are you supposed to clean a gondola unit? We go over this in more detail in a previous post, but the basic idea is to remove all of the product from the shelves before wiping it down with a clean paper towel and glass cleaner. Glass cleaner works wonders to not only remove dust and dirt from a gondola shelf, but it also leaves it with a shiny surface.

Use End Caps


If you aren't using end caps on each and every gondola unit, you are missing out on valuable product real estate. As the name suggests, end caps are designed to fit onto the ends of gondolas. When customers walk by an aisle, they will still take notice of the end caps; therefore, you can use this to your advantage by placing products out on display here. The secret is to display spontaneous purchase items that people will buy on the fly.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Business Tips For Wine Store Owners

Operating a wine store is a fun and financially rewarding venture that allows you to work for yourself. If you are experienced and knowledgeable in the different types of wine, then perhaps this is the industry that's right for you. Unfortunately, far too many people expect their retail wine business to automatically start with a successful client base. Like all businesses, you must work from the ground up to create a client base. Only then can you expect to have a long-lasting, profitable business. If this is something you are interested in, keep reading to learn some more essential business tips for retail wine store owners.

Tip #1 - Know Which Licenses and Permits You Need


One of the most confusing parts of opening and running a wine store is trying to determine which permits and licenses are necessary. Since the requirements vary depending on the city's laws, it's oftentimes a challenge to find out what you need. So, how do you know what's required for opening a retail wine store? The easiest way is to take a trip to the local city planning office in the city where you intend on opening the store. Ask to speak with someone about your desire to open a retail wine store. They should be able to walk you through all of the necessary licenses are permits that are required.

Tip #2 - Naming Your Store


A common mistake newcomers to the retail wine industry make is giving their store a generic name. While this may be easier, it doesn't allow you to brand your business. Instead, take the time to choose a unique name that people can remember. Over time, people will recognize your store's name as a trusted leader in the retail wine business. If you are having trouble choosing a name, go back to the basics of what your store is about -- wine. From there, you can mix some unique terms and words to achieve a uniquely brandable store name.

Tip #3 -  Get Wholesale Prices


You can't expect to run a successful retail wine store if you are purchasing product at a premium cost. Even if there's still a margin to be made, it might not be enough to cover the costs of overhead, employee wages and other associated costs. The only way you are going to make a profit it by purchasing your wine from distributors and wineries at wholesale. Talk with your distributors and wineries to see if they are willing to work with you on the price. In most cases, they will offer a lower price for a greater amount of product purchased. You don't have to necessarily place all of your wine product out in your store for sale, but instead place some on the shelves and the rest in storage.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Simple and Effective Ways To Clean a Gondola Shelf

Gondola shelving offers one of the best all-around ways to display product in a retail store. Instead of using built-in shelves that don't move, you can build completely moveable and adjustable gondola shelving units for your store. Like all shelves, though, you'll need to know how to properly clean and maintain them. Retail stores naturally attract a large amount of dust, dirt and debris from doors constantly being open and new boxed products coming in. If you fail to clean your gondola shelves, they will accumulate layers of thick dust. The good news is that cleaning gondolas is a fairly simple and straightforward process that should only take a couple minutes of your free time; here's how you do it:

Remove The Product


The first step necessary for cleaning a dirty gondola shelf is to remove all of the product from it. I know some people might want to avoid doing this, but it's necessary for a thorough cleaning. Just pull all of the product form the gondola and place it in a buggy or some bread trays. You can leave the price tags on the front of the gondola shelf to help you remember where the product goes. As you are pulling the product off, look for any damaged or expired goods that need to be thrown away.

Vinegar Solution


There are several different ways to clean a gondola shelf, but nothing works better than good old fashion vinegar. It's cheap, all-natural, and works wonders on gondola shelves. You don't have to use pure vinegar, but instead mix it with about half water. This will create a powerful, acidic solution that makes easy work of dust and dirt. Ideally, you should pour the mixture into a spray bottle to use on the gondola shelves. If you don't have a spray bottle, though, you can still use it in a cup or bucket.

Once you've made the solution of diluted vinegar, it's time to get to work. Go back to the gondola shelves that you recently removed the product from and spray them down with the vinegar. Using a clean paper towel, wipe the diluted vinegar and any dust or dirt off the shelf. Continue doing this on each and every shelf until you've cleaned the entire gondola. Be warned, though, it may require a large portion of paper towels to fully clean a gondola. Stock up beforehand on supplies to make the process faster and less of a hassle.


Monday, May 13, 2013

How To Reduce Theft In Your Retail Store

Shoplifting is a growing problem in the retail industry that doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. It's not something store owners or managers want to think about, but theft does occur, and more often than you may realize. According to some estimates, over $13 billion worth of goods are stolen each year. As an owner, it's your responsibility to tackle the issue of theft to ensure your business remains profitable and successful. Keep reading for some essential tips on how to reduce theft in a retail store.

Use Cameras


When you are busy spending money on products, services and employee payroll for your store, you might not have a lot of cash left over. This of course is especially true during the early stages of a retail store when the business is trying to establish itself. However, it's always a smart idea to invest in security cameras for your store. Once installed, they will allow you to keep an eye on your store at all times. If you notice product is missing, check the recordings to see whether or not a shoplifter is to blame. You can even hand this footage over to the local police authorities to help in their investigation.

Contrary to what some people may believe, a security camera system doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Thanks to the advancements in modern technology, full security camera systems can be purchased for $750-$1,000. As you are shopping for a new security system, pay close attention to how it records. Some of the recent cameras on the market use networking technology to send the feed to an address where you can log in and view it in real time.

Watch Your Employees


Over half of all retail store theft comes from employees. Even if you "think" your employees are trustworthy, you must always err on the side of caution. Avoid placing open products in the back room where employees can freely access it. Instead, a better option is to use a cage for storing valuable products and only give the manager a key to access it. This will naturally help to reduce theft by employees in your store.

You can also setup security cameras in the back of your store where employees frequently work. Even if the cameras never catch your employees stealing product, just the sight of the cameras will likely sway their desire to steal.

Friday, May 10, 2013

What To Look For When Purchasing a Retail Store Cooler

If you own or are planning to open a retail store in the near future that sells refrigerated food products, you are inevitably going to need a cooler. Purchasing one is a smart investment that's sure to pay off in the long run with more customers and ultimately more sales. With so many different types of coolers and freezers available on the market, choosing one can prove to be a challenge. If you are having trouble selecting the right one for your retail store, keep reading for a simple guide on what to look for when purchasing a retail store cooler.

Doors


Arguably, one of the most important things you should consider when purchasing a cooler for your retail store is the number of doors it contains. A unit with 3 doors will allow multiple customers to pickup products simultaneously, while a single-door model will force them to wait. With that said, however, there are some potential disadvantages to using a model with a large number of doors, such as the increased amount of space it requires. Ask yourself how much refrigerated product you intend on offering your retail store and then choose a cooler with the right number of doors to meet your needs.

In addition to the number of doors, you should also consider how they are designed to open. Sliding doors are a popular choice because they don't require any additional space. You can stick them in a tight corner or area in the store without worrying about the doors getting in your customers' way. On the other hand, doors that swing open will require a bit more clearance in front to remain functional and operational.

Shelves


Of course, you can't shop for a cooler or freezer for your retail store without taking into consideration the number of shelves it contains. Common sense should tell you that the more shelves it container, the more product you'll be able to store. While this is partially true, it doesn't always work out exactly like this. The fact is that some products are taller than others; therefore, they will require more overhead clearance to fit inside a cooler. Thankfully, coolers and freezers are built with adjustable shelves that give you the freedom to raise or lower based on the product being stored. If a product in your cooler is tall, just raise the shelf above it to the desired height. Doing so will allow the product to fit inside the cooler without bumping into the overhead shelf.