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.


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:


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.