Look at your business from a new perspective

Add a recurring monthly appointment to your calendar to conduct an audit of your store. Start with a walk from the popular parking areas towards your store.  Is your signage clear and clean? Are there outdoor advertising opportunities that would work well to help new customers to find you? You might also consider asking a friend or relative to visit to gauge the reception your staff give to new visitors.

 

Create a layout plan of your store and allocate sections which are included in your marketing plan, such as window display, counter display, end caps (the ends of shelving units or gondolas) and other feature points. Consider traffic movement and dwell areas in the store.  Ensure frequent rotation of items at these most popular locations. The right placement can trigger impulse purchases that would otherwise be missed opportunities.

 

Make every centimetre of shelf space earn its keep.  Naturally some areas of the store will be more profitable than others. EPOS systems can help you track this but if you aren't using EPOS you (or your team) will still recognise which products are not moving.  Your suppliers will also be able to give a report that shows which products you've ordered and when you last ordered them, which combined with an overview of your current stock levels will build a picture of slow & fast sellers.

 

Consider getting rid of stock that has not sold in 6 months.  Where possible try to return to suppliers for credit or use ebay to clear and recoup purchase cost, accepting a breakeven on these.  Any stock you cannot sell, offer it as a gift with purchase promotion to help other lines move, and if you really don't have another option, offer it to local charities and community groups first before throwing it away.  Some products will fly off the shelves faster than you can order more in, but not all your lines are going to be raging success stories and some simply won't work out.  When cutting out lines which are slow movers, consider that these may be bringing in customers who are purchasing other items from you.

 

How are offers and new products announced on shelf? Fluorescent orange stars with handwritten marker pens might be the quickest way of bringing something to your customers' attention but a clear typed and printed sign featuring your logo and laid out in your brand style will give your store a consistent and high-quality feel.  Your suppliers might be able to help you with internal signage, especially if it is regarding their products.

 

Marketing for Independent Retailers

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