Small Business Center
By Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender, Kizer & Bender Speaking
We recommend store owners and managers do a 360 Degree Pass-By each morning before unlocking the doors for business and store associates do it at the beginning of every shift. This exercise should take about five minutes. The first few times, you won’t notice much, but the more you do it, the more things will pop out that need attention. Here’s how:
1. Begin outside your store. Does the storefront require paint or repair? Is the common area outside the store cluttered or in need of cleanup? Can customers easily see your window and exterior signing? Are your windows clean? Are the window displays current, neat and fully accessorized?
2. Access the decompression zone. The decompression zone is the five to 15 feet just inside the door. Its job is to slow rushed and distracted customers so they can concentrate on shopping. Your decompression zone should be uncluttered and inviting.
3. Walk through each area. This includes the checkout and service areas. Make sure each area is clean, neat and properly set to reflect the caring professionalism of your store.
4. Walk the aisles. Shoppers need to be able to move freely through your sales floor. Is product blocking the aisles? Can shoppers maneuver carts, walkers, wheelchairs, motorized scooters and strollers down the aisles? Can two shoppers easily pass one another?
5. Survey your merchandise presentation. Are your displays fresh? Do they encourage shoppers to stop and look, and do they entice shoppers to buy? Do any open areas need attention?
6. Make a quick pass through service areas and restrooms. Note anything that needs to be taken care of before the store opens.
If you do the 360 Degree Pass-By each day, you’ll become attuned to things that are out of place or need immediate attention. Once a quarter, dig deeper with our No-Fail Perception Exercise:
1. Look at the same things you review during your daily 360 Degree Pass-By, but spend more time observing each area.
2. Don’t fix, move or adjust anything before you do this exercise. You want a clean vision of what the sales floor really looks like on a typical day. Survey your store during regular business hours, not before opening or after closing.
3. Dress in the same attire as a typical customer. If it’s cold outside, put on a winter coat. If customers shop with children, take a stroller and diaper bag with you. It’s also a good idea to do this exercise while in a wheelchair or driving a motorized scooter.
4. Don’t just put on your coat, walk out the door and walk back in; hop in your car and drive down the street. Re-enter the parking lot and drive by the store from all directions so you can see what it looks like from different perspectives.
5. Carry a notepad and make a list of things you need to do. You can prioritize your list later and make changes as necessary. You might even want to ask an associate or a customer to do the same exercise. You can compare notes later.
6. Take a look around. Do your walls need a fresh coat of paint? Do the decor colors flatter your product? Do you have large display props that take away from the ambience of your store?
7. Do your fixtures help sell product? Fixtures are meant to disappear so the product can shine. Eliminate fixtures that limit a shopper’s view into or through the store. Place lower fixtures toward the front and taller fixtures toward the back. This gives shoppers a good line of sight throughout the sales floor.
8. Take a look at your lighting. Shoppers in their 60s need three times the light to see as they did in their 20s. If your lighting is bad, there’s a good chance Baby Boomer customers cannot see your merchandise clearly. Check for burned out bulbs and areas that require additional lighting.
9. Do displays need to be restocked? Does product need to be fluffed? Does each display tell a story? And most important, are they selling product?
10. Evaluate your checkout area to make sure it:
11. Review in-store signage so it reflects the style and personality of your store. Can customers read signs easily? Do old signs need to be removed, or are handwritten signs taped to fixtures that need to be redone and placed in sign holders?
12. After completing this exercise, take photos of your sales floor. A camera sees what you miss. It has no personal investment in what it sees; it sees only what is in front of it.
This content originally appeared at www.retailadventuresblog.com/2021/05/2-retail-exercises-to-adopt-right-now.html.