I am often asked what the best practices are regarding in-store merchandising. That always drives me a bit crazy because there is no magic pill of “do these 10 things and you will win, win, win.”
It takes a combo of things; I know we all want the easiest thing you can do. I can happily provide a list of things that a store staff can do from housekeeping to strategic display placement and updating of goods featured. My No. 1 to-do is the simplest and in some cases most challenging to achieve and that is be a happy fun place! That’s it. Every retailer has a different style, budget, space, resources to use, but it’s virtually no cost to make you and your store staff gives a happy, fun, warm energetic vibe to customers. Yes, a clean, organize and fresh store is hugely important, but if the store is nice looking and well set up but the mood, energy and the feel is not welcoming – it’s stuffy, static or the staff is only having fun with each other and not engaging – to me we have a big problem.
We all regard the boating industry as an enthusiast-based one, and that many of us do this kind of work because we starting boating very early on and we love what we do. That spirit can translate into sales via the connection you have with customers. We all know that customers do not need boats – they desire them. So why would we open a store and not try to connected? Not try to communicate and relate to people that just want to escape their regular day lives?
What we sell is fun, escape, connection to nature, to people, it helps people feed their spirit and when we look at customers in this way we likely will generate more sales, longer lasting customer relationships. I know for many of you this is a big fat duh, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves that good vibes and spirit starts with us, our staff and that customers can’t help but be taken in by the infectious spirit we project. On the eve of a new boating season, make an effort to renew your stores spirit.
My makeover list to-dos:
- Smile more! If you have been in this work for years – or decades – you used to smile a lot and if you are not now, why? We all have tough days, but think about it: I have always said I never want a real job and I have never felt that my work has been work. I do 10 times better when I am smiling. A smile for your entire staff the first thing in the am and at everyone you see is a big mood changer and therefore a great store makeover.
- Take time out daily to be thankful – for everything and to work in this industry and for the people that you work with.
- Communicate weekly with your store staff – ask about them make them feel valued look for helpful input.
- Celebrate as a team monthly/weekly as allowable, but never forget to do this! Dinner boat rides, wine/beer tasting, bowling, picnic – anything that brings the team together!
- Give staff ability to use ideas to display products, events, promo ideas, anything that allows them to team up!
- Laugh, smile and laugh … make sure everyone is on it and make sure customers are a part of the fun.
- Be engaging with customers, treat them as an old friend but respectfully; avoid tasteless joking, but joke and have fun with them.
- Make all people feel valued: salespeople, UPS person, mail person, any one that comes into your store. If you treat people badly it, reflects to you and you do not need negativity.
- When you feel good, your team feels good sales grows greatly.
- Being happy is good for your health as well as your bank balance … Don’t wait be happy!
Jennifer Robison is a National Retail Specialist for Tucker Rocky Distributing.