Low-cost ideas to renew the feel of your store
By Linda Cahan
In your customers’ minds, spring starts in April no matter what’s happening outside. Here are some ideas to refresh your store and sales for spring 2020.
A few things you can do today
If you have props such as towels, plants, rocks, flowers, plastic glassware, rubber ducks or anything that will add visual pop to your store, clean it, dust it, wash it or dump it now.
If any of your signs look faded, old, creased, torn or out of date, remove them. They only need to be replaced if they provide essential information. This goes for vendor signs as well. Vendor signs only belong on, near or above where their merchandise is housed. There is no need for random signs around the store. They are not décor items, nor are they meant to make blank walls look interesting. They mean nothing unless the merchandise they represent is right below the sign.
Wash all your outdoor signage and make sure all bulbs are working.
Find a dedicated UPS pickup/ship area in your store that is out of your customers’ sight.
Clear the clutter
Is there room for a person to place a handbag at the checkout counter? At least 20 inches of clean and clutter-free space is needed to comfortably ring up a sale.
Do you have impulse items under $12 on the counter? If not, consider adding some to increase your bottom line. Ace Hardware in the Portland, Oregon, area added locally made pretzels near the checkout area. They sold so well they’re being reordered often. I bought some along with some light bulbs and fasteners, and they were a tasty hit at a birthday party I attended later that day.
Having often-needed small items on the checkout counter always makes sense. Depending on how much counter space you have, you may showcase a new product every few weeks with a Plexi sign holder that says NEW PRODUCT with the pertinent information in (at least) 12-point type. New spa aromatherapy scents can be tested at the counter as well as things that may get lost on shelves, such as inflatable drink holders. Blow up one, add a plastic cup and you have your display. New chemicals can be introduced on the counter as long as they are in small containers.
Ask your happy customers if they would be interested in being featured in a video on your social media and website. They can talk about their experience with your staff, as well as what using a hot tub means to them personally and as a family. Carve out a small area in the store where they can be filmed with a little privacy. If that’s not possible, film them in front of a unit they own or something as similar as possible.
A spring refresh can also mean painting a focal wall a bright color. Apple green is always popular and works well with most other colors. Just a pop of color can update the look and feel of your store overnight.
Entertain the kids
Add a children’s corner away from the front door and filled hot tubs for safety. Customers shopping with children will spend far less time in the store than those without. To entice a longer stay, consider a walk-around toy for the child to play with to keep him/her occupied. Ideally, it is inexpensive enough to give it to them when they leave. The Nee-Doh Glob is a great idea: Schylling.com/P/NeeDoh
For older children, have a store tablet with preloaded games. Most will happily walk around occupied with the tablet until it’s time to go.
Extra amenities are a major retail trend for 2020. If you don’t already have a coffee/tea bar, now is the time to add one.
Add a coffee/tea bar with hot water, and caffeinated and noncaffeinated coffee and tea. Don’t forget regular sugar, Equal (or whatever your choice) and Stevia. The coffee/tea area can work well near your checkout area so staff can point it out to customers. A self-serve refrigerator is a plus for warmer weather. That’s where the bottled waters can go, including plain carbonated water.
Think about a thank-you gift when a customer buys a spa or large accessory. They are fun, memorable — and people love something for free. I suggest samples of spa scents and a small chocolate square or two, depending on the cost. Add whatever makes sense for you and your customers.
If you have white walls, they may need to be repainted at least every other year and washed once a year. While it can be time-consuming to move merchandise on account of painting, dirty or stained walls of any color visually degrade the perceived worth of your merchandise and your ability to maintain expensive spas.
Spring is the time for regrowth, and any of these ideas will add growth to your sales.
LINDA CAHAN is an internationally known expert in visual merchandising strategy and store design. She gives seminars, workshops, trains and consults for chain stores and independent retailers. Along with SpaRetailer, she writes for several other retail magazines, and is the author of two books and seven corporate visual standards manuals. Cahan lives in West Linn, Oregon. lindacahan.com