1. Manage the merchandise assortment. Too often the store simply has too many options for products. You need to pare down your assortment to collections of products that are manageable and can actually fit within the space your have. This requires going through sales of every product and seeing how often one sells. If a product is selling only once every six months, chances are you can get rid of it. Remember, the 80/20 rule applies – 80% of sales come from only 20% of products represented so make sure you pare down.
2. Open up sightlines. Many small retailers buy a myriad of tall fixtures to fit all those products that aren’t selling. Tall fixtures only make the store feel more cluttered. If you work on lowering the fixtures so a customer can see from one side of the store to the next, the store will feel more open. I was in a tiny stationery and card store last weekend that had done exactly that. And that made their 300 sq. ft. store feel like a great little boutique vs. a little store of walls.
3. Get your products on the right fixtures. While on the fixtures on the floor need to be open so sightlines are clear, you can use fixtures that are taller along the walls in order to maximize space. You don’t want to take them to the ceiling as that will still give the store a closed-in feel. But if you make them taller to hold more merchandise AND leave empty wall above them, the store will still feel considerably more open.
4. Get it off the floor. I’ve seen baskets, boxes and everything in between on the floor holding merchandise so customers have to run an obstacle course to get through your store. Bad idea. It makes your store feel like a flea market versus a great boutique. Customers don’t want to shop the floor – especially in winter when floors are dirty and wet.
How are you creating more space in your space?
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