In phase I, I discussed the elements of retail store design and how they affected shopping behavior. Now that you have a better idea of your store type and the elements that go into creating an effective retail store design, you can begin to further develop your retail store. The tools needed for this next phase are retail merchandising, retail marketing, and of course your store employees.
Retail merchandising is the next step towards developing your retail store environment. The stores design layout will guide your customer traffic using strategic placement of the department categories. Along the way shoppers are exposed to many different products. The arrangement and placement of these products are vital to a profitable store. Merchandise placement at eye level will drive the sales of that product dramatically. For this reason, your most profitable or high priced versions of those products should be placed at eye level. Utilizing just this one aspect of retail merchandising will give your store a distinct advantage over its competition. Merchandise placement can give your store a competitive leg up, but don’t forget that the merchandising still has to be visually appealing, organized and properly stocked. These details in your retail merchandising have great impact on your stores profitability.
The marketing of your retail store will naturally be geared to serve its retail store type. An upscale retail store for example will offer more high end products choices and provide exclusive brand names. Marketing these products along with upscale services will draw that stores preferred customer type into the store. This stores marketing plan should include an attractive well developed logo, branded colors, employee uniforms, custom colored shopping carts, print advertising in the best local publications and sponsorship of a well known local event, such as a golf tournament. This stores marketing plan should constantly communicate to their customer base where ever they spend time. What customer type should you market to, and where do they hang out?
Your store employees are a critical part of your business. They provide customer service, product knowledge, and a personality to your store. That is why you should make every effort to constantly improve their customer service skills and product knowledge education. Making a practice of investing in your employees will engage them by appealing to the most basic of human needs…self improvement. Educating and coaching your employees will undoubtedly increase their knowledge level and result in better customer service, loyalty, confidence and sales ability.
Whether you are building a new retail store or making improvements to an existing one, perfecting each of the core elements of your store is paramount to your success. Good retail store design, retail customer service, employee training, retail marketing and strong retail merchandising are the foundation blocks of your business and will determine your stores future.