Store Owners - Five Ideas to Increase Sales

1. Animate your window display.

How often do you change your window display? Once a month? Once a week? Try changing your window display every day! I saw a very successful display that had five or six mannequins facing left and right with a backdrop of a street scene. Every day the mannequins would move a short distance in the direction they were facing and the backdrop would pan left or right along the 'street'. Sometimes the mannequins would stop to 'talk' to each other as those around them continued on their journey across the window. Although the store was slightly out of my way I found myself taking a detour to see where the cast of mannequins had got to and what they were doing! Your display does not have to be as complicated as the one I saw or even tell a story but use your creativity and imagination to change your window every day and create an illusion of movement.

2. Music does sell.

In a recent study French and German music was played on alternate days for two weeks in a UK supermarket. During the two week period there were in-store displays of French and German wines. The statistics showed that French music led to French wines outselling German wines, whereas German music led to German wines outselling French wine. Responses to a questionnaire suggested that customers were unaware of the effects of music on their product choices. Music is an essential element in any store because it can be used to create atmosphere and add texture to the environment. Can you think of a way to use it to directly influence product choice in your store!

3. Discounted impulse items.

This is an old idea but so often overlooked. Store owners know that "Save $15" is a much more powerful message than "20% off" and they also know that the best time to sell an extra item to a customer is when they come to pay. Experiment by combining the two and display only discounted impulse items near or on the checkout counter.

4. Your customers have email.

Now that almost everyone has an email address why not build a database of email addresses of your customers. Ask them at the checkout counter if they would like to be notified of seasonal sales, the arrival of new items etc. Don't give them a form to take away and complete because quite a few forms will never come back. Also don't ask them to write it down because it can hold things up if you have a customer waiting. Just keep a pen and lined paper handy, at a suitable point, ask them what their email address is and write it down for entry into your newsletter mailing software later. You only need to be successful at collecting a few email addresses every day and by the time your 'sale' comes around you could be emailing thousands of previous customers to let them know about the outstanding bargains!

5. Use the silent sales person.

Small store owners can be divided into those that care about in-store signage and those that don't. Poor signage, too many signs, misleading messages, spelling errors and signs written in black felt marker all send a negative message about your store and product. With the wide availability of desk-top publishing programs and cheap high quality ink-jet printers there is no excuse for poor in-store signage.

Make sure you produce professional looking signs, use good quality paper and uniform size acrylic sign holders. Decide what type of signs you need and for each kind select the key components. For example, title, price, product knowledge, ideas for use etc. then set up a template for each type of sign in your desk-top publishing system. This will make it easy for you to create new signs quickly and easily.

Choose a simple two or three color scheme and stick to it throughout the store. Make sure your signage is easy to read and don't try to put too much on one sign. Change the signage as often as you like so that regular customers don't get bored. Remember your silent sales person is always there when the customer needs them, can say everything about the merchandise that you would want them to and works all the hours your store is open.

Jodie Dean is the manager of Displayarama Store Fixtures a family run business selling discounted retail store display products. Talking with her many customers and listening to their experiences has given her a unique insight into retailing. You can call her Toll Free on 800-292-5227 or visit the Displayarama Store Fixtures website.

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