Hardware Retailing

OCT 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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October 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING 83 Make your store signage work for you. Be sure your interior signage and any displays that protrude into aisles are attractive, easy to see and draw customers into each department. Make sure they don't confuse, distract or make the store noncompliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Directional signage should always be highly visible and up to date. Ask for outside help every few years, if not annually. Ask a retailer who isn't a competitor to walk your store and give you honest feedback. A fellow independent home improvement retailer will understand many of your business challenges and may be able to offer suggestions that never would have occurred to you. If you give that retailer permission to be boldly transparent about what they think you can improve, then you might hear some important, hard truths that no one else has the guts to tell you. An outsider will be more likely to notice problem areas than you will, especially if you're trying to improve a location you see daily. They may suggest quick fixes, as well as long-term goals to set. Give your store's exterior a 360-degree inspection. Consider both the appearance and safety of a store and parking lot. Does the building look inviting? Are the window displays attractive and current? Is every window used well, or do some merely show the ends of interior fixtures? Could you better merchandise your outdoor displays or storage areas that are visible to customers? Is signage well- maintained and easy to see? Is the parking lot well-lit at night? Would replacing, adding or moving security cameras improve safety? Keep the store critique process consistent. Use a checklist or worksheet as a standardized tool to assess your operation. Doing so will help you consistently evaluate your business over time and notice issues you wouldn't have spotted if you hadn't looked for them. If fellow retailers critique your store, then ask them to use the standard list so they don't miss anything. To download a critique sheet, visit TheRedT.com/critique-sheet. Think strategically about your main aisle. Your power aisle should be a well-planned and well-executed attention-getter. Plan ahead for creative displays, which showcase seasonally appropriate products, and consider the products you place in your dump bins. Dump bins are a good solution to merchandise impulse and sale items, but ensure they don't look messy. 6 7 8 10 9

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