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Small Business RevolutionBlog

Bristol Businesses

October 18, 2017

Top five things to consider when changing your retail store

For many small business owners, their own vision can often overwhelm the best of intentions.

For Polka Dot Parlor owner Paulette Kirk Kasmer, this was the case when she opened her retail clothing shop in downtown Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania. Yet it was her infectious personality and her drive to empower women of all ages that drew us to pick her as one of six small businesses featured on the Small Business Revolution – Main Street.

Paulette’s vision to create a retail shop where women can find the right jacket or dress or shirt or piece of jewelry spiraled a little out of control when she continually packed more items into her small shop. From the outside looking in, you couldn’t see through the racks and racks of clothes. To a shopper, this is overwhelming.

When you go to any store you want it to feel inviting; you want it to feel like it flows; and most importantly, you want to find that diamond in the rough to buy that makes you feel “special.” If you immediately feel overcome with a lot of different product, you may not stay to look and find that special buy.

Working with Deluxe and our retail expert Lynne Robertson, owner and founder of Fame, we worked with Paulette to “unclutter” her mind when it came to inventory. Less is better and flow is essentially important. Below are five tips for retail store owners:

  1. Outside store displays

    The storefront sets an immediate impression. Yet for many business owners, it can be overlooked when dealing with the inside of the business. If someone sees something they like in your store window, chances are they’re going to walk into the store to see the displayed piece and quite possibly see something else they might want to buy. The window display acts like a reveal or a sneak peek to lure people in.

  2. Store set up

    Just as too much product can look cluttered, so can too many colors in your shop. Having a clean theme that represents your style and what you stand for is critical for any small business owner. Paulette listened closely to us in revamping her story, not only making it more inviting by removing some inventory, but she also changed the paint and rearranged things to give it an easier and more walkable flow.

  3. Remerchandising

    Rather than racks and racks of clothes throughout the store, Paulette listened to Lynne Robertson and created mini “Parlor-ettes” where clothing was put into themes. This made the shopping experience that much more cohesive for anyone who came in. It also made it feel like a new story to her loyal customers.

  4. Inventory

    When inventory sits on the racks too long, you are losing money. It sounds redundant, but if you have some items in your store that no one is buying, then maybe don’t buy those items or anything like those items. Paying attention to what your customers are buying is key for inventory. If you have a lot of repeat customers who love certain things, buy more of those or have more color options. If you show interest in what your customers are buying and are buying for them, they’ll notice and be even more likely to purchase things from your store. It’s also important to track the cost of goods.

  5. Promotional calendar

    As a good rule of thumb, Deluxe suggested Paulette send emails out at least two times a month. If she has news, she can send more out, but in order to keep on customer’s radar, sending at least to emails a month will ensure you stay top of mind with customers.

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