July 11, 2007

Merchandising, again...

I've always been interested in having a shop - and may do a little trial Etsy one - so try and read up on merchandising and how to make the products interesting to the buyers.

I went over at the Woman's Industrial Exchange again today (they're on my block at the office) to introduce myself to their new manager (congrats!), and so share some of the suggestions I had made to their board chair about some things to perk up the shop. Here are some of the suggestions I made:

1) Put the shop's name and hours on the front door.
2) If there are two sets of doors, keep the first set open, so people can tell you're there.
3) Don't display the gorgeous etched glass on industrial black metal shelves.
4) Store the boxes from the glass in the back of the store, not on the floor in the shop!
5) Make price tags readable. I know you have consigner codes, but don't make me put on my reading glasses to see how much it costs.

None of these suggestions are difficult to implement, but they will make a lot of difference in the store. Seriously, if you don't have any hours listed, and your doors are closed, then you're not going to get much walk-in traffic.
Shopping bags? You don't have to get fancy ones with your shop logo printed on the sides. Just print out a bunch of large mailing labels with your shop logo and name, and your website and phone number and put them on plain white shopping bags, which can be acquired from a display company, or the amazing ULine. Depending on your merchandise, you can probably get away with two sizes of bags. You can buy nice white paper bags with handles for about 25¢ each.

There's a marvelous little book, published by the former Victoria magazine, called A Shop of One's Own. I recommended this to a friend who's getting ready to think about opening a store, and she thought it was full of good practical advice. One thing this book talks about in many different ways is merchandising. This is also known as display.
You don't need to have every single thing in your stock on the salesroom floor at the same time. Sometimes it is better to only show off two hats, and have a sign saying you have different colours in stock, than to have all 30 hats. Or if you do have them, don't line them up like little soldiers, be creative. The WIE has some fabulous display pieces and beautiful old beadboard walls. But you don't notice them because they're not used to their full effect.

Do you have pet peeves about stores where you shop? Do you hesitate to ask for something because the storekeeper is having a personal phone conversation? Do you give up looking after a few minutes because there's just too much stuff with no rhyme or reason?

10 comments:

  1. i have this book and love it. isn't fun to look at ? i save overhead i suppose by having a little niche in my home...great ideas...

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  2. Yes, stores bother. Especially since i used to be a regional visual merchandise mgr. for a chain.

    Now I am reduced to doing the windows for Nearly New for Junior league.

    What can I say, I love it.

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  3. This is a great post even though I'm not opening a shop. My pet peeve is stuff not priced. I'm not going to lug 2 kiddos to find a salesperson to wait while she then goes and finds out. If there's no price I probably won't ask. Same with personal phone conversations!

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  4. Pink... I totally agree. I feel like they're looking at me and checking my shoes and handbag before they decide on a price. Most people are uncomfortable asking prices, since they're afraid that if they say no, the sales help will think they're cheap.

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  5. Being from a packaging family, I am always looking at everyone's bags, bows and tissue paper. Love that book from Victoria. I just received a card in the mail annoucing that it's coming back into circulation :-) I am THRILLED!

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  6. I'm with the others- hate it when there are no prices (I think that's just lazy), and no store hours posted is insane. I think all of your ideas are great!

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  7. I love the look of this book - do you think it is available on Amazon?
    XO
    Anna
    Absolutely Beautiful Things Blog

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  8. Oh, I just clicked on the link and there it was on Amazon. Sorry!

    XO
    Anna

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  9. I hate when a salesperson follows me the whole time I'm shopping, like I'm going to steal somthing. Having worked in retail in a store for several years, until recently, I always look at the wrapping, displays, how easy it is to get to the merchandise and are prices easy to see. I don't like having to step over stuff on the floor to try to reach something that is above my head to pick it up and see the price.
    I'll have to check the book out.
    I would love to have a store front one day of my own.

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  10. ^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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