17 Ideas for Maximizing Sales Floor Space
Promote the Area of Greatest Value
The area of greatest value to your small store is what the eye sees first so if you have a shop window this is going to be the most valuable real estate of your store. What you put into it, what offers you make and how much space you give over to attracting custom has to be the primary consideration. Additionally, when you rented or bought your store the calculation for the value of it will have been made front to back of store so the surveyors will have evaluated the space closest to passing trade as being the most valuable part of your store. Your maximization of floor space therefore starts here and it must be an attractive presentation. Apart from the usual types of manikins for clothes, effective lighting, shelving systems, display cases, use of color, posters, videos and TV displays are all methods of communicating the goods you sell and a varied and interesting shop window has to be your biggest Asset for passing trade.
Finding extra space
To install a mezzanine floor you need at least 5m of headroom and room to install a staircase. This is the cheapest way of adding at least 50% to 75% extra space and if it is in any way removable it may avoid local taxes. It will have to meet building regulations which means you will have to provide for disabled access. However if you are adding this much potential to your sales space and you can still comply with building regulations and fire safety requirements, as well as the cost of disabled access, you should be able to produce a profitable calculation to support the cost of the installation .
Back of shop considerations
Do not think you have to vast storage at the back of your shop. It is often much cheaper to bring in more supporting stock from lower cost storage places, eg lock ups or even your own home, than have large areas given over to stock management. Consider the cost of the sales space as compared to cheaper warehousing space and try to bring as much of the back of the shop to the front of the shop so it becomes active selling space. If your busiest day is Saturday, it is always possible to work on a just in time basis where stocks for peak periods can be bought in advance. Just as long as you can meet your busiest day, it is often all you need to do. The rest of the time you can probably manage with less than a week's stock with deliveries in from understanding providers in a timely way supported by low cost, remote storage locations. Naturally this may require more work on your part but if you have a valuable retail location in a busy city center you are likely to be paying top prices for this privilege and this balance then becomes critical.
Changing rooms, customer service areas, toilets and washrooms, staff facilities, seating accommodation, and still providing an airy and spacious environment along with some soothing lighting and music, has to be an early consideration in design. Once you have decided on a format an interior designer is a useful port of call at an early stage. You will not maximize sales space by making customers feel uncomfortable by trying to fit too much in so theming is always a good route forward.
Use of displays
Both in store and in shop window environment displays are vital enabling rapid customer decisions. This may sound a little mercenary but the equation is very simple. Your best shopper is the one who spends most money in the shortest period of time. You should gear your store up to achieve this. Your next best shopper is the bargain hunter. Where you combine the two, you have a business model. You only need a large store when people are spending lots of time looking round lots of product lines. Displays speed up the decision making process and this in turn moves the customers quickly through the valuable floor space area freeing it up for the next buyer.
Use of catalogs
If you have very restrictive sales space, you may consider the use of catalogs or computer screens with easy selection methods and fast picking or delivery systems. The Argos or Screwfix models would be good comparisons.
Use of home delivery services
This is a powerful floor space maximizer where you can use a combination of off site sales, for example catalogs made out to prospect customers, the internet and other promotions. The stock can then be held remotely and delivered in without the need for the customer to visit the store at all. With these supporting services it is possible not only to maximize your floor space but to create vast potential beyond the doors.
On the premise that moving the customers through the floor space as quickly as possible is the prime objective to maximize a range of checkout and product facilitations need to be provided. This may include testers, samplers and changing rooms. However your stock must be easy and quick to access and also display storage restoration and management has to be as quick as possible so that items tested on or inspected by the customer can be quickly returned to the most attractive showroom presentation.
Consider posters, DVD displays or even making your own film showing the products being used is a great advantage, especially where there is any technical content. The easier and more appealing any product is the quicker you are likely to hit the impulse button. However there is another prospect. If your own staff use or otherwise model the products, moving displays are always more convincing. I would add to this that technical training on the product ranges and business operations are an attractive maximization especially to the older generations who are very often interested in the human aspects of your business and its products. Appealing to these interests creates winning bonds and strong customer loyalty.
If you do not have a creative flair an interior designer with industry specific experience will improve a wise business owner's performance by working jointly to achieve an objective. The fact is that businesses who employ professionals to add value to their selling and operational environments outperform those who do not employ professionals.
Wherever you have more than 5m of headroom you have the possibility of putting in an extra floor space. However you can still use high level display space beneeth 5m and above 2.4m with well light, visual and audio presentations, Remember just because you are not standing on it does not mean to say you can not use it to maximize sales activity on the Floor benefit it.
Floor space with split level or creating split levels can be particularly useful for display areas. Garden centers, outdoor equipment, and clothing all benefit from using split levels. It is another way of accessing other sudden dead space where there is an insufficient room to install another level or where there are partial basement areas that can be opened up for sales space.
External real estate
This is the area to the front of your building which may be used as pedestrian parking or even dormant grassed or garden areas. Restaurants often make particularly good use of these areas spilling into the street with tables and chairs for extra customers. You could also consider a mezzanine or a verandah to achieve the same effect.
Hidden floor space
The largest single source of hidden floor space which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, requires no staffing and in fact no property, is the internet. From the smallest floor space of 1m3 providing you can get your computer into the space you can trade. On this basis you have unlimited floor space. This should be your first consideration in deciding where, when and how you wish to conduct your business and exactly what floor space you require. Even the smallest of spaces can be significantly enhanced with good website deployment
Often you will see galleries displaying their artwork in restaurants and restaurants displaying their menus in hotels, especially in bedroom based tourist packs. Joint product promotions between you and other businesses enable you to partner with floor space many times your operational space. They are simple ideas but have to be a first consideration for the right mind set to maximize sales floor space.
Annual fairs, carnivals, markets and sporting activities are all additional and often low cost opportunities to maximize floor space beyond the walls of your primary unit and should feature in your research list.
Not only your website but featuring products on other websites as promotional materials in terms of vouchers, or other incentives to visit you, are both of value and create synergy between you and other businesses. You should never lose the opportunity of a recommendation. It is possible to have two or three websites where you have multiple product groups which benefit from a one word or phrase business. Shoes.com is much more likely to outperform jwbrownltd.com on the internet. Although jw brown's reputation for footwear may be a legend in its own right people do not enter jwbrown into search engines. They type in shoes. If you do not believe me, you will find the global monthly entry stands at close on 50 million as opposed to less than 800 for jwbrown – whoever he is! You would then further qualify this by the type of shoe you do and check your anti words to make sure that you are not hooking up inadvertently to some dubious site with which you would rather not be connected. This is a particular caution for AdWords users. In all events a well chosen website name will do a great deal to make your floor space busy, your business thrive and effectively maximize your floor space both in real estate and 'cyber estate' terms.