Wyoming Business Tips for Oct. 23

October 17, 2011

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Bruce Morse, WSBDC Region II director

"Are there some things I can do to my retail business that will give it a better appearance? I don't have much money to spend though," Mike, Lander

Now that school is back in session and the kids get a fresh start, how about a fresh look for your business?

Start outside. Your windows and window displays should be used to get people's attention for those walking or driving by. Make sure people can see the display by having it well lit, especially if people tend to see it at night.

Also, wash the glass periodically, and vacuum and remove faded items. Avoid using doors and windows (prime display space) for advertising all local fundraisers, high school team schedules and other flyers. It is great to support those activities, just do it at a separate location (bulletin board, etc.) within the store.

Once customers are in the door, the business should smell good, not overpowering, but pleasant. Soft, appropriate music also can help. How about a fresh coat of paint? Use small signs near the merchandise to help customers find what they are looking for, if you can do this in a fun way to make them smile, even better.

Consider using large format photography to help highlight various lines. Lean on your suppliers for this because some have large posters they will give you if you ask. Remember, your merchandise should be displayed from the knees to about six inches over the customer's head. They don't want to, and usually won't, bend over to get items off the floor.

Most stores do not have enough light. People will not buy it if they cannot see the merchandise. Replace burned out light bulbs. If possible, use track lighting to illuminate the merchandise, not the wall or the floor. And finally, get customers to touch the product. They are more likely to buy if they pick it up and look, smell and feel it.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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