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Published October 03, 2019
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Bruce Morse, regional director, Wyoming SBDC Network
School is back in session, and fall is officially here, so why not take some time to give your business a makeover before the holiday season arrives?
Start outside, and look at your business the way customers do. Your windows and window displays should be used to get people’s attention -- those walking by and, in some cases, those 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, vacuum up the dead flies and remove faded items. That Wyoming sun fades inventory quickly. Avoid using your doors and windows (prime display space) for advertising all the local fundraisers, high school team schedules, etc. It’s great to support those activities. Just do it at a separate location, such as a bulletin board within the store.
What about your signage? Can it be seen by those walking by your store? Blade signs that are perpendicular to the building, or hang from the awning, are more effective at this than a sign positioned flat against the building 15 feet off the sidewalk. Sandwich boards can work, too, if your community allows them.
Once they are in the door, the space should smell good -- not overpowering, but pleasant. Soft, appropriate music also can help. You want to create a welcoming, enjoyable ambiance. 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 as many have some large posters they will give you if you simply ask. Remember, your merchandise should be displayed from the knees to about 6 inches over the customer’s head.
They don’t want to, and usually won’t, bend over to get items off the floor or they simply won’t see them. If you would like more detail on an ideal store layout and how customers move or flow through a retail space, see the Sept. 17 Wyoming SBDC Network Biz Tip, titled “Mapping Your Retail Space.”
Now, the two biggest ways to improve sales involve light and touch. Most stores don’t have enough light. People won’t buy it if they can’t see it. Replace burnt-out bulbs. If possible, use track lighting to light up the merchandise, not the wall or the floor. And, finally, get your customers to touch the product. They are much more likely to buy it if they pick it up and look at it, smell it, feel it and fall in love with it.
Let us know if you would like another set of eyes. One of our experts can swing by and give you some ideas to consider. To get in touch with your local Wyoming SBDC Network adviser for no-cost, confidential assistance, visit www.wyomingsbdc.org.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers business expertise to help Wyoming residents think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their businesses. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email email@example.com, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.