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Wyoming Business Tips for Oct. 29-Nov. 4

October 20, 2017

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 northwest regional director

“Can I do some things to my retail business that will give it a better appearance on a limited budget?” Wally, Sheridan

The holidays are a busy time for many retail businesses -- they will be here soon -- so, you want your first impression to be a good one.

Let us start outside and look at your store from a customer’s perspective. Your window displays should be used to get people’s attention -- those walking by -- and, in some cases, driving by. Make sure people can see the display by having it well lit, especially if people tend to see it at night.

Avoid using your doors and windows -- prime display space -- for advertising all the local fundraisers, high school team schedules and so on. It is great to support those activities; just do it at a separate location, such as on a bulletin board within the store.

Once customers are in the door, it 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, and make them smile, even better.

Remember, your merchandise should be displayed from the knees to about 6 inches above the customer’s head. They do not want to, and usually will not, bend over to get items off the floor, or they simply will not see them if displayed too high.

Now, for two big tips:

-- Most stores do not have enough light. People will not buy it if they cannot see it. Replace burned-out light bulbs. If possible, use track lighting to highlight merchandise, not the wall or the floor.

-- Finally, if appropriate, get your customers to touch the product. They are much more likely to buy if they pick it up and look at it, smell it, feel it and fall in love with it.

Of course, you need to have excellent service as well, but that is a topic for another day.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at

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, email, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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