Has Your Store Been Abandoned?

Has your store been abandoned . . . or does it just look like it’s abandoned? “No way” says you, “we have sales staff, lots of inventory and we’re open for business!”

The problem is your store may be open for business, but it just doesn’t look like it! Have you ever stepped back and taken an objective view of your place of business? Do you have area assignments for your sales personnel? Are they trained to approach any and all consumers with an offer to help them or direct them as needed? Are your sales personnel trained in the art of salesmanship and do they have an arsenal of great sale items and other incentives?

Is your selling staff just persons with a name tag or are they trained to augment sales and enrich the reputation of the store? Expressed more succinctly, is your staff just an expense or do they genuinely enhance both the sales and reputation of your store?

In my line of work, I visit a lot of stores, both related to our industry and those stores that sell everything but tackle and sporting goods. Irrespective of what a store sells, the store and its personnel must appear to be alive, vibrant and fully engaged in the business of making its consumers satisfied. To the extent that the store looks dead, empty and attended by an uninterested group of salespersons, then its sales and reputation will suffer greatly.

 The successful store is so, not because of good luck or happenstance, but rather by strong presentation, interactive displays and selling personnel who make the consumer their first concern rather than completing miscellaneous store housekeeping chores.

Store sales don’t just materialize by luck or happenstance; they generally happen because the store stocks inventory that’s in demand, is competitively priced and merchandised is such a way that sales are maximized. If the store looks stale, diminished or abandoned, or if the personnel are not to be seen, then you are likely to receive an in-kind reaction from the consumers . . . abandonment!

And finally, let me add one final element that will prevent the appearance of abandonment . . . it’s incentives and excitement. As the consumers enter the store, they should be greeted by a sense of value, anticipation and time urgency. Visiting consumers should see a listing of the day’s special values prominently posted at multiple places around the store.

Displays should have sale items which are hard hitting and coupled with a sense of time urgency signing such as “this weekend only,” “today only,” while supply lasts,” and the like. Major traffic aisles should have table, pallet or racked displays of really good values with strong visible attraction. Consumers are highly reactive to value purchases while quantities last or for a limited time. 

My counsel to you is to visit your own store and make a long and hard assessment of what you see, don’t see or the ultimate message being received. Are you sensing abandonment or an invitation to enter, look around and enjoy the many merchandise values to be discovered?