03 Nov 2014

Why a Clean, Organized Store is Good for Business

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What’s most important every day in retail (what’s the goal)?

  1. Great customer service
  2. Knowing that the customer is always right (and will always be right)
  3. Being in-stock
  4. Having a clean and shoppable store always (every day)!

Of these 4 daily important goals…the easiest to attain each day is always having a clean and shoppable store.

Welcome to the first in a series of 8 ‘Store Revitalization’ articles related to cleaning up your store and creating a favorable shopping experience for your customers and associates.

Why even discuss always having a clean store every day.  It’s one of the most important and most visible aspects of retail.

There are some different opinions among retail experts, It really depends on your point of view; some will tell you that having strategic clutter in your stores will increase sales.   While others will tell you shoppers love wide aisles, easy to find items and good signage.

Cluttered and unclean may be the way to go if you are a thrift store or your customers like to go on treasure hunts.  I strongly believe shoppers still love having a clean, safe, well-organized shopping environment, even if you want to stuff as much merchandise in your store as possible.

Looking to revitalize your store, gas station, hotel or restaurant…regardless of the type of store or building, this is a great way to get start!

Impressions of your store begin before customers set foot inside.  A store may have great service and a wonderful selection inside…but they may be turned off by the look from outside your store.

Customer impressions matter.

Why must customers endure a cluttered storefront, worn or missing signage, gas pumps that don’t work properly, vending machines that are out of drinks, hand written messages stating the store open hours, trash in the parking lot, weeds growing on the front sidewalk apron?

Your Customers deserve a much better experience!  If you are not worried about the look and cleanliness of your store…this article is not for you.

If you want to have the cleanest, nicest store around…then I recommend you take a ‘fresh’ look at your store from a customer perspective.  The benefit you will see is an improved overall shopping experience that starts the moment the customer first drives or walks up to your store…start creating that consistent and favorable shopping experience for your customers today!

Let’s get started by looking at these areas on the outside of your box.  Here are some things I learned along the way about keeping a store clean every day.

1. Parking Lot – How do you maintain a parking lot free of trash, uncorralled carts with an unobstructed view of your store building?

Conduct a full-scale parking lot cleanup:

  • Keep the lot free of trash and debris
  • Keep lawn/bushes well maintained, free of weeds
  • Carts should be organized in designated areas
  • Do not permit lawn signs
  • Ensure all lights are in proper working order (check at night)
  • Monitor the lot for any potholes or breaks in cement
  • Curbs and pedestrian walkways and changes in walkway surfaces should be well-maintained and painted for visibility

2. Front Apron – How do you keep the walkway area clear and maintained between the front apron and the parking lot or street?

Focus on these Front Apron areas:

  • Ensure your associates do not take ‘smoke breaks’ in front of your store
  • Remove all existing banners from the front of your store
  • Remove all merchandise/displays from the front apron
  • Replace weathered or work signage
  • Paint any weathered areas of the front of store
  • Walk your store at night to ensure your store sign/marquee is illuminated and all perimeter lights are in working order
  • Ensure vendor machines are clean and operable
  • Place a garbage can on either side of the store entrance
  • Keep ‘Fire Lanes’ accessible

3. Store Entrance/Exit – How do you keep the Store Front entrance/exit clear and stocked with shopping tools?

  • Accurate and clearly visible store operating hours
  • Clear all merchandised products from this area
  • ‘Pull & Tag’ all shopping carts deemed ‘out of service’ to a designated area behind the store until they can be repaired
  • Remove any handmade signs or tape on Front windows and doors
  • Order sleeves to cover any damaged bollards
  • Ensure this area is clean, neat and free of any clutter

4. Back and Sides of the Store – How do I keep back and sides of my store clean and organized?

  • Keep these areas free of anything if at all possible
  • Stage pallets/cardboard in a designated area for pickup
  • Remove any merchandise/displays stored outside

5. It’s an Ongoing Process

As with anything in your store, keeping it clean is an ongoing process.  The goal here is to keep making progress and focus on improving your store.  Improving and creating a consistent overall shopping experience for your customers should always be a priority!  Upcoming articles in this ‘Store Revitalization’ series focusing on a clean, organized store include:

  • Front End Checkout & Returns (including any areas with desks)
  • Racetrack (focusing on the front, middle and back aisles)
  • Store Restrooms, Associate Appearance and Break Rooms
  • Interior Aisles (endcaps, wing-stacks, clip-strips and overhead organization)
  • Showrooms and Seasonal swing areas
  • Storewide Signage
  • Receiving (including equipment maintenance and store fixtures)

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