When people discuss retail businesses, they tend to focus on mass merchandisers. However, retail stores exist in many different types. Retail stores across the world sell jewelry, furniture, high-fashion apparel and discount merchandise, to name a few examples. Small stores operated by local owners account for the majority of retail locations. Small retailers often succeed by offering their customers convenience, satisfaction and personalized service.

Key Points

  • Step 1 – Pick a location for your retail business. Your business type will affect your choice of location. Coffee shops, gas stations and beauty salons should be located in an area where customers live or work. Customers will travel farther to shop at high-end apparel stores, craft stores and jewelry stores. Locating in a shopping mall requires you to open and close at predetermined times. You can set your own hours by locating in a separate facility.
  • Step 2 – Design the layout of your business. Choose a theme. For example, some stores that sell sporting goods have sports themes.
  • Step 3 – Decide on a color scheme. Select colors that add to the theme but don’t detract from the merchandise. Beige is the most commonly used color for stores in shopping malls.
  • Step 4 – Select floor, ceiling and wall treatments. These help to create the business image. Various treatments motivate customers in different ways. For instance, hard floors encourage shoppers to walk quickly, while soft surfaces cause customers to walk slowly.
  • Step 5 – Design different sections within your retail store with a pathway for customers connecting them. The areas seen by the most customers must be carefully designed. The first display should be the best. Design sections along the pathway in ways that invite customers to enter.
  • Step 6 – Create a waiting area. Customers often need to sit down at some point during shopping trips. Provide comfortable seating. Don’t have chairs facing walls. If possible, place the waiting area next to a store attraction to prevent customers from getting bored while they wait.
  • Step 7 – Select display fixtures. Several choices include tables, cubes, shelving and racks. Regardless of the combination of display fixtures you choose, your main objective is to make the store inventory appear full at all times. If you have a small inventory, purchase only a few display fixtures
  • Tips & Warnings

    • Avoid straight pathways to encourage customers to visit each section of the store. Create nooks and crannies that force customers to enter other sections.
    • Follow building codes when installing ceiling, floor and window treatments. Failure to do so may result in not being permitted to open the retail business.

    Retail Management Tips

    My Top Twenty Management Tips for The Retail Industry, these will help you become a better manager and they may even help you survive this hectic season

    This management tip is intended to help you focus on a key issue that is important to your success as a retail manager.

    #1: It’s “The Customer”. To paraphrase that popular, and successful, quote from Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign: The single most important aspect of your business is your customers. Make sure your entire team understands that – and acts like they understand it.

    #2: “Doctor” your customers. Everyone wants to think they are special. You can make your customers feel special if you treat them like your family doctor treats you. For the time you are with them, concentrate on them and what they are telling you. Exclude everything else for that period of time.

    #3: Delight the Customer. It is heard a lot, but seldom practiced. Today I saw a production supervisor straighten out a mess and, in the process, calm an irate customer. When I heard her tell them to put two mugs with the company’s logo into the package being sent to the customer, I knew she understood what “Delight the Customer” means.

    #4: You never have to make up for a good start. If a project or a job gets off to a bad start it can be difficult to catch up. Do your planning up front so you get a good start and you won’t regret it.

    #5: Train Your Supervisors The key to your business success is the productivity of your employees. The key to employee productivity is their perception of their immediate supervisor. Invest in training your supervisors and managers. It will pay off.

    #6: Under-promise and over-deliver. This goes beyond the old adage ‘don’t promise what you can’t deliver’. Instead, deliver more than what you promised. It’s a good way to build customer rapport – both outside and inside the company.

    #7: Your first obligation is to the customer. Without customers you don’t have a business. Treat them with the same respect you expect when you are a customer. Make sure everyone in your organization understands the importance of customer service

    #8: You have to make a difference. The group you manage has to be more effective, more productive with you there than they would be if you were not. If they are as productive without you, there is no business sense in keeping you on the payroll.

    #9: Your biggest business challenge is your competition. They have to take away your customers to survive or grow. How are they going to do that

    #10: Follow Through on Sales Promises. Don’t let your sales people make promises the company can’t meet. If they tell a customer they can have 100 gross of widgets “tomorrow before 10”, they better be sure that many are already in the warehouse. Nothing loses customers faster than broken promises. t? How can you stop them? How can you steal their customers? Don’t wait for it to happen. Start preparing NOW.

    #11: Doing it right costs less than doing it over. Have you ever been asked “Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over”? Save the costs, including customer dissatisfaction and lower worker morale, by concentrating on doing the job right the first time.

    #12: Don’t Be A De-motivator. Your job as a leader is to get and keep your people motivated and working toward the common goal. Demeaning them, to their face or to others, erodes their motivation. So does dismissively telling them that their ideas “are stupid”. Watch your own actions to be sure you aren’t defeating your own efforts by de-motivating your people.

    #13: Keep the flame alive. When people join your organization they are all fired up and ready to do great things. Over time we all too often wear down that enthusiasm. Instead, do what you can to fan the flames of their enthusiasm and you will be amazed at their output.

    #14: You Can’t Listen With Your Mouth Open. Your associates, your employees, your suppliers, your customers all have something of value in what they have to say. Listen to the people around you. You will never learn what it is if you drown them out by talking all the time. Remember, the only thing that can come out of your mouth is something you already know. Shut up and learn.

    #15: Anyone can steer the ship in calm waters. What will set you apart in your career is how you perform during the tough times. Don’t become complacent and relax just because things are going well. Plan ahead for the downturn.

    #16: It is easier to save a dollar than to earn a dollar. Every dollar you don’t spend is a dollar you don’t have to earn to achieve the same profit level. Invest as needed to grow the business, buy what you need, but don’t spend without forethought and a good reason.

    #17: Appearance Does Matter. It may be a sad commentary on our superficial society, but appearance does matter. Whether it’s the packaging on your product, the first impression you make when calling on a new client, or your company’s web site people notice how things look. They care about how things look and make judgments about you and/or your product based on appearance.

    #18: Get your people involved. It’s a lot easier to get employees to stand behind a company decision if they have the opportunity to participate in the discussion. Management still has to make the decision. but if they have had the opportunity to make their point of view known employees are more apt to stand behind the ultimate decision, even if they don’t agree with it.

    #19: Fix the problem, not the blame. It is far more productive, and less expensive, to figure out what to do to fix a problem that has come up than it is to waste time trying to decide who’s fault it was.

    #20: Actively listen. Listen to your customers, your employees, your suppliers, and anyone else who comes in contact with your business. Honestly evaluate what they have to say, without letting your ego get in the way, and you will probably learn something that benefits your business.


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