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Through the Customer’s Eyes

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Visual merchandising, arranging products on the shelf in a way that is appealing to your customers, is a sure fire way to increase sales.

Stores that make a concerted effort to analyze their store frequently as well as make frequent changes and refreshes to their store sets will oftentimes see sales increase over 30 percent.

Here are a few suggestions that you can start doing immediately.

Schedule a task on your calendar that is a reoccurring monthly reminder that prompts you to evaluate your store as a customer. When evaluating your store, be sure to set some time aside to only do this task and be sure to have a pad of paper with you so you can jot down some notes.

First, stand outside the store and assess what your store communicates.

Do you have a sign that clearly communicates that you are a pet store?  If you offer services like grooming, is this communicated on the outside of your store as well?  Do you have an open sign that communicates that your store is open for business?  Are your windows and doors clean?

Window space is prime advertising real estate in your store and this should be your next focus of attention.  Your store window is where you should be communicating any current sales and promotions.  If any other areas on the outside of your store need attention, make some notes and be sure to follow-up on them immediately since this area is your store’s first impression.

Next, you will want to walk into your store and pay attention to your senses. What does the store smell like, where do your eyes go first and what do you hear?  If there is a smell of wet dogs due to your grooming in the back, you may want to install an air freshener at the entrance. If you hear silence, maybe you will want to pipe in some music to enhance the shopping atmosphere, and if you are lacking lighting, you will want to address those areas individually.

You will also want to make sure that you have a prominent endcap, or display wherever your eyes land first. This is prime real estate in your store and you will want to make sure you have appealing, margin-plentiful product that is fully stocked located here.

Enhancing shopper’s senses in a positive way can create a more enjoyable shopping experience which will in turn make them want to come back.  There are also other ways to engage the senses throughout your store, maybe create a display of dog shampoos along with some pet towels, a few doggy sweaters and a few collars to help inspire a makeover for their dog over the weekend.

When it comes to merchandising your regular sections, you will want to make sure that you keep like items together and size them accordingly on the shelves, smaller to larger, this is appealing to the eye.  Also make sure that your shelves are stocked. This communicates that your business is dependable.

And, keep in mind that most customers will enter your store and go to the right first. Be sure you are creating a pattern that leads them through your store. Think of when you go grocery shopping.  These stores are typically set to lead you up and down the aisles. Using that same grocery strategy, you will want to place your top moving items, bread, milk and butter aka dog food and treats, in the back of the store so that the customer must walk to the back past all of the other products.

Keeping this important task as a recurring appointment on your calendar will ensure that you are making your store an enjoyable place for your customers to shop.  It will also help you increase your sales.

- Jessica Farina-Morris

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