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  • Writer's pictureRobert Myers

The 12 Most Common and Costly Retail Mistakes!

Updated: Jan 20

Whether live or digital, poor merchandising or experience kill retail sales.

1. No online store to extend retail experience

A recent survey of clients showed that 78% prefer to buy products online. That's a stunning number but those who invested in building online stores or product ordering systems, are able to tap into the sales opportunities by extending the retail experience. Additionally, a post-service email or text recap of the products used during the client visit and a link to you online store can increase post service retail sales and retention.

2. No decompression zone or interceptor display

The decompression zone is the space directly inside the entrance of your business, from the door to the desk. It's where the initial vibe of the business is established and where customers transition from the hustle and bustle of their day to your stress-free oasis. The space almost always features an interceptor display within the first eight feet. This merchandising position grabs the attention of passersby, pulls them into the business and communicates the retail focus. Compromising this area lessens retail productivity.

3. Retail shelves in windows

Two issues are created by placing retail in windows, neither of which are good. First, products with exposure to direct sunlight and heat will degrade faster and reduce shelf life. Second, and most important, street-facing windows literally provide line-of-sight to the business activities inside. An open and visible business increases the likelihood of grabbing the interest of that walk in client or shopper.

4. Product is out of reach

Nothing will put the kibosh to a shopping experience before it begins better than placing product where it can't be seen or is out of reach. Even if the product is accessible, having it too high or too low dramatically reduces productivity. Remember, the client will not reach up, bend down, go behind reception or ask the front end staff to see a product.

5. No on-shelf animation or pricing

Story telling is one of the magical mysteries of retail. What you communicate about the product and the imagery around it is an important piece of driving high retail numbers. A simple stalker (shelf-talker) can provide a relative image, user benefits and the price all in one piece of marketing collateral that will dramatically boost buyer acceptance. Utilizing product glorifiers for all or some of the product testers also drives self selection

6. Insufficient inventory

Wonder why nobody buys the last jug of milk at the store? There's truth in the old adage "You can't sell from an empty shelf." A couple products placed on the shelf appears to be an afterthought. That said, it's also not wise to tie up unjustified levels of working capital in inventory. Where's the balance? Base stock levels on product turns and movement velocity. The goal is to look like your in the retail business and be well-stocked.

7. No product testers

Consumer science shows that hair and skincare shoppers base their buying decisions primarily on sight, touch and smell. The fact is retailers providing product testers in-line on-shelf, sell over 30% more retail. Marking one retail size of any product as a tester and displaying it adjacent to the stock will ensure anyone wanting a sensory experience can have it. Lastly, from a hygienic standpoint, it's not a great idea to have clients opening salable stock and a tester keeps everything bacteria free.

8. No category or directional signage

While staff in a business is familiar with the products they sell, the client is not. Selecting the right product can be confusing specially if there are multiple brands displayed in the retail space. If merchandising by brand, directional signage with the company logo can get shoppers in the right universe. On the other hand, category signage (shampoo, conditioner, stylers, skin care, etc) is an effective way to allow the customer to find the solution they're looking for faster.

9. No point-of-sale offerings

Impulse items are general smaller, lower priced and displayed at the service desk. During checkout, adding a convenience or pocket sized product can help the bottom line by adding revenue. Even gift cards or package offers are great offerings when combined with some merchandising signage and messaging.

10. Poor lighting

Since the majority of a client's make buying decisions based on their visual experience, lighting is an extremely important to retailing success. Too much or too little light are equally distracting. Key retail positions like interceptors should always be illuminated and potentially spotlighted. Eliminating shadows and dark areas for in-line product allows the eye to focus easier. Under-shelf light is attractive and accents packaging nicely.

11. Not generating interest from exterior

If your business is has display windows, how you look from the exterior of the business sends a message and can pull clients. Window displays are perfect way to communicate what's happening on the inside. The display messaging should be scaled to the dimensions of the windows and can include new services or product offerings. If you don't have display windows, consider call-to-action or sandwich boards strategically placed just outside the entrance. Digital displays and content are attention getting.

12. Trying to sell

A staggering 87% of service clients leave without knowing what products were used on them that day. The good news is that 82% want to be able to recreate the finish at home but can't without similar tools and products that were used. Best practices don't include trying to sell anything. Doing a focused client consultation to uncover pain points and simply talking about the products being used on the client, when they're being used, is the most impactful way to provide great service and increase in-store retail sales.

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