When it comes to business, retailers have one overall goal: to sell merchandise. That's why they focus on sales floor space, adequate parking for customers, and an overall image that draws in customers. Of secondary interest to many retail operations are office space and storage requirements, since most inventory is on the sales floor.
A retail operation's space is usually subdivided among display, office, and storage. As a rule of thumb, office and storage spaces take up 10 to 25 percent of the total floor area. While the storage and office spaces are important parts of any retail operation--to handle shipping and receiving and related chores, to take care of paperwork, and to store extra inventory--you want to get the most out of all space that's not used for display and sales. Here's where good organizational skills come in handy, along with shelves and cabinets and anything else that helps you maximize your space. If you're not an organizer by nature, hire someone who is. Look in the Yellow Pages under "Organizing Services--Household and Business."
Retail space comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and may be located in free-standing buildings, enclosed malls, strip shopping centers, downtown shopping districts, or mixed-use facilities. You will also find retail space in airports and other transportation facilities, hotel lobbies, sports stadiums, and temporary or special-event venues.
Got a retail location? Ask yourself these questions to make sure your store has the "eye appeal" it needs to keep customers coming back:
- Are your shelves clean and neat? Is merchandise displayed so people can see it easily?
- Is the area around your cash registers or terminals clean and orderly?
- Can you find forms, packaging and related materials quickly and easily?
- Are light fixtures clean, bright and working properly?
- Is there plenty of room between counters and shelves so that aisles are wide and free of barriers?
- Are glass surfaces clean and floors vacuumed or swept and scrubbed regularly?
Keeping an eye on these factors will help create a welcome environment for your customers.