When talk turns to retail facings, the conversation naturally ends up focusing on the position of your products on the shelf. And rightly so. ‘Facing’ is the physical act of moving products to the edge of shelves to create the look of a fully stocked store. However, it’s worth noting that this is a limiting description of an action that has a broad scope.
By that, we mean that you shouldn’t confine it to the products on your shelves. Instead, you should consider extending the practice to the rest of your store. Many stores do precisely that; particularly department stores describe it as recovery as these stores recover from the rush of customers.
Of course, it shouldn’t only apply to department stores. You should consider it regardless of the products you sell or your retail format. The only difference is in how you would approach it for your store.
So, let’s say you want to extend it to other areas in your store. What do you need to consider? And, how do you approach it so that it builds your reputation and benefits your bottom line?
Organise your window displays when needed
Now, you may be wondering how your window displays relate to store recovery or facings. It’s simple: if you have a window display that is easily accessible to shoppers - or even an exhibition at or close to the entrance - there is every chance they’ll take a product from there instead of looking for it in-store.
For example, if you’re a clothing store, you’re likely to showcase mannequins in various outfits, including a t-shirt, jeans and shoes. To round out the display, you could also include a small amount of merchandise found on the mannequin at the foot of the display.
If a shopper walks past your store, sees the display and wants to buy one of the products, instead of struggling to find the exact jeans or t-shirt, they are likely to take it directly from the display. What ends up happening is the display can soon become messy and disorganised. That’s especially true if you don’t monitor it, which means it can quickly become an eyesore for other shoppers.
So what can you do?
For one, you should designate the responsibility to someone who understands what you’re trying to achieve with your displays. Also, you shouldn’t think that you only need to do this once a day or after the store closes. Instead, you should reorganise your displays as and when required. That could mean updating it multiple times a day.
Maintain your in-store displays and promotional stands
Once customers walk through the decompression zone and into your store, one of the first things they are likely to notice is your in-store displays. The second is your shelving with your products, which we will touch on in another point.
That said, the worst scenario you can face is if shoppers enter and find messy displays with little to no product. Subconsciously, you’re telling your customers that you’re not attentive to what’s going on in your store. More importantly, you’re making your customers question whether they should shop your store or find another that is better organised.
It’s also worth pointing out this: if the window display promises an enjoyable shopping experience, your in-store displays and general layout need to follow through, reassuring them that they made the right decision by shopping your store.
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to achieve that. Similar to your approach to your window displays, it’s crucial to designate the responsibility of maintaining these displays to a specific person or people.
You could even select the same person to monitor and maintain all displays in your store if that’s easier for you. Mind you; it’s always a good idea to at least train all your staff in merchandising and display techniques so that if the designated person isn’t available, anyone else can assist.
The bonus is that by training your staff up, you have a better-educated (and happier) workforce that can all pull together in one direction, thereby leading to more sales and profit. They’re happier because you’ve invested in their career by offering them specialised retail training.
That aside, when it comes to maintaining these displays, you should also ensure they are fully-stocked at all times and aren’t too crowded. If you find there is too much product on display, don’t be afraid to take some away. A display with one product and one message is far more effective than an exhibit with too many items and no idea of what it wants to sell.
Walk your sales floor regularly
The next area of your store that needs your attention is your sales floor. At a glance, it can be intimidating. That’s if you run a large store. However, instead of attempting to do everything at once, which can overwhelm you, it’s important to focus in on the details.
That includes walking your sales floor and looking at what you can fix on the floor. And, as you do, ask yourself the following questions:
Are your shelves full-stocked and presentable? If you find during your walk through your store that there are gaps or there is less stock than the last time you walked past, take action. That could mean facing your remaining products; pulling all the items to the front of the shelf to make it appear that your shelf is fully stocked.
Are the products sitting in an aisle or on a shelf related to surrounding items? There is every possibility of a shopper placing a product they no longer wanted onto a shelf that stocks an entirely separate category. It’s just as probable to happen near your cash wrap area.
Customers may decide at the last minute to leave an item out of their basket and place it wherever is convenient for them. In that case, to save yourself time, it’s worth gathering everything as you go before reshelving them as you visit each section of the store.
For example, you could collect all misplaced items in a basket. Alternatively, have a trolley or shopping cart at the end of each aisle for misplaced items. In the case of the latter, it could come across as messy and jumbled, so you do need to see what works for your store and retail brand.
Cleanliness also plays a significant role in getting your store customer-ready, so as you walk through your store, you’d need to inspect the actual shelving. Thus, ask yourself, are your shelves clean? Also, are your shelves safe? One of the last things you’d want is to have a rack that can topple over easily.
As for when you should conduct these inspections, it's crucial for you to do them throughout the day. Of course, when it comes to cleaning your shelves and store, you’d need to judge for yourself. Can you afford to have someone mopping or vacuuming the floor during peak shopping hour? Most probably not.
Remember what you want to achieve. In the case of paying attention to your facings, you’re attempting to restore the overall appearance of your store that makes it enjoyable to shop.
Clean up your checkout counters and surrounding area
By now, you may have realised that we have structured this piece in the way that your customers would usually shop your store.
First, they’d see the window display, which would entice them into your store. They’d enter upon which they would encounter your in-store displays and shelves and fill their baskets. From there, it’s all about your checkout counter or point of purchase area.
As the last area before they leave your store, it’s critical that you provide them with an experience that they will remember for all the right reasons. For context, the point of purchase area consists of any retail displays or aisles such as till point stands, free-standing units, G Cut-case displays, and snake aisles.
For the displays positioned in the area, similar to others in your store, it’s important to keep them tidy. That includes ensuring everything is in its place. If a customer has left a product in the snake aisle, for example, you’d need to place it back in the right spot.
It might seem pedantic, but it’s the details that can make a difference. Again, it comes down to the impression that you’re subconsciously giving to your customers. If you are not interested in the simple task of place a product back on the proper shelf, where else are you slacking?
Let’s say you visit a store as a customer, and you get to the checkout counter. Because someone else has left a product in the aisle, you have to step over it. Or worse, it’s blocking your shopping cart. While you might move it out of the way, why should you be doing that when it shouldn’t even be there in the first place?
It’s the same if you’re about to pay and when you arrive at checkout, you find the floor dirty and any surface you touch is grimy. Since you’re in the line already, you might buy the products in your basket. But are you going to return?
Don’t forget about your stockroom
While the above points all reference those areas in your store that your customers can see, there is one area that they can’t see. That is your stockroom, and it plays a major role in helping you to get customer-ready.
For example, you can reduce your risk of running out of stock. By investing in an inventory management system that tracks your sales and the minimum stock required for your stores, you can better organise your space.
You can also reduce your overheads and avoid overstocking on products that don’t sell. Again, you would look at your sales data and overlay that with current market trends before adjusting where necessary.
As a result, you can boost customer loyalty. By organising your stockroom effectively, if a customer can’t find a product on the sales floor, one of your staff members should have no problem finding it.
Lastly, by looking after the organisation of all products in your stockroom, you’ll have a better understanding of when your stock levels are low. Meanwhile, disorganisation can prevent your staff from replenishing your shelves efficiently as they have no control.
Did you know? Retailers and suppliers like yourself use data-driven space planning software to help them improve their return on shelf space. Learn more about our different software packages, each tailored to your specific need and budget here.