Besides the fighting in Iraq and the President's environmental policies, two things have really bothered me lately.
The first is not being able to find what I'm looking for in a store because of sloppy maintenance.
Pet Peeve No. 1: I was about to leave on a trip to Italy and needed a security waist belt. I went to my local outdoor store, found the travel accessories rack and began my search. The only items I saw were leg stashes and neck pouches. I circled the rack three times hoping to find the waist belts but to no avail. At this point, I decided that the store didn't carry what I was looking for and probably wasn't the best place to shop for travel accessories in general. I started heading for the front door unwilling to look for the two other items I needed.
By chance, I asked a salesperson if the store carried travel security belts or had some in the back. I usually don't like to ask for help. (I guess it's my masculine side coming out!) He took me back to the rack, fumbled around with the articles on the pegs and miraculously came up with a security belt. It was hanging behind neck pouches placed on the same peg. I could have pawed through each peg looking for the security belts, but I have a busy schedule and time is at a premium.
The Moral: Keep the items you merchandise on pegs in order. If an item is sold out, remove the peg. If you have too many of one item to fit on the rack, put some in the back. Your store staff has time during the day to make sure racks and pegs are organized. When they leave at night or before the store opens for the day, assign areas of the store to be straightened with a special emphasis on the camping and travel accessories fixtures and walls. It's a simple thing to do and it will keep your customers coming back.
The second thing that bothers me is not having enough places to hang garments in dressing rooms.
Pet Peeve No. 2: For the above-mentioned trip, I wanted a new pair of slacks. I stopped by my neighborhood clothing store, gathered up four or five pair of pants to try on and entered the dressing room. Luckily, there was a bench for my backpack, but only one hook. I had to drape the clothing I took off on the bench. Once I started trying pants on, there was no place to hang the rejects so they, too, landed on the bench. Two more hooks would have made my experience more pleasant and the clean up easier for the salesperson. For the record, I do re-hang garments -- but not everyone does.
The Moral: Place two or more hooks in your dressing rooms so customers have a place to hang their coats, packs and the clothing they're considering. It doesn't cost much to keep your customers happy.
Sharon Leicham is the creator of The MerchandisingHUB, the author of "Merchandising Your Way to Success" and "How to Sell to Women" and is a regular columnist for SNEWS® writing on merchandising and marketing topics. You can access all of her columns by going to www.snewsnet.com/merchandising, where you will find tons of information targeted at the needs of the independent specialty retailer. You can email us with questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more retail training support and know-how, be sure to check out the SNEWS® Business 101 tools and stories, including our 10-part Retail Merchandising Training series produced by SNEWS®, including a useful online calculator for performing the most common retail merchandising calculations -- free to All Access Subscribers.