While the United States' economy slowly continues to improve, entrepreneurs all over the country are setting up small discount stores and selling a wide variety of in-demand products at prices well below what you would find them for online or at large department stores. Most of these types of products come from wholesale liquidation companies who have direct contracts with department stores to take over all of their unwanted inventory; out-of-season items, customer returns, shelf pulls and overstocks. Liquidators purchase these items by the truckload and resell them on to smaller businesses who then resell them to the general public at deep discounts.
While amazing pricing helps bring customers through the door in itself, price alone doesn't dictate whether a consumer will make a purchase or simply browse through a store's offerings before walking out empty handed. Setting up a discount store properly and merchandising it attractively can make the difference between closing sales and accumulating looky-loos.
- Storefronts are important! Window shopping became a thing for a reason, so make sure your entrance entices people to walk in, that it has a clear entrance sign and that it's clean and welcoming.
- Use your store windows. Use window space to communicate what you sell. Put out mannequins, bright signage, digital displays, opening hours and anything else that communicates your main selling points to potential customers. Feature your most in-demand items and change your messaging up at least twice a month to avoid the perception that you have nothing new to offer.
- Organize merchandise by category whenever possible to make it easier for shoppers to find what they're looking for.
- Put similar items close to each other in the store. For instance if you're selling mattresses, put your bedding and linens section nearby to up-sell customers and get the most out of each person's visit. "Buying a mattress? Dress it up with a bed-in-bag set!"
- Place your price stickers in the same area on each product. Avoid making your customer have to flip an item over 3 times to find out its price.
- Walk the store as if you were a customer. Do you bang into merchandise or displays as you navigate the store? Is merchandise hard to reach? Is it difficult to find what you want? If so, make the necessary changes.
- Use retail displays to communicate small merchandise for sale. Instead of dumping small items into bins or boxes that customers need to rummage through, consider adding retail displays on which you can hang items to make the more attractive.
- Eye level is buy level! Keep track of your best selling items and place them at eye level on the shelves.
- Encourage impulse buys by putting smaller and lower priced items near the checkout counter for customers to peruse as they wait in line to check out.
- Use loss leaders to bring additional traffic into your store. A loss leader is a product sold at a low price (at cost or sometimes below cost) to stimulate other profitable sales. Customers will walk in for the crazy deal you're offering on a flat screen TV, and hopefully find several more items they love as they browse through your inventory.