Boutique owners frequently ask me questions about the arrangement of their store fixtures and the layout of merchandise. There are several problems I think need to be addressed:
1. Unless the store is a “Tall Shop” or a Petites store, you should figure the height of the average customer is 5′ 5″. Therefore wall racks and floor t-stands should absolutely not display or hang clothing items higher than that eye level. Anything on a tee stand in the middle of the sales floor where one of the sides is higher than that eye level is an invitation to shoplift. Sales associates can not see over or around it. You are encouraging customers to hide from you, which usually results in offering the temptation to help themselves!
2. Hangers should be faced in a manner as if all your customers are “Right Handed.” Mixing the direction of hangers or displays is confusing to the customer and usually, unattractive. The hangers in a store should be the same. If using wood, they should all be the same color and all is wood! If plastic, again make sure all are the same color. Older plastic tends to yellow so be certain all hangers that are supposed to be clear – are actually clear. Do not at any time use wire hangers in the store. It cheapens your merchandise and is also an insurance liability – customers could be hurt. When a vendor ships to you on a hanger, this is a giveaway hanger. Do that – either give it away or throw it away. It does not belong on the rack on the sales floor, just the stockroom.
3. Rounders are generally considered passé in stores today. If you still have rounders, I must tell you they give the impression of DISCOUNT or SALE, and should only be used for that purpose. Racks are too inexpensive not to use the most attractive and best suited for your image.
4. Racks should be angled on the sales floor and place far enough apart to enable customers to easily pass each other. There is an old saying, “If the butts brush – racks are close!” Three feet apart gives enough space for customers, strollers and even wheel chairs to move about comfortably.
For more valuable information on apparel retailing, please attend T.J.’s workshop, Saturday morning – June 12 at 9 a.m. in the 8th Floor Buyer’s Lounge of AmericasMart. The topic will be “The Rights of Retail,” and each attendee will receive a free copy of T.J.’s “What Mother Never Told Ya” book – a $25 retail value. There will be refreshments and door prizes!
More information on T.J. Reid can be found here.