6 Small Business Retail Store Mistakes to Avoid

If you own and operate a retail store  — besides keeping products that your customers want on your shelves at prices they’re willing to pay  — you have a lot to contend with. Add things like keeping your store de-cluttered, easy for customers to get around, and visually pleasing and attractive for shoppers, to your already long list. You should keep in mind the common mistakes many retail store owners make, and work to avoid them at all costs.

1) Inside store space clutter – One important thing to consider when setting up your retail store and managing it is to keep out the clutter. This includes cleanliness, organization, and overall clutter of boxes of supplies, merchandise, and other items you have scattered throughout the store. When you have a small retail store, you are dealing with limited space. Keep cleanliness in mind by doing daily housekeeping, and walking through the store with a customer’s eye, trying to find anything that is out of place or is making it appear too cluttered and distracting. Don’t forget about the dressing rooms; it’s important to keep this space uncluttered as well, returning often to remove unwanted items that were left there.

2) Ineffective labeling and signage –
Proper use of labeling and signage is another important aspect of having a successful retail store. Using these items ineffectively is unfortunately a common small business retail store mistake, which can limit a retail store owner’s success. Signs should be clear, easy to understand, and placed in proper places

(i.e. not in the way of merchandise or blocking walkways.) Labeling, such as price tags and signs indicating clearance sales or sizes, should be clear and easy to read. Customers don’t want to spend too much time trying to find the right size; be sure each selection of clothing is properly marked above the rack of clothing with the size range.

3) Poor lighting – While dimming the lights in your retail store may cut back on your electricity bill, it can actually end up hurting your business in the long run. When you have an especially dark corner or area of the store that makes it hard for customers to see the merchandise properly, they will be hesitant to view those items. Try to keep your lighting consistent throughout the store, using as much track lighting as is needed for viewing all of your clothing and merchandise. Poor lighting also is a hazard, which could potential cause a customer to trip or fall.

4) Too much merchandise displayed – While you may have a lot of merchandise to display, you should be careful of how much you put out at one time. Customers don’t want to be bombarded with too much to look through; choose a moderate amount of clothing, shoes, accessories, or other items that you sell and only bring out more when your displays are getting bare. While it is tempting to put out a ton of merchandise, putting it all out at one time can be a small business retail store mistake.

5) Walkway obstacles – Be sure to pay close attention to the functionality of your retail store and keep the walkways open and free of obstacles. Not only is this important for safety and liability reasons, but also to help the shopping experience go more smoothly. If your customers are unable to comfortably get to certain sections of your store because things are in the way, they aren’t as likely to come back since it causes too much trouble.

6) Check-out counter clutter – As is true for the rest of your retail store, the checkout counter area should also be free of clutter. It’s true that many last-minute decisions happen with merchandise that is on the counter, but placing too many items near the counter cause it to become cluttered, confusing, and frustrating for shoppers.

You have spent a good deal of time and money on opening your retail store, and the last thing you want to do is repeat common mistakes that cause your business to fail. Think of the retail store as if you were a customer, and avoid the issues that cause you to pass by some stores, whether it is a cluttered store, overcrowded product line, or incorrect merchandise labeling.