August '20

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88 • RV PRO • August 2020 rv-pro.com Boxes Packages to be sent, received and stocked can also be a clutter issue. Where do you put your USPS and UPS boxes? Usually, I see them around the checkout counter, often stacked up waiting to be picked up. Or, they've just been delivered. Worse, they've been around for a while and haven't been unpacked yet. Every retailer has this problem. Ideally, you can designate an area in your store that isn't visible to customers but is still accessible to you and your staff for these boxes. That area may be behind the checkout desk or in your stockroom, readily accessible. That can mean cleaning the entry of your stockroom to install a shelf for the boxes. For packages that need to be unpacked and stocked, that becomes a first-thing-in- the-morning job for everyone. Or, if it's slow, have your staff get off their phones and computers and go to work unpacking boxes. I've walked into more than a few RV stores and looked at the salespeople looking at their phones. Restocking comes first unless there's some real emergency. Signs Too much signage gets in the way of messages you are trying to get across. Years ago, I worked for a large chain of electronic and appliance stores in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas. I designed all their signs for promotions, as well as more permanent directional signs. I walked into one of their stores on Long Island, N.Y., and saw 15 promo- tional hanging signs in the front decom- pression zone. I started to laugh. It was a crazy cacophony of signs, colors and mes- sages – none of which were designed to be shown simultaneously. Signs have a lifespan and taking them down in a timely manner is as important as putting them up. If they can be reused the following year, have flat cardboard boxes available in your stockroom to slide them into carefully. This way, they can be preserved for years without getting bent corners or fading. Mark the outside of the boxes so you know what's in them. When a sign does wrinkle, crinkle or fade, it's time for it to be tossed. No matter how much it cost, a beat-up sign will hurt your image and brand. Fixtures & Stockroom O t h e r f o r m s o f c l u t t e r i n c l u d e underutilized or unused fixtures on the selling floor or in your stockroom. Regard- less of how much you spent on them, if they aren't in use and you don't have a clear plan for them, sell them. Perhaps put the money away in a separate account for new fixtures when you need them. Keeping them around makes your store look old, disorganized and possibly a little sad. Don't forget to clear the clutter out of your stockroom, especially if it's small! If you haven't used something in a year or two, toss or sell it. Free up space for things you do need. If you have old Christmas decorations but haven't used them in years, it's prob- ably time to sell, donate or trash them. The dust alone could kill you. Invest in new décor to give your store a fresh look for the holidays. If you're looking for good deals, buy decorations right after Christmas for the following year. Showroom Floor Décor elements can add flair, style and beauty to your showroom. If they are plants – living or fake, please dust them regularly! People often forget to do this, and then the fake ones look awful and the live ones start dying as the leaves need to be clean to absorb air. While personal photos on the sales desk can add to the relationship between your staff and customers, too many little keep- sakes can become dust collectors. Perhaps keep them to a maximum of two per desk plus two or three photos. The customer has to be able to see the salesperson and have room to sign important papers. Windows often become a collection area for random pieces of furniture, boxes or signs that are otherwise homeless. Ideally, place pieces of furniture in the window area that make sense together. If you have chairs, add a table. If you have a lone table, add a chair. It should all have a practical use. Cardboard fixtures or signs almost always have ugly backs. The backs should not be visible either from outside or inside. Consider putting a plant behind an important standing cardboard display/ sign/ fixture to hide the back. If the fixture isn't important, it doesn't need to be on the selling floor. Action Item Pick up a notebook and pen and walk out your front door. Turn around, walk back in just a foot or two and scan your store from left to right. Write down any- thing that could be considered clutter. It may be minimal or possibly overwhelming. Tackle one thing a day. After a week, your store will start to look and feel cleaner, lighter, more appealing and attractive. It will most definitely help your sales and it may even bring you joy! Clutter often takes the form of paperwork. It's vital to have a system to stay organized and not let paperwork overtake your workspace.

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