Can the disabled navigate your store?

Is your store inviting?

Take a good look at your space. Really look at it. Does it look inviting to customers or should you throw cedar chips on the floor and let hamsters gleefully explore? Could a homeless person set up housekeeping in the back and avoid notice for days? The ADA requires 36 inches of free aisle space, but is that really enough room for two customers to shop in the same aisle and not bump into one another? Can someone be stocking shelves and still allow a customer to shop in the same area? Evaluate and act accordingly.

Plan your space. Take a piece of graph paper and draw your floor plan without displays. Include anything that doesn't move like doors, walls and support columns. Mark the locations of outlets and switches for future reference. Photocopy this paper.

Add displays into your floor plan. Allow enough open space to allow for a pleasant shopping experience for everyone. Be sure not to crowd doorways and the register. Never cover switches or outlets. Don't worry about what goes where at this point. You'll probably change things a few times.

Measure the space each product type currently takes up. Compile those measurements on a piece of paper. You will mark out on your display plan where everything should go and how much space it consumes. It probably won't all fit, but that's okay. Just include what you can for now.

Evaluate your product offering. Make sure everything you are selling is something you should be selling. Eliminate any superfluous or redundant products. Certainly add ideas for products you don't currently carry and should, but be careful to prioritize. Get feedback from your sales staff.

Adjust your previous plan. On one of your photocopies, adjust for your new, leaner, and meaner product offering. You may find that you need to move displays or products around. Whip out another photocopy and make the adjustments.

Make it happen! A plan is worthless without execution so pull your staff together and start putting this one in motion. The sooner your space is open and inviting, the sooner you'll see the positive effect it's going to have.

We'll cover each point in more detail in upcoming posts to help you. It is possible that you'll hit a stumbling block at some point. Sometimes outside input is needed and we are here to help you. Contact us and let's discuss your business. We can put together a coaching or consulting package that fits your needs and budget.

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