Managing the lines during the busiest retail season of the year

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All retailers want to see customer traffic and sales go up during the holiday season. More people in your store means more opportunities to sell merchandise and capitalize on the commercial part of the holidays. However, for businesses that are successful in attracting shoppers, there may be some problems that come with a high volume of people moving through the sales floor. The last thing a business owner wants is for customers to have a bad experience due to overcrowding or a disorganized flow throughout the store, especially during the checkout process. There are plenty of steps that merchants can take to make a crowded store more comfortable and orderly. Here are a few different tactics to consider as ways to avoid the holiday shopping customer crunch:

  • Clear access to merchandise: Without a clear path to pick up items and take them to the register, customers can easily become discouraged and leave a store. Its important for merchants to understand their current floor plan and make sure that retail display fixtures, visual merchandising efforts and other objects don't get in the way, even when the store starts to fill up. There are plenty of options to consider and many of them are simple, such as making sure all tables and movable fixtures are at least a few feet away from fixtures attached to the walls. Creating clear paths through the placement of fixtures is another approach.
  • An orderly checkout area: Although many stores don't need them all of the time, traffic control elements go a long way toward helping manage the big holiday shopping crowds. These barriers are unobtrusive and help customers instantly understand where they need to line up to complete their transactions. This may seem like a small consideration, but it's certainly better than an unruly mass of customers waiting for the checkout and potentially leaving in frustration.
  • Floor mats and trash receptacles: It's more likely during the winter holiday season that customers will be more prone to come into your store with wet, snowy or muddy shoes and that they'll be carrying something they need to throw out. Having floor mats and trash receptacles in place helps make a small but positive impression on shoppers. On the practical side, you and your employees will have fewer messes to clean up – and fewer instances where customers could slip and fall.
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