The stockroom: the birthplace of all things fresh out of the packaging on your store's floor. Keeping inventory in the back room certainly frees up a lot of floor and shelf space in your retail store, but it can sometimes cause quite a mess of packaging, boxes and misplaced merchandise. The clutter of a stockroom not only throws you into the anxiety of disorganization, but it causes potential for an employee accident. By taking the appropriate measures to organize your storage space, you can keep a more accurate inventory, decrease the chances of injury and prevent goods from becoming damaged. More importantly, it will allow you to focus your time and energy on the customer.
Make a floor plan
The first step to organizing a stockroom is to start from the very beginning. Gail Markert of Markert Group Consulting suggests drawing up a map of your back room (or wherever you're keeping your stock) marking the entrance and exit, vents, drains, and electrical outlets to make sure you don't block them. Then, plan to stockpile items according to category. Keep items together according to season and type of product.
Create floor space
You can store your backstock the same way you display the floor merchandise, on gondolas and shelving units. Make sure the heavier items are stored on the lower shelves to decrease the chance of injury when an employee goes to retrieve them. Small, like-sized items can be stored together in dump bins to save room on shelving space and keep merchandise consolidated. Additionally, some merchandise can't just be left on a shelf, so consider using clothes racks for items that require hanging. Having extra retail display fixtures on hand is helpful anyway should you decide to rearrange the store floor.
Use visual organization
While you do want an extra stock pile of merchandise for eager customers, what you don't want is to waste their time while you search for it. Labeling the categories of your merchandise will make it easy for you and your retail team to quickly locate product. Retail Resource has a huge variety of write-on signage to help you easily customize your stockroom's organization. Be sure to label each of the shelving units, and provide your employees with either a spreadsheet or drawn-up layout of the stockroom's organization. You can post this map on the stockroom's wall for quick reference.
Save space for other tasks
During the life of your retail business, you are bound to either receive shipments of merchandise or be required to send product out in the mail. Rather than causing an obstacle for shoppers by completing these tasks on the retail floor, set up space in your stockroom specifically for this purpose. Retail Resources' multipurpose tables and carts store display fixtures could help with this plan. Having a table in the stockroom provides a place for employees to sort items when taking inventory, and it keeps products off of a potentially dirty floor. Just be sure to maintain a clear work surface as tabletops have a tendency to collect clutter.
Form a team plan
Though the stockroom might be out of sight, don't let it be out of mind. It's important to set up certain policies for stockroom use and daily maintenance. Markert suggests rotating items on the shelf so that the older merchandise sits at the front and is naturally the first thing employees will use. This practice prevents product from sitting unforgotten in your stockroom where it's not making any money for your retail store. You should also regularly clean your stock room to prevent product from getting damaged or dirty.