Beautify your store

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Many store owners don't realize how simple it is to make something look very professional through the techniques of visual merchandising. For those who are just beginning operations at their new business – or for people looking to improve their overall appearance to customers – here are some tips:

Create an effective dressing room
Dressing rooms are always professional, and they can be installed even in places that don't have rooms that can be readily converted for the purpose. Instead, hire someone to build a simple wooden box with a curtain that can be drawn open or shut. Following that, make sure to put in a three-way mirror so people can see themselves.

Even if your store doesn't sell clothes, you should be certain to buy mirrors – either a counter mirror or a shoe mirror. Both of these help people see what something looks like, and this makes the store feel more like a place where someone would buy something beautiful – rather than merely cheap and functional. By letting people have the impression that products are meant to be examined as objects of beauty, people will naturally begin to approach the store as a place that sells quality merchandise. Once Target began to focus on clothes that are not only inexpensive but actually look somewhat stylish, people began to talk about that company in a different way.

Use signs and chalk art
Signs are a great way to demonstrate community spirit because they can be changed easily. Chalkboards are especially good at this because someone who is good at drawing can make beautiful and topical signs that people can relate to. For example, during a cold snap, drawing a snowman looking at clothes and writing "Looking for some cold weather gear?" can help to bring people into the store.

Another good object is the vintage-look open/closed sign. This has an old-time flavor that will remind people of friendlier days when shopping was more personable. Because of the proliferation of Internet shopping, there are many people who have begun to expect more service from their local brick-and-mortar stores, since this is one area where having sales personnel comes in handy. This feeling of familiarity and recognition between members of the store and local shoppers can be drawn out through simply having an old-fashioned sign.

For those who aren't as good at drawing, a good alternative is a simple A-frame sign. The letters are slid into place and pre-manufactured. No drawing is necessary.

Bring in the community with a bulletin board
A good way to make people feel welcome in a store is to put up fliers that come in the mail. Often, local businesses help each other out, and community theaters will ask if a store would put up the new poster for an upcoming show. Having a place to put all of these papers would be very helpful, since having to place them in a window can take away from the window-display space. Instead, use a bulletin board attached near the entrance where everyone can see it.

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