Alright so what the heck is this and why do I care? Well at BARD Games we have over 25 years of retail experience. One great opportunity that we see with local game stores is the potential to leverage NCO.
Many game stores are owned and operated by a small, but determined, team who loves games, but may not be as excited about the disciplines of great Retail. Or they may simply have a limited budget compared to the big box stores. One of those disciplines we believe every store can afford is a clean, inviting store.
According to a survey conducted by ISSA – The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, 95 percent of shoppers reported that unclean restrooms and unpleasant odors would influence shopping decisions along with, dirty floors, spills or stains, dirty shopping carts and other factors. Coupled with research showing as high as 70% of shoppers walk into a store ready to make a purchase, your first impression can make or break your weekly sales goals. A neat, clean and orderly store is a proven requirement to create a inviting Local Game Store, and convert lookers into buyers. So what is NCO? It is a boost in your foot traffic and sales. Let’s break it down.
- Hide Non Sell-able Items from Customer View.
- Get shipping boxes unpacked and contents displayed appropriately.
- Have workers remove food or personal items from customer view, give them a place to keep their belongs and food. Help them focus their attention on the customer.
- Properly Display Your Product
- Customers can’t buy what they can’t see. Face your products so that the customer can easily see what the product is and what they are buying. Ensure your sight lines direct the eye to the products and specials you want to promote, here is a great exercise from Kizer and Bender for checking the site lines in your store.
- Make the products easy to pick up if needed (the exception to this is that high price CCG card), but give it the attention it deserves in a locked case.
- Demo Copies are a great way to get customers touching a great game, and inviting you to complete a sale by showing customers how to play. Get demo copies from your distributor and set up demo games.
- Create a Customer Journey
- How and where you display your product will help you move customers around and through your store. Even when they came in for one item you can get them to wander if they understand where different items are in the store. Use signage to make it easy for new gamers to discover the various types of games your store has to offer.
- Floor Walls and Gaming Areas
- Part of any workers day should be cleaning up the store. Sweeping, dusting, trash and recycling disposal helps the store look fresh and gets stuff you don’t need in the store out. Create a cleaning schedule and enforce it, even when you are both the CEO and head janitor.
- Areas where patrons spend most of their time in your store will get the dirtiest. Even if not intentionally, these areas will collect trash and other things that need to be swept away. You want customers to use the space so make it clean and inviting
- Walls may be focused on product but the eye can quickly see unwanted details. Take the time to make sure they are free from holes and discoloration.
- Lighting - bright, white light sells more than soft, lighting. Amplifying light with bright colors, then use your lighting to focus the eye on the products you are promoting.
- Point of Sale
- Focused on the transaction, these areas need to be tidy and free from non products that distract your customers and workers from the most important part of their sales journey.
- Impulse Items are great to have at your point of sale to drive your Average Order Value up, but make sure you don’t overcrowd the area. You want it to be inviting to your customers. Luckily dice, card sleeves and a well painted mini don't require a lot of space.
- Have bags at the ready. A shopper might pass on multiple boxes of it is a hassle to carry.
- Bathrooms - If you have one
- Every Hour. At the bare minimum a worker should check the bathroom once an hour. Patrons often do not tell shops the status of their restrooms even when there is an issue. This area influences the customers perception of the store’s cleanliness.
- Get the Gloves On. Even if just one person uses the restroom in your store, you should be cleaning the toilet, mirror, sink and floor every day, or get a service to do so. You don’t know what has gone on in there and your customers shouldn’t have to worry about it.
- Product Placement
- Think about the contents of the store. Are similar products in the same area? Within that area are products easy to see and look through? Take time to rework these areas and make products accessible. Particularly if your store is crowded, they can’t find it they can’t buy it.
- Customer Perception. Customers will notice how organized the store is and will develop an opinion about how knowledgeable your store is based on how products are presented. Products need a level of attention that demonstrates your expertise and invites customers to come back for the latest happening in gaming.
- A game that looks ignored is assumed to be a bad game. Dust your games, and discount games that have discolored or dented.
- How your workers perform their duties in front of the customer is crucial. Keep workstations clean easy for them to use. Having an organized workstation helps your employees take care of the customer.
- Training and Guidelines should be available to your employees so they clearly understand what they are supposed to do what are the expectations you have of them. This includes their behavior, job knowledge, even dress code. They are the faces of your organization.
- Placing and order. Your store is competing with online shopping! This process requires accuracy, attention and speed to make the customer experience enjoyable when the customer wants something that you don’t have in stock. The customer needs to have confidence that you will get them what they want, when you say it will arrive. Use a professional order form and review the details with the customer.
- Picking up an order. The customer had to wait for their product. Don’t make them wait anymore. Have a dedicated area that makes it easy for your workers to get customer orders. If this area is visible to the customer it is even more important that it is organized and secure. Customers will trust you more when they see that you value their privacy and have your act together.
- Focus on the customer.
- Develop a routine of consistent maintenance to prevent it from getting out of hand.
- Your workers are your store, so make sure they are part of this program.
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