The POS Software Blog

The POS Software Blog

News from Tower Systems about locally made POS software for specialty local retailers.

Small business retail advice: increase sales by recalibrating your sales counter


Across a range of specialty retail channels, Tower Systems is grateful to serve thousands of retailers. Years of doing this, collaborating with them, has helped us developed a deep well of experience and knowledge, which we happily share.

The retail sales counter is premium space in a retail business. Too often, however, the counter is cluttered with products placed there in pursuit of impulse purchases or because there is nowhere else in the store for them.

In some retail settings, the counter itself is redundant. Think about that, because if a counter in your business is redundant, having one makes no sense.

but, back to the topic at hand – making the counter more successful for you.

A cluttered counter mentality often starts with one item which works so retailers add more and more until the counter is a mess of colour and small displays.

Representatives of suppliers pressure retailers to take offers, structuring deals to make counter placement compelling.

The result is a mess of color which rarely changes and is poorly managed in terms of return on space.

A good retail counter is a profitable retail counter in terms of the value of impulse purchases achieved.

At a good retail counter, less is more. By creating better displays without products competing for attention, the featured products have a better opportunity of performing.

Here are some tips to un-cluttering a retail sales counter which have worked in many different businesses.

  1. After the business is closed on a day, take all products off and clean the counter – completely off so that the counter is bare. Yes, this is hard work.  But you get to rebuild the counter you want.
  2. Rebuild the counter story one product at a time. Consider the product from the customer’s perspective – is it something they are likely to purchase on impulse? Is the product understood? Is the price point attractive? Can they easily access the product?
  3. Create zones for promotional purposes. Having zones and clear space around them sets rules which are easier for all team members to follow. Depending on the store, you may have items which children will like more at their level and products aimed at adults at a higher level.
  4. In choosing counter products, consider what will be on the minds of customers as they transact their sale. Are there products which add-on nicely to popular products you sell? Are their guilty-pleasure products which they can enjoy while shopping – like premium candy? Do you have small gift items which work in a variety of situations? Do you have gift items which people would be happy to pick up as a gift for a friend?
  5. Once the counter is rebuilt, step back and look at this from the perspective of a customer. Are the offers compelling, understood and valuable? Look at the counter from multiple points in the shop from the perspective of the counter being a marketing opportunity and not just a work desk. Are there items which could be removed?  Sometimes, less is more.
  6. Change key counter offers at least weekly – more often if your customers visit multiple times in a week. This helps fight against customer and employee store blindness.

By having fewer products at the counter and being more strategic in product placement and display, the products have a better opportunity of being noticed and purchased.

Where many retailers rely on an over the counter sales pitch to achieve the impulse purchase, smart retailers configure their counters to do the up-selling for them. This gives customers ownership of the purchase.

By tracking the success of counter offers you are able to build a good database of what works and what does not work. This can guide future counter placement decisions.

The sales counter is too valuable in any retail business to allow it to grow organically. Take time to manage it and expect good results.

By Mark
The POS Software Blog




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