Managing a small high street retail space can be challenging, even if taking on the space was a deliberate decision. Since retailers want to offer a large amount of stock, service, and their store’s aesthetic, while also maximising the occupancy potential for customers to comfortable browse, small spaces must be approached with some creativity.
While some retailers may find themselves operating day-to-day without issue in a small space, it is also worth considering the following three tips because they can offer improvements to service and organisation that could potentially improve customer experience and even sales.
Adapt And Respond
Static store furniture and shop shelving are limiting. Retailers will find themselves unable to make adjustments to their store design, being unable to adapt to periods of greater customer demand, such as during the festive season. As such, and especially in small retail spaces, modular and adjustable shelving and furniture should be utilised.
By working with responsive shop furniture, from slatwall panels to sign fittings, smaller retail shop spaces can create a tactile experience. Products and shelving can be moved to meet the differing needs of various days and ranges. Such assets can also allow for the more efficient use of space, enabling retailers to better conceal their product storage, freeing up a greater amount of space for customers and service needs.
Remove The Unnecessary
Technology and changing demand have changed the expectations of customers and the designs of shop spaces. What were once essential parts of the retail experience are now being left behind. A prime example is the checkout counter. As technological improvements negate the need for bulky equipment and transactions can be performed with only a mobile device, shops are moving away from the dedicated checkout area.
By doing so, they allow their store to be free of restrictive designs. Small stores can abandon cumbersome designs, such as the checkout area or changing rooms, and instead utilise tactile checkout services and AR to support customers instead.
Work With The Digital
There has previously been a concern that ecommerce is a competitor of the high street. This archaic mindset sought to place greater pressure upon brick and mortar operations when, in fact, digital sales were a benefit to traditional retailers.
By working with online sales and platforms, small retailers can refine the use of their shop space and prioritise their services. Instead of hosting all products under a brand’s offering, retailers can prioritise hero items and offer alternatives as part of an online service, which can be delivered to a customer’s home or collected at a later date.
Digital interfaces, such as catalogues, also allow customers to engage with a brand more extensively without the need to occupy staff. This enables them to sign up for newsletters and offers, or even order extra products online while in-store.
Rethink Your Space
So, while your store might already have the features you believe it needs to operate, even the smallest of retail sites have the potential for improvement. As customer preferences change and technology improve, stores should be adapting accordingly, especially those that operate with a more limited amount of space.