Increase sales with small changes

Photo by  Roman Arkhipov

The Rules for Business Feng-Shui

We’ve all been in a shop where we’re bumping into other customers, can’t view products because of a line at the register, or the process of ordering something creates chaos. We’re going to give you some tips on how to avoid these seemingly small conflicts in your shop and create a “flow” for your customers to shop.

Blocked by Lines 😫

In a small shop during a booming event like Small Business Saturday or Black Friday, a small line can block a lot of customers from seeing up to half the store. So how can you make some small changes to avoid a clogged artery in your shop and frustrated customers who leave or only buy half of what they would have otherwise?

Related: Preparing for Small Business Saturday

1. Observation 👁 👁

Take note of when a new customer enter your shop do they go to their left, right, or straight as soon as they go through the door? Statistically, customers immediately turn right when entering a building. Since they are entering a different environment people typically slow down and start taking in all the new information, so if there are a lot of products immediately to the right when they enter the likelihood of customers crowding on entry is much higher.

Continue watching to see where the path most traveled is, where they go, and where they stop. With this information, you can make some small adjustments to relieve slow areas and bring some more traffic to the areas that are passed by.

2. Flow 🛶

Now that you know how people move around your shop now we need to think about how they check-out or order. If you run a coffee shop, for example, I’ve seen some that will take your order, start making it and then you make your way down the line “Chipotle-style” this can create a huge backup of customers the way to fix this would be to get their order and make the payment and call out their name when the drink is ready. This gets the customer out of the way of other customers, and they don’t have to stand there awkwardly waiting for their drink with people ordering.

For a boutique shop designate a line area that isn’t blocking the flow of customers throughout the store, entrance, and exit, and as many “high value” products as you can. It’s good to have some products in view of the checkout line. I know I make a lot of last-minute grabs at places like World Market and TJ Maxx in the line with all the small snacks and little things while I’m waiting to check out. It’s also a good way to make a long wait seem shorter and maintain customer happiness.

3. Customers Not Sardines 🐟

No one likes being in a crowded area, especially when you’re trying to get to something where there are a bunch of people blocking the way. The typical customer will avoid perusing an item if there is a possibility that reaching for it will force the customer to accidentally touch another customer. That’s true even when the shopper is very interested in an item. This can be easily avoided by creating adequate personal space between tables and shelves and the distance between items.

There is a happy medium though. If an aisle is too wide like large road customers will move quickly through the store. If the aisles are narrow, it’ll encourage slower foot traffic, but if they are too narrow, crowding will happen.



Photo by  Nathan Dumlao

Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Go With The Flow

Customers are like a river, you want them to flow at a nice pace, you don’t want rapids and waterfalls, or stagnation. Use some of these tools to make adjustments to your store to get customers to shop and buy and move.

That being said, every store is different and some shops will find some of these to be difficult because of a lack of space, but if you can make the flow of your store even a little better, it will make a huge impact this coming holiday season.