Thursday, July 31, 2008

Q. How should I position the departments within my new retail store?

A. Placing your departments in the right place is the first step in optimizing workability and maximizing your sales. There are several factors to consider here, and many obstacles that home healthcare retailers have to overcome. A retail store cannot just be thrown together. Customers’ lack of knowledge about these products requires that you merchandise them in a way that creates a smooth traffic flow and maintains the functionality of the store. Placing your departments in an organized and predictable customer traffic flow pattern and then maintaining clean and uncluttered departments is essential.

Display some of your big-ticket items prominently in the front of the store. If you have windows in the front, display wheelchairs, lift chairs and scooters there. This lets customers who pass by know what kind of business you’re in. Another good department to position toward the front of the store is bathroom safety. Include a tub and a toilet in your display and fully accessorize them. Try to display the products in a way that demonstrates how they are to be used.

As the customer progresses further into the store, create a bedroom setting and display all your bedroom accessories. Place elastics, compression hosiery, CPAP and BiPAP, mastectomy, and all other departments that require fittings and private consultation near the fitting rooms. Departments that require an element of discretion such as ostomy and incontinence should be placed in a private area toward the back of the store.

Aids to daily living products are an impulse category. A good place for them is near your service area, which is ideally placed in the rear of the store. When a customer is waiting to be helped, they will have the opportunity to browse through your selection of handy helpful gadgets.

Chris Godlewski is a senior merchandiser at Gladson Design Group. Reach him at <a href="mailto:cgodl