In the majority of theater productions, backdrops and props are integral to the viewer’s experience, as well as the way the performance is perceived. What the audience might not consider is the effort and organization that backstage crew bring to the happening.
When you consider the physical layout of your store, your priorities are likely the areas that customers see. Of course you want the place where sales are either made or missed to look tidy, appealing and even impressive. However, your behind-the-scenes spaces are also important for efficient store operations.
A big portion of your back room space is dedicated to inventory storage, so it’s an important area to organize thoughtfully. Gift Shop Mag suggested drawing up a floor plan of the entire area, noting where you need walkways or access to emergency exits. As you decide how to arrange everything you have to keep back there, think about how often you use each item. According to the source, it makes sense to place the fastest-selling items toward the front and group the remaining merchandise in the most logical way for employees to navigate. To keep boxes of merchandise neatly stacked, install shelving units along the walls.
Use the farthest shelves to store display fixtures that you aren’t currently using. Another way to arrange your products is based on their location on the sales floor. This will work best if you tend to keep a floor layout for extended periods of time so that it’s a consistent system.
According to the magazine’s contributors, it’s easy to maintain the ideal back room if there’s an employee assigned to the task. Find out if anyone on the team is a natural organizer, or simply rotate the weekly job. With a few hours of concentrated effort each month, it’ll be difficult for things to become too unruly in the back. Set aside a specific place for tools your employees need often, such as writing utensils, scissors, tape or labeling materials, and make restocking these items part of the responsibility.
If you can afford an off-site storage unit, consider keeping anything you won’t use in the next six months in there. This will free up tons of space in the back room for hot-selling items. For stores where separate storage doesn’t make sense, it’s important to purge the back room regularly. It might seem wasteful to clear out old inventory or store fixtures that could be replaced, but ultimately it can help streamline the flow of business by creating extra room to maneuver.
While traditionally stores hang a whiteboard or bulletin board for important messages, you can get creative with paint that turns a regular wall into a black or white board. Here you can post updated policies, holiday schedules, employee incentives and words of encouragement.
In many retail locations, the office is a separate room in the back area. This is ideal because there should be a secure spot for management to keep financial and personal information, as well as cash, gift certificates and other valuables. If that’s the case in your store, be sure to install the proper locks and take necessary security measures to keep the contents safe. Because fewer people can access the office, it can be easier to maintain. However, it might be more difficult to sustain a desk area in the general back room space. Take advantage of the desk drawers and install shelves above the table to hold anything else. Keeping the top of the desk clear will go a long way in the overall tidiness of the administrative zone.