Posts Tagged ‘retail’

I am happy that Macy’s will follow my advice and keep off price within the main store.

Monday, November 16th, 2015

I am glad that Macy’s took my advice in my blog and linkedin post. Stay true to your core customer and moving off price to a remote locations is not a good idea for a multitude of reasons.
The thought to lead your core customer out the door and down the street to an off price location was against all retail principles.
Now to provide an area in the store where price driven shoppers who want branded items ( Marshal’s customer and TJX ) will appreciate this option. And most probably while in the store will pick up a few full price items as well.
The logistics to get vendors to buy into selling Macy’s closeout items over the Marshall’s volume potential due to the bulk of their locations would have been interesting.
Now Macy’s does not need to worry about filling an off price store off location with product similar to Target or Walmart due to price point restrictions. Another battle Macy’s would not win nor set up to wage.
I like this new reversal and believe it will be a winner.

The Benefits of a Store Audit

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

111It is common practice for all of us to visit a doctor once a year to validate how we feel, any new issues to concern ourselves with and should something suspicious appear, that it is investigated.
Retail is no different but all too often the retailer is concerned about the product cost and sell pricing and spends little time looking at the store through a customers eye.
The practice of Retail Audit goes beyond the product only. America loves the words: new, just arrived, special, updated, and essential. When the store takes on the spirit of these words you provide change and interest to the customers shopping experience. Beyond the words are the actions you take. Product change over time and a display that properly showed the item a year ago may need an adjustment to accommodate the update version of that item. If you allow time to pass without addressing this issue you wind up with a square trying to fit a round hole.
For the bottom line the yearly audit should review the lighting and determine if an investment into new LED efficient lighting will over time pay itself back with energy savings on your monthly bill. Electric is often one of the biggest monthly line numbers in your expenses and a reduction in cost equates to an increase of profit.
In conclusion, retailers you owe it to your store to provide a yearly physical to insure it is healthy, you remain wealth and wise.

Scale of balance in retail

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Scale of Balance is a Retail Liability

Retail business plans are simply based on how to get the most sales per square foot of selling space. In the retailers attempt to improve their bottom line they often make decisions that put their customers and employees in harms way.

Humans require certain ergonomic standards and accessibility to shop safely in a store. Although local building codes regulate aisle widths and fire egress within the store, the retailer is always trying to push the envelope of safety by taking the industry standards and codes to the absolute minimal dimensions.

For every action there is an opposite reaction. Reduce the aisle space to get more products out increases the likelihood of a customer to walk into a display or brush past product that causes this product to fall. When the retailer stacks more products vertically and creates the Leaning Tower of Pisa the likelihood of customer accidents caused by falling product to occur. The laws of Physics cannot be pushed beyond their limits before a safe condition turns into an accident scene.

So why do retailers often cross the line of safety? More often than not the store staff are not aware of what they are doing could lead to an unsafe condition. Store managers are notorious in finding space and loading it up with product regardless of the possibility for the product to fall down onto a customer. Action is a result of motivation and the Store Managers bonus and performance is based on total yearly sales and not by the absence of accident reports. So, the final decision to cross the line of safety is based on the idea of do I make an additional $50,000 in sales by risking some safety issues or take a chance on a small claim costing $5000.00. Sounds like a net profit of $45000.00 which will help any bonus based on volume and profitability. What the manager miscalculated was the extent of damage caused by an accident and many juries will award $500,000.

As I tour stores for Attorneys to review liability claims it is baffling why common sense did not kick in to alert the store they were planting a mine field that could only result in a catastrophe. Stacking furniture on top of each other with 4 legs as the only support vertically and no restriction horizontally resulted in a chest coming down on a customer. Allowing a vendor display on the end of a display without a base deck of 4” in height allowed the shopping cart to enter into a space, which caused it to stop in place. When the customer pulled back on the cart it released abruptly causing the customer to fall on the floor and break a hip.
These two examples show that it is not a good idea to allow unsafe conditions in a store to remain without taking immediate action to remedy the problem.

My recommendation to attorneys when addressing a liability case in a retail environment is to take out the magnifying glass and determine what were the real conditions at the time of the accident. I found a standard display item, made in China which was the cause of a major facial deformity case was due to a manufacture not following the retailers display specification.
When a retailer weekly circular printed material fell on the floor and was the cause of a customer slipping on it who was at fault? Was it the floor which was not a non-slip surface, the weekly circular wire stand which had no edges around the stack of printed material thus allowing the wind at the door to blow the circular onto the floor, or was it the customer who cut across the entrance floor and had ten feet to pass the wire rack who tripped on the paper located directly under the wire display?

Finding the liability in an accident within a store can fall on many parties and the only way to substantiate the fault is to review the industry standards, apply some common sense and review proven engineering practices that determine if all parties followed every aspect of safety within a store. When a store chooses to venture beyond the limits of safe design, they leave themselves open to becoming a party named in an accident within a retail environment.

Here is the reality, if you are a big box retailer with 1000 locations, 5000 customers a day per store there is a potential of five million accidents a day. I always design a store or a display with safety first before making design ideas that address profitability. I believe it is the attention to safety then to profitability that creates scale of balance for all retailers.

Jerry Birnbach F.I.S.P, Assoc A.I.A.

Leading Retail Store Planning and Consultant. Over thirty years of award winning, profitable retail solutions, innovative store planning and merchandising methods. Full services include lease negotiations, store design, display design, showroom design, retail store design and store planning, retail design expert