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The variety of goods you sell in your general store may leave you wondering what kind of an interior to create to display and sell your products. Just like other retail shops, you must find ways to encourage customers to linger, make purchases and come back to buy more. Start by determining what types of products you want to sell in your general store. Then, you’re ready to put the interior design as well as visual merchandising to work to increase sales.
Decide if your store will sell what people need, such as groceries, healthcare products and convenience items, or what they want, such as specialty and unique items that are difficult to find elsewhere. If you set up a “needs” general store, make it easy for people to find the products they want by grouping common items together so shoppers can choose from the brand they want. In a “want” store, you get more flexibility on how you display items since part of the fun of shopping at this type of general store is discovering new products and getting ideas for how to use the items.
Giving your store a central theme helps people remember your store as an interesting place to shop. You may want to design your store’s interior as a nostalgic, old-fashioned general store, using whitewashed furniture, wooden flooring, vintage fabrics and signs from the past to point out products for sale. Or you may want to go with a more modern theme that suggests you carry a little of everything, typical of a general store. In this case, use shelving, accessories and colors that add to your modern theme.
Look for unique ways to display your products so you’re not just relying on long rows of shelves. For instance, designing your store with nostalgia in mind means using décor such as historic or sepia-toned photos and interesting antique containers to hold products. Use old-fashioned whiskey barrels or bushel baskets to display larger items. Find unique containers to hold smaller, impulse purchase items such as candy, gum, small cosmetics or trial samples of products.
No matter what type of general store you set up, create vignettes that show how the central product is used. Vignettes also help highlight a variety of items that go well together, such as seasonal items. If you sell home accessories in your store, create a vignette of a table with warm lighting, and add a colorful doily, candles, vase with flowers and picture frames to give shoppers an idea of how they can use the items in their own home. Another type of vignette could focus on local history. Include items such as greeting cards depicting local scenes, souvenir t-shirts and other local or regional products while using vintage photos in the background of the display to show people arriving in the area via railroad or on horseback.
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