Merrick, NY—As you head into the all-important fall selling season, take a moment to look around your store. Does it look as fresh as it could?
Roland Puton, a former president of Rolex USA, was famous for the way he and his sales team would check up on accounts and/or size up a potential Rolex jeweler: in addition to walking the neighborhood or mall where the store was located to assess the landscape, he would carefully examine the store for attractive displays, fingerprints, and overall upkeep. Stores with nicks in the walls and spots on the carpet didn’t become Rolex jewelers!
In The Tipping Point, the book that made sociologist and author Malcolm Gladwell famous, he describes how small things make a huge difference. For instance, by cracking down on small nuisance crimes—graffiti and broken windows—police are able to reduce the level of major crime in a neighborhood.
Why? Because letting little things go signifies that nobody cares, and invites criminals to try bigger things. One broken window leads to another, which eventually leads to a neighborhood full of abandoned houses. But cracking down on the little “quality of life” issues sends criminals elsewhere that they’re less likely to be caught. As the quality of life improves for the residents of the neighborhood, they’re more likely to take an active part in driving further improvement.
On a store level, simple things like tiny scratches in the wood of your furniture, little scuffs on the walls or spots on the rug—even if they’re barely noticeable—add up to a tired-looking store. It’s often subconscious, but customers really do notice the difference between a pristine store and one that looks like it has some miles on it, even if the merchandise is top-notch.
Relax. You don’t necessarily need to renovate or even install new fixtures or flooring. For less than $100 you can make a noticeable difference in the atmosphere of your store to help drive up sales. The proverbial devil really is in the details!
In addition to Windex and your favorite carpet cleaner, here is an arsenal of hardworking, highly effective tools—most under $10, many under $5—to get your store back to its best self in no time. All are readily available at a hardware store or big-box home center:
Simple Green. The gold standard for removing scuff marks! Try scrubbing scuffs away with a spritz of this first before you reach for new paint or replacing the flooring. You might be surprised at the results and save yourself a lot of time or a huge bill.
Goof-Off. Cleans up paint drops and other hard-to remove substances. Use gloves and test in an inconspicuous spot first.
Goo-Gone. Cleans up gunky messes, like residue from stickers.
Sponge paintbrushes. To touch up spots or nicks in the wall or other painted surface, use one of these to gently dab on paint in a stippling motion. A traditional paintbrush can leave a visible trail, but stippling on with a sponge brush is just about invisible.
Old English scratch cover. If you’ve got some wood with multiple nicks, this is a great product to use on a large area. Use a rag to wipe it on and augment with a Q-tip dipped into the product, or a scratch-covering pen product, for detail work.
Pledge Multi-Surface. It’s an outstanding polish for granite and marble, and highly effective on other surfaces too, just as the label says.
Microfiber cloths. Lint-free, streak-free, dust-free, and washable to reuse over and over.
Lightweight spackle, a good spackle knife, and some fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out nicks before touching up.
Two more tools, more than $10, but still well worth the investment:
Full-length mirror. If you don’t have one up on the wall, install one, especially if you’re trying to attract self-purchasing females. Yes, we really do want to see the entire outfit, not just from the neck up.
Cordless hand/stick vac. (Dyson, Shark, etc.) A super-handy tool to have if you don’t already. When you don’t have to drag out the big upright vacuum, it's easier and you're much more motivated to frequently clean out those little bits of dust in your showcases and light fixtures.
A Dyson cordless hand and stick vac.
What’s your favorite tool or hack for buffing and polishing the store? Share here!