Tennis Industry magazine


Retailing 105: Create a Comfortable Shopping Environment

High-profit tennis specialty retailers make their shoppers as comfortable as possible.

There are a lot of different specialty retail store environments, from tiny shops to huge, 5,000-square-foot or more stores. While it’s always tempting to want to go bigger and bigger with your store’s square footage, research clearly shows that when it comes to a new retail concept store, bigger isn’t always better. In fact, the data shows that more square footage doesn’t matter as much as how comfortable shoppers feel before, and after, they enter the store.

For tennis specialty retailers, making the store environment comfortable is the key, and Operationally Excellent specialty retailers have cracked the comfort code. Here is our list of key store environment comfort points you should employ in your store:

1. Start with the windows and front door. Get rid of or minimize any stickers that may obstruct views. You want to make sure consumers — and especially potential shoppers — have a clear view of store window displays or the interior of your shop.

2. Clear the entryway. We don’t process what we see as quickly as we walk, so make the entryway into your store a “neutral zone,” where shoppers can stop and catch up, where they can look around before starting their shopping experience.

3. Eliminate clutter! If necessary, reduce how much you have out on the sales floor (while making sure you have plenty of merchandise stocked in the back) and simplify your selection so that it’s easy for shoppers to make buying decisions. This way, both shoppers and staff will enjoy the shopping experience.

4. Go with the flow. Organize your store into departments. Shoppers need to understand where they are and be comfortable with the journey through your store, no matter what size it is.

5. Signs sell. Have an in-store sign strategy to make it easy to find things and understand them. It will also make it easy for consumers to navigate your store and buy your merchandise.

6. Aisles are important — even in a small specialty retail store. Make sure your aisles are wide enough for a stroller, and that two people can pass without knocking into each other.

7. Slow your shoppers down as they journey through the store. Make sure your displays are eye-catching; use mirrors under merchandise and on posts; and use lighting to attract attention.

8. Keep things fresh and new. Change some or all of your displays as frequently as the average customer visits your store.

9. Keep up with housekeeping — every day. Clean, sweep, mop, dust, vacuum and do display recovery every day. Shoppers want a clean store environment, and will remember if a store is clean or not.

10. Flowers and green plants will help to make your store more hospitable.

11. Use nametags for staff. It will make it easy for shoppers to identify and find help.

12. Providing shopping baskets or nylon shopping bags will make it convenient for shoppers to browse your store.

13. Seating shows you care. Provide comfortable seating where you can.

14. Provide for kids. If you keep kids happy and occupied, then their parents can shop worry-free and spend more time in the store.

15. Pay attention to lighting. Well-thought-out and well-placed lighting will attract attention to your store’s displays and merchandise, and show off your store.

16. Always make sure your rest rooms and changing rooms are super-clean. If you can, make your changing rooms as large as possible, and include mirrors. Also include a chair, if there’s space, and plenty of hooks for hanging clothing.

Coming Up:

Manufacturers’ representatives — a tennis retailer’s best resource.

This is part of a series of retail tips presented by the Tennis Industry Association and written by the Gluskin Townley Group (



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