The front counter of your gift shop is often the first and last thing customers see in your store. Catch them when they come in with enticing visual displays, and increase their buying potential on the way out with attention-grabbing point-of-sale specials.
Your front counter should be visually appealing but not so overwhelmed with merchandise or décor items that it’s difficult to see what’s for sale. Use visual merchandising tricks like raised, well-lit display cases, items set at angles and merchandise displayed in decorative baskets or jars. Small and colorful items like gift tags, confetti, note cards and gift wrap are pretty as décor elements that also give customers ideas about how their gifts would look if they purchased the items.
Promote new arrivals by placing them under decorative lighting fixtures, like stained glass lamps or under-counter up-lighting. Use mirrors to reflect light and color and draw attention to sale items while still making your display décor appealing. Hand-written chalk signs or calligraphy on wrought iron display signs trailed with greenery or tulle draw attention to new merchandise.
Even clearance item displays can be decorative in the way you position them on your front counter. Showcase last-chance buys in colorful gift boxes that are ready for customers to grab-and-go. Strategically decorate bargain items by grouping them together in pretty cellophane packaging and ribbons. String the bags with trailing twinkle lights to give them extra decorative visual appeal and entice last-minute purchases.
Take advantage of holidays to change up your décor and promote seasonal sales items. Drape a frost-covered artificial tree with gift cards on ribbon, or fill a glass bowl with colorful ornaments for winter holidays. Stuff red, pink and white gift bag samples with colorful papers as Valentine’s Day display pieces to encourage additional sales. Drape counters with wide, colorful floral ribbons in the spring, and showcase small gift items in grass-lined baskets. If your store is in a city with a big local sports fan base, decorate the display case in team color bunting before big games.
Impulse buys are typically small, low-priced items that catch customers’ eyes as they’re waiting in line for the cashier. Use them to make your front counter attractive. For example, place votive candles and holders in front of a decorative display of wineglasses positioned on a tray full of glass marbles, or position handmade soaps and lotions in front of a tea towel draped from a shabby chic table-top towel rack.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.