How To Manage Large Crowds For Small Retailers
No matter what size your retail location is, you may find yourself facing a crowd at some point or another.
Whether you are located in a place that “celebrates” Black Friday, or you have a seasonal or holiday-related sales event that is driving business your way, having a good crowd management plan in place keeps you, your employees, and your customers safe.
If your store is small, or you’re a new start-up and you haven’t dealt with crowds before, you may not know exactly how you’ll handle a frantic bargain-hunting group of shoppers.
Here are a few tips that you can put into place before the sale, to help manage the crowd better – no matter what size your retail location may be.
Hire Extra Help
It’s always a good idea to have extra help around during a big sale.
You may be loath to add more bodies to a small location if you’re expecting a big crowd, but having more hands on deck to help keep order will pay off.
If you don’t need extra cashiers or baggers, consider door security, or even trained crowd management personnel who can assist in keeping orderly queues and manage the flow of traffic.
Give Everyone A Spot
Regardless of how many workers you have on hand, be sure that they all have a designated location within the building where they are “stationed”.
This does many things.
First, it ensures that employees are spread throughout the building, to offer assistance and to provide crowd control in as many locations as possible.
Second, it keeps employees safe, because they know that they only have to worry about their specific location, and don’t have to try to think about the rest of the store while also battling crowds themselves.
Finally, it helps lessen the chance of theft or broken items because you’ll have eyes and ears everywhere.
Tweak The Flow
If you typically have a very open floor plan, or you’ve used your merchandise to create an intimate flow with narrower aisles, now is the time to switch it up.
The best way to keep a crowd organised and orderly is to provide a logical path to each section of the store; to provide enough room that people can move around those who have stopped to browse items; and to provide a single route to each checkout lane, and no more.
This will keep crowds from queuing in different directions, and will allow everyone to travel directly to the section they want to shop in from the door.
In addition to using rope lines, or having heavy barricades in place to direct traffic, these tips can help you ensure that everyone in your store has a safe experience during a major sale.
If you’ll be honouring coupons or numbered tickets during the sale, it’s a good idea to post the process for using those, and to remind the waiting crowd before they enter of any regulations.
Clear communication with everyone, including the customers, is the best way to make your big sale a success.
The Retail Sales Academy Team