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4 Ways to Raise Your Transaction Size

As floor manager at Annapolis Home Hardware Building Centre in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Victoria Cook-Cranton has spent the last two years on a campaign to increase the average transaction size at her store. Now, the owners of the business are beginning to implement her ideas across all six of their locations in the southwestern part of the Canadian province. As she helps those stores make adjustments to their layout and merchandising, Cook-Cranton identified some of the ways retailers can find opportunities for boosting their average transaction size.

Move it around.
“When the owners acquired other businesses, one of their troubles has been that they tend to put a product in one place and it stays there for a long time,” she says. “Leaving a product in the same space will cause you to miss opportunities.”

Whether it’s an individual product or an entire category, changing location allows her to both keep the store fresh for customers and to ensure she’s found the optimum selling spot for each item. Also, changing where items are located may get customers to walk past categories they didn’t know you carried, opening up more buying occasions.

Identify the dead zones.
There may be some places in the store where it seems that nothing sells. Cook-Cranton calls that a dead zone.

“There is an endcap in the store where it’s hard to sell anything,” she says. “Put the same product somewhere else and it sells out in a few days. Watch out for your dead zones. If something isn’t selling in one place, move it and see if it will sell somewhere else.”

She takes a similar approach to promotional items that do not well as well as she had hoped. If there are products left over from a circular promotion, she doesn’t just leave them in the same place until it sells through. She moves the product to a different location to see if it will sell there instead.

Capitalize the power aisle.
After the owners acquired the four other hardware operations, Cook-Cranton says that one of the first changes they made to the layout of those stores was to open up the power aisle so there was more room for bulk displays. Widening the aisle required removing 4-foot sections from the surrounding aisles. Decreasing space in the regular run of shelving was worth it, given the amount of sales a power aisle can generate.

Pallet and dump bins displays work best in the power aisle, although she’s found that like any display, they take a bit of trial and error. Bulk displays are also effective in other departments, such as by the paint desk or contractor service counter.

Use clear signage.
Not every customer is going to ask questions. Some may even leave the store without a purchase because they can’t find what they want. Clear signage can fix that. Having clear, consistent signage looks professional and appealing. Customers can use signage to find what they need. Make sure all promotions are clearly labeled so customers can find the advertised items they may have seen online or in a circular.

Bulk displays create an urgency to buy, and help raise the average transaction size.
Frequent placement of clip strips help bring projects together.
Even the simplest of projects, such as cleaning the kitchen, can generate sales of multiple items.
Unique displays, such as this one for the Color of the Year, draws attention to key categories.
The power aisle gives room for bulk displays, critical to establishing a low-price image.
Strategic placement of dump bins near service counters target contractor customers.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton
Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NRHA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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