You're opening and stocking your first retail store. What are the tools and equipment that you'll absolutely need? While every retail store is unique, there are some things that you just can't go without. Here's a list of the most essential retail supplies.
Start by Defining Your Needs
Before you even get started, it's wise to inventory what you're going to need throughout your store. On the sales floor, you're going to need product displays, scanners and price guns, and point-of-sale systems. In the stock room, you're going to need things to tag and label products, as well as secure and store products. Your retail store may deal with many small, high value items or larger, low value items. This will control whether you need things such as safes or locked rooms.
If you really don't know where to start, walk yourself through a transaction from start to finish. A customer walks in and looks at your goods: what do they find? A customer grabs a good and walks up to the register to purchase it: what do they need? Finally, an employee goes to restock the item that was purchased: what tools will they use?
With that in mind, here are some of the supplies that are most likely to be necessary in any store.
1. Tagging Guns
In the stock room, you're going to need to tag your products. You'll need tagging gun needles, tag attacher guns/kits, and tag fasteners, depending on the types of item that you're selling. If you're tagging clothing, it'll be a different experience from tagging electronics. For electronics and high value items, you may also need to attach alarms.
2. Labeling Systems
Outside of the stock room, you still need to keep your products clearly labeled. In addition to tagging guns, you should have labeling and pricing systems for your items, as well as barcode scanners that make it easy for the products to be looked up on-the-fly. Label makers can help you get the job done faster.
3. Scanning Guns
Scanning guns are what you use to price your items in your point-of-sale system, and every retail store is going to need them. Your employees can simply point and click, and you'll be able to quickly make a sale. If you sell larger items (such as furniture) you can either include the barcodes on tags or manually enter in your SKUs.
4. Display Cases
An attractive display case is often just what you need to successfully sell a product. Get brightly lit display cases to feature your most important products, as well as shelving throughout your retail store.
5. Security Systems
Modern security systems are extremely advanced. They can zoom in on people moving, record video to the cloud, and alert you if movement is detected outside of business hours. Install cameras throughout the front and back of your retail store, so you can protect your business from both shoplifting and outright theft. Your security system could become a critical piece of evidence.
6. Point of Sale Solutions
Before you open your doors, you're going to need a solid point-of-sale solution. In the past, a PoS system was usually an expensive piece of physical technology. Today, many businesses are getting by using a tablet or smartphone instead. Find a PoS system that will be able to work for the volume of sales that you make.
7. Janitorial Supplies
Your retail store is going to be kept clean. Janitorial supplies are one of the easiest things to forget, yet one of the most important things in terms of your company's appearance. Make sure you get mops, rags, cleaning solution, and dusters to make sure that your retail store continues to look like new. You can outsource your janitorial work or make sure to schedule it with your employees internally.
8. Packaging Materials
When your customers purchase a product, how is it packaged? Custom bags (whether paper or plastic) are a great way to improve convenience for your customer while also extending your company's branding. Make sure to purchase bags before you start selling, unless you want your customers to hold their goods on the way out.
9. Office Supplies
Every retail business has an office in the back, and that office is going to be where you get most of your work done. In addition to standard retail supplies, you also need standard office supplies: printers, paper, calculators, binders, and binder clips. Your office will be where you collect your employee information, print out forms and documents, and complete your financial statements. Don't forget to secure it!
Thinking through all the variables before you open your doors will save you trouble down the line. Starting a new venture can be overwhelming, but with the right preparation, you can eliminate much of the stress and enjoy the excitement!