Dear David: First impressions of your showroom count

August 22, 2017

August 14/21: Volume 32, Issue 5

By David Romano

Dear David:
Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.37.51 AMI have tried just about everything to get my sales associates to better organize the floor but nothing seems to work. I know we need to look better, but there is only so much I can do myself and I cannot afford to hire a cleaning company to come each night to clean and organize the showroom. Any thoughts?

Dear Fed Up Owner,
I am sorry to hear that your sales staff is giving you such fits when it comes to cleaning and organizing the showroom floor. The first thing I suggest you do is make them aware that keeping the showroom in good working order is their job. Many times they push back and say they are paid to sell and not clean; I push back and say if they are not clean they wouldn’t sell anything. Here are common situations to avoid when organizing your showrooms.

  • Dirty bathrooms. Restrooms should always be sparkling clean, whether they are open for public use or not. Make sure to stock the bathrooms with plenty of paper products, soap, trash receptacles and clean it daily
  • Bad quality of the floors. If you sell flooring and your floors are dirty, worn, scratched, missing transitions or outdated, how in the world do you expect people to want to buy from you?
  • Loud music. Playing music in a retail store can help create a certain atmosphere for your shoppers. However, music that is too loud, inappropriate or of poor quality can ruin a positive shopping experience
  • Handwritten signs. In this era of technology, there is no excuse for displaying handwritten signage and price tags. Printed versions simply look more professional, and hard-to-read handwriting can be a customer turn-off.
  • Stained ceiling tiles. Ugly ceiling tiles can turn off many shoppers. Who wants to buy products for their home from a company that cannot even clean their ceiling?
  • Poor lighting. Replace any burned out light bulbs as soon as possible. Make sure all customer areas of the store have ample lighting and take into consideration shoppers with aging or less than perfect eyesight.
  • Offensive odors. Shoppers don’t want to smell an employee’s lunch drifting across the store or musty carpet that should have been replaced 10 years ago. Use neutralizers to combat any offensive odors or remove the source of the aroma altogether.
  • Crowded aisles. Consumers like a wide selection, but not if it means sacrificing comfort while shopping. Be sure your store is designed to allow adequate space between aisles and keep walkways free of merchandise.
  • Poorly maintained parking lot or exterior. Overgrown bushes and grass, old signage, litter or a poorly maintained façade is sure to send folks back to their cars before entering the store. Send out the warehouse guy every morning to take care of the exterior and hire professionals to maintain the building appearance.

To avoid the above scenarios, I recommend you create a “zoned” maintenance plan where you split the showroom up into regions and assign certain duties to your sales and reception staff. Each morning assign a zone to at least one member of the team outlining the areas to be maintained and provide a checklist to ensure everything is in good condition and well organized. More importantly, be sure to be consistent in the execution. At first it might seem like a lot of work but over time it will be very easy for employees to maintain. Remember, you pay them to clean up after themselves.


David Romano is the founder of Romano Consulting Group and Benchmarkinc, a group that provides consulting, benchmarking,
recruiting and software solutions to the flooring, home improvement and restoration industries.


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