Make your store fixtures work for you, starting with your counters. Are they the best fit? Are they positioned properly in your space? Do they invite customers, or turn them away by dividing your store floor? Here are 10 ways you can be productive by using your counter wisely:

• Cornered – A corner counter can either be put in a corner or can create a corner, if you flip it around. Think of your space and your goals. Where do you want your customers to stand?

• Take shape. Again, picture the counter in a different shape than simply long, rectangular. An L-shaped counter can define as few as two and as many as six spaces for sales. Ideally, L-shaped counters should be positioned so that there is access to the back side of the counter from both ends. A U-shaped counter can give you more merchandising space and less walking necessary for your sales team. They can handle two or three customers at a time.

Half It – You can keep inventory literally at your fingertips with a half-vision showcase. Storage for extra items can be crucial to the sale.

• The full picture – A full-view showcase gives you more room to display, giving you more opportunities to sell. Several items of the same SKU can be displayed, and when they’re gone, the space is used for something else. When there’s only one left of each SKU, the remaining one becomes a hot commodity.

• Ledger top – Including a ledger on top of your counter gives you a little work area that’s out of sight of customers, and it also gives you a writing surface. Perk up your business by reversing the ledger top so that it faces the customer, and you can have a sign-in book or a sign-up for a special event or mailing. Be sure the counter is ADA compliant, with a 36-inch or lower counter height.

• You Sell ‘Em! – Sturdy counters that hold your cash register and serve as a space for customers to sign invoices or place purchases can make a big difference in the final impression you make on the customer. If the check-out experience was good, you’re more likely to get repeat business.

• Combo, Please. If you want to try a number of styles of counters, or even if you are tight on space, a combo unit cat serve both purposes. The combo unit features the showcase, sales counter and register stand all in a six-foot unit.

• Color your world. Many counters for sale come in a variety of colors or finishes. Explore the options. You can also get counters with slat wall fronts, which allow for merchandise display. This is great for commonly needed items or impulse items that pump up your sales.

• Do you have an idea that standard fixtures can’t accommodate? Ask us about custom mill work!

Sale-Watching: When and Where

Some big-ticket items go on sale seasonally, and you automatically know when to buy them, like linen sales in January, televisions and electronics in February and appliances in April, to name a few. These big sales are the result of retailers’ efforts to sell out their inventory so that they can receive new goods. Whether it’s a new version of an existing model, or a completely new product, its predecessor is going on sale.

Store fixtures can be said to be the same way, but there are a few more ins and outs to sale-watching the retail fixture market. First, consider what you need in your fixture repertoire. No matter how good the price is on a certain item, such as slat wall, if you don’t use it, you’ve wasted your money.

Keep in contact with your warehouse to see what’s coming up for sale pricing. Warehouse managers know what’s going in and out of their facility and they’re the first to know of inventory gluts or shortages. If you hear of a major retailer closing stores in your area, you can be pretty sure there will be used inventory of store fixtures available in the near future at a warehouse near you. The closure may also prompt sales on new merchandise as retailers re-evaluate their own floor plans. A local store closure often signals other retailers to be on their toes, because “it could have been us.”

Busy times for shelving and fixtures are when new shops are opening in town or when a large retailer announces its arrival in your community. You won’t find any deals, and you may not find any inventory, depending on the retailer. Check out racks, dress forms and mannequins after major New York fashion shows. Sales of fixtures to showcase the newest fashions might be a possibility. Or, there may be used pieces that designers are trying to unload at great prices. In essence, if you watch the various markets for trends, you’ll see emerging trends in the fixture industry.

The best deals come to those who do their homework and have a good working relationship with their warehouse fixture sales and managers. That’s the real way to get the inside scoop on sales.