A sparkling store can help build your competitive edge—especially during the summer selling season. Here are practical tips to make your store fresh as a daisy
If the idea of spring cleaning your store sounds as appealing as spending a beautiful Sunday afternoon in April cleaning out your garage, remember this: A clean store is a competitive advantage.
You don’t need Sleep Savvy to tell you how crowded and challenging the mattress-retailing environment is getting. Chances are good that in the past year at least one new mattress store has opened in your city, most likely in one of its busy destination shopping areas. Those stores are literally shiny and new. No stains on those carpets. No faded foot protectors on those priced-to-sell queen sets.
To remind you briefly why a sparkling store is especially important to mattress retailers: You are selling a deeply personal product, and to help consumers select that product, you ask them to lie down—for several minutes—on a mattress that already has comforted and supported hundreds of other people. You don’t want to give your shoppers any reason to doubt the cleanliness of that sleep surface—or the new mattress they may have delivered the next day.
The season for sprucing up
Spring is the ideal time to give your store a deep cleaning.
“The quality of daylight changes in the spring and seems to highlight the grime, dust and cobwebs that have accumulated over the winter,” writes Rachel Simhon in “The Housewife’s Handbook: How to Run the Modern Home.” “The longer evenings make us feel we can do more in a day.” Yes, people can do more in a day—like go shopping for a new mattress.
We’re heading into the biggest mattress-selling season, when newlyweds are setting up new homes, college graduates are getting their own places and people in all demographics are moving from one house or apartment into another. The season kicks off with Better Sleep Month in May. With its annual focus on the important link between good sleep and a good mattress, this effort of the Better Sleep Council (the consumer-education arm of the International Sleep Products Association) puts the spotlight on sleep products and encourages consumers to go shopping. And those three-day holiday weekends give them plenty of time to visit your store. Make sure it looks its best when the crowds arrive.
Getting the cleaning crew together
If you’re a store owner or manager and know you simply aren’t bothered by dust and fingerprints the way some people are, then find the person on your team who is obsessed with such things and put that person in charge of your spring-cleaning efforts.
You can tackle the actual cleaning in a variety of ways. You can enlist your team (managers, retail sales associates, etc.) and dive into the tasks over a couple of days or weeks during slow times and after hours. You also can ask your regular cleaning crew to add these tasks to its to-do list. Or, you can do a combination. For instance, it might make sense for your regular cleaners to deep clean the carpets, but might be better for one of your longtime RSAs to get your sales desk shipshape.
The to-do list
When it comes to spring cleaning, you need to go well beyond emptying the trash, wiping down the front door and cleaning the bathrooms. Those critical cleaning tasks need to be done daily, if not more often.
Several of the following to-do’s are adapted from Simhon’s book, as well as “Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House” by Cheryl Mendelson and “Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home” by Martha Stewart.
O Clean all lighting, from bedside lamps to ceiling fixtures. There is nothing inviting about lying on a mattress, looking up and seeing a dead bug or spider’s web in the light fixture above you.
O Clean carpets and occasional rugs. Polish vinyl or tile flooring.
O Wipe down or polish all headboards, futon frames, bedside tables and any other accent furniture you use in your displays. Clean any upholstered furniture.
O If you have smudged or dingy walls, author Simhon offers this wise advice: “If you think the walls need washing, it is usually simpler and quicker to give them a fresh coat of paint instead.” The same guidance applies to ceilings.
O Remove all pillows, linens, toppers and other sleep products from racks and shelves. Thoroughly clean the display areas, then move the displays themselves and clean the flooring underneath.
O Remove all signage from windows and wash the windows thoroughly. Put back only the most attractive and effective messages. (Signage has a way of multiplying across windows over the course of the year.)
O Spot clean or replace any stained or faded foot protectors, pillow bolsters, pillow shams and bed skirts.
O Wipe down all exposed bed legs.
O Dust artwork hanging on the walls. Vacuum or wipe down banners.
O Clean out and organize all drawers and shelves at the sales desk.
O If you have a children’s play area, make sure all the toys and games are in good condition. Buy new ones as needed.
O If you own your building, power wash the exterior.
O Don’t forget your delivery vehicles. They are an extension of your store and your brand. Have the interiors detailed and the exteriors repainted or rewrapped as needed.
O Don’t limit yourself to the public spaces. Your entire team will be energized to find the refrigerator in the break room cleared of old takeout containers and the training area tidied up.
Spring can be a good time to evaluate your regular cleaning company, as the deep cleaning of the store may expose some areas where your usual service is falling short. Evaluate and price alternative providers.
Finally, when you’re finished, put many of the above tasks on a semiannual or even quarterly schedule. You’ll save yourself some effort next spring and keep your store looking its best year round.
THE DICK AND CAROL TEST
My father and stepmother are clean freaks. On more than one occasion, while simply walking from one room of the house to another, I’ve watched my dad stop, bend down and pick something miniscule off the carpet. Maybe it was a crumb from his breakfast toast or a grain of sand brought in on his shoes after a day on the golf course. I never see this offending speck, but my dad always does. My stepmother is similarly tidy. Before embarking on a trip of some length, she’s been known to run back into the house and wash down the fixtures after the last person has used the bathroom.
When I visit them, I sometimes make a game of trying to find dust anywhere in their home. I have yet to win this competition. Ideally, you’d hire my dad and stepmother to spring clean your store. Unfortunately for you, they are retired and don’t have time to help you spruce up.
But keep Dick and Carol in mind as you set about cleaning. They—or someone just like them—could very well be your next customers and they expect your store to be as fresh-smelling, organized and spotless as their own bedroom. Don’t let a wall smudge make you lose a sale.
Julie A. Palm, chief wordsmith at Palm Ink LLC, has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for a variety of newspapers, magazines and other publications. She served as editor in chief of BedTimes for more than nine years and was editor in chief of Sleep Savvy for two years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.