Injured While “Last Minute” Shopping

During the holiday season, stores and malls become busier than usual, making shopping a difficult and sometimes dangerous task. Slips and falls can occur in an ice coated parking lot, in puddles at the entryway of busy stores, or even around a cluttered display area of discounted or must-have items. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slips and falls account for over 1 million of E.R. visits each or about 12% of all types of falls. When you are out and about, enjoying the fast-paced holiday shopping season, don’t make let your last minute purchases become a “holiday ruining” slip and fall accident injury.

Provide a Safe Shopping Zone

Whether patrons are shopping for cookie baking ingredients or a sweater for your grandfather, it’s important that the store is safe and free from obstructions that can trip shoppers or make them slip and fall. The holiday shopping season can increase store traffic, making it more difficult to stay on top of maintenance and/or cleaning, but it’s important to make a shopper’s environment a safe environment. If you work in a store, whether you are a general manager, a member of the maintenance crew, or a cashier, it’s essential that you work together as a team and keep your eyes peeled for potentially hazardous shopping conditions. While you may already have strict safety and cleanliness guidelines in your establishment, it’s important to remember a couple of these safety tips to prevent slip and fall accidents:

Clean up puddles as soon as possible. Check entryways, aisles, and areas with coolers, freezers, and other equipment that may leak. To ensure that the floor is dry and slip-proof, thoroughly clean the area, mark with appropriate signage (i.e. “Caution: Wet Floors), and run a heater or fan to dry the area quickly. Additionally, make sure that walkways in front of your establishment are properly salted or sanded if there are icy spots in front of the store. A slip and fall, even outside (on your property) can be your responsibility.

Eliminate or cover long cords. During the holiday season, you may find that you need extra cords for holiday decorations, lights, or entryway heaters. If the cords are not secured, they can become a tripping/falling hazard.

When your establishment is busy, it may be more difficult to put inventory away in a timely matter. If you have just received a large delivery, but have also been “slammed” with business, make sure that boxes, pallets, and other inventory is not blocking aisles or major walkways.

Do the Right Thing, Take Initiative. Even if it’s not your job to clean up a spill or move “falling” hazards out of the way, it’s vital to take initiative and let someone know of the potentially hazardous conditions.

Marketing Systems for Retail Shopping Centres

When you lease or manage shopping centres, the marketing of the tenant mix to optimise sales will be a constant focus for you. In this economic climate the tenant mix should be shaped and comprehensively marketed to the shopping demographic and community that visits the centre. In this way the property manager helps the tenants to optimise sales and therefore minimises vacancy threat. In the end result the landlord benefits with a successful shopping centre.

So every shopping centre should have an established Marketing System and Plan for the coming 12 to 18 months. It is a ‘rolling’ process where things are planned and implemented to maximise the shopper interest and the sales results. This ‘plan’ should be incorporated into the business plan for the property.

The shopping seasons are ‘planned for’ well in advance, utilising tools and concepts such as:

  • Stimulate the shopper interest with contests and celebrity visits to the property on peak shopping days – that is usually Thursdays to Saturdays.
  • Let community groups set up booths in the mall to promote donations, membership or contributions
  • Let some of your retailers set up special selling areas in the mall to complement sales and add to shopper interest
  • If the local community is impacted by tourism or holiday shoppers, incorporate that focus into your marketing plans
  • Build on the identity of the shopping centre by branding ever piece of promotional material with the ‘name’ of the shopping centre.
  • If your property is located near rail stations, airports, or bus depots, make sure you are advertising in those locations for both your property and the tenant mix.
  • Develop flyers to drop into letterboxes in your shopping demographic
  • Every shopping bag should get a flyer or ‘bag stuffer’ of another offer or contest
  • Have complementary tenants cooperate with each other for extended selling across the core theme (e.g. ladies fashion can be cross selling across shoes, clothes, cosmetics, and jewellery)
  • Get students from the local school or college to display their art as part of an annual competition.
  • Involve local radio, TV, and newspapers with your shopping centre events. You may need to run some adverts to get their interest or involvement
  • Research your shoppers 3 times a year to identify what they are looking for in product offering and tenant mix
  • Split the shopping year into a series of special promotions such as shoes, eating and drinking, household appliances, jewellery, electrical goods, computer and gaming, and fashion.

When you think about it, there are some good reasons to promote the property; understand the community and then tap into their needs.

Opening a Coffee Shop – Getting Into an Expanding Market

Opening a coffee shop might seem a brave move in the current economic climate but dozens of people are finding that this is one area of business that is holding up well. In Britain, for example, more and more people are visiting coffee shops and cafes even as the recession bites.

If you are thinking about opening a coffee shop then there is one thing you must bear in mind above everything else – the location. This is one thing that should come naturally. You will know your local town centre, where people go, what the attractions are and when they head out. Keep an eye on those to let signs and think about when and where you’d like a break while shopping, or where you pause if you are on the move and doing business. If you think in those terms the answer to a good location should almost come naturally. One helpful word – the chance to incorporate outside seating is great. What better advertisement for your coffee shop than seeing that other people are there already?

If you can get your location right, your coffee shop has a very real chance of turning a good profit.

The other thing that might be a worry if you are considering opening a coffee shop is how much do you know about coffee? One of the reasons you might be keen is because you are a real coffee enthusiast – if so great. If not, there is no reason to panic. Think about how many of your potential customers come in bursting with knowledge of beans and just how the Colombian coffee market is today! The answer is not many. They just want good coffee and place to relax. Searching out suppliers will take time, but if you see splintered or broken beans that is not good news. Let your nose be your guide too, a good smell will almost always translate into good coffee.

Opening a coffee shop will demand some time and energy but a little intelligent thought can find you a good place to open, ways round start up costs and a real chance of escaping the rat race!