By Sarah Corbin
A whole area of retailers can be hurt if not everyone is on the same page in terms of store hours. It's why many plazas or malls require open and closed times for their tenants.
People have to know when to shop near you. We are all busy, so planning ahead and making multiple stops in a plaza or mall or strip of businesses is just being efficient. And shopping for a gift for someone is often a chance to get out and look at different places, window shop, get ideas.
It is hard to plan your stop, when you aren't quite sure when the businesses are going to to be open. And it's hard to browse a shopping "district" when the stores don't have consistent hours.
The end result is that shoppers, community members and browsers just don't come as often.
I've heard this a couple of times over the last year from some businesses.
"People forget about us." My partial answer to this complaint is this: (not for all of you that have said it)
No, people don't forget about you. Initially, they just couldn't figure out when to go to your location. You don't really announce or advertise your change in hours to a large audience. As folks show up once or twice when your not there (ish) they remember NOT TO go back.
Unfortunately, I don't think "I'll leave early today businesses" understand how much the "ish" of coming and going hurts an entire area of retailers and struggling business owners.
So here are some ideas:
Put a sign on the door and proper lighting in the store that says, "Hope you enjoyed the window watching today, our next open viewing in store is Saturday from 1pm-5pm. Please see our store web site for special viewings and times." Then stick to the time. You have to open at 1pm. If you can't be there till 1:15 some days then let your sign say "1:15 - sometimes we actually open early"
If you are business that has to be closed when other retailers are open consistently, you have to light up your location (like a gallery walk) by having the lighting on EVEN when your doors aren't. Maybe set a timer, so that you have lighted window viewing hours, when those other folks are open. This at least allows for passers by and browsers to get a good look in.
Consistency in retail store hours, looking like a vital business strip when all stores are open, being a part of that consistency, helps out your fellow businesses, and keeps a retail environment ROBUST.
Together. Businesses succeed together.