shop frontages

Adopting some simple resolutions for the New Year could help attract new customers to your shop.

Why not try some of these:

  • Regularly look at your business from the customers point of view, remedy any failings immediately.
  • Keep your shop front well swept and free of weeds and rubbish.
  • Refresh the message on your ‘A’ sign, keep it informative, clean and sensibly located.
  • Display your business contact details clearly on the shop fascia or window.
  • Request the window cleaner to clean the shop fascia on a regular basis. What about cleaning the insides more regularly?
  • Ensure window displays are regularly changed and that the window is working for you even when the shop is closed.
  • Illuminate your window effectively and keep window lighting on after the shop is closed.
  • Repair light fittings immediately something goes wrong and keep bulbs to the same specification.
  • Remove unnecessary notices from your shop window and door – particularly if they are promoting another business.
  • Remember the age old retail adage – EYE LEVEL IS BUY LEVEL” and use it to maximise the appeal of your window and interior displays.

Look out for more simple resolutions from ‘The Shop Doctor’ to help make your shop work harder for you in 2012.

Sometimes addressing the simplest of things can make the greatest impact.

Wishing you a Happy New Year, and let’s hope for a more prosperous one.




8 independent businesses in Knutsford directly participated in the most recent round of Shop Doctor surgeries funded by Cheshire East Council on 29th & 30th November.

‘One to one’ in-store surgeries were focused on helping retailers maximise additional opportunities within their existing businesses and how to achieve this in a cost effective way.

“All too often opportunities to maximise the impact of  a business,  its appeal to the customer, and how existing fixtures and fittings  can be more effectively utilised, positioned and merchandised can easily become overlooked” commented The Shop Doctor adding “During my surgeries I prompt retailers to take a look at their business from the customer perspective,  recognise how small changes can  help deliver significant benefits and how, by applying simple concepts regarding  how customer ‘shop the shop’, it is possible to increase unit sales”

A Retail Masterclass was also included within the programme and this was delivered by The Shop Doctor on the evening of the 30th.  Attendees at the Masterclass also received information about the CORA World Host Customer Service programme being delivered by the Cheshire Oaks Retail Academy.

Shops visited included, Roberta Beauty Redefined, Papa’s Tailoring, Raw Sienna, Aunty Mabel’s Seat, Clarity Contemporary Jewellery, The Orange Orchard, Polished Glass and Cherry Tree

Whilst in Knutsford The Shop Doctor also looked in on Cooks Emporium, Stephen Edwards Electrical and EmsOriginals

I certainly experienced some excellent shops, superb skills and undoubted entrepreneurship during my visit to Knutsford, a town well worth visiting.

Two productive days were spent by The Shop Doctor in Alsager on the 15th & 16th November when he met with 10 retailers and presented a Retail Masterclass on the evening of the 16th.

The business support programme funded by Cheshire East Council enabled advisory visits to Malcolm Broad Opticians, Two Thumbs Up, Grub and Go, Delissimo, Grapevine, Home Comforts, Bands, Elizabeth Ann, Honeysuckle Flowers and Elite Dry Cleaners.

Alsager has a great range of independent shops and the intention of the visits was to help identify ways of making good shops even better. Each business will receive a written report from The Shop Doctor summarising issues that he identified                                                      during  the visits and various ideas developed subsequently.

The evening Masterclass was held at the Best Western Manor House Hotel and highlighted a range of issues that would help to ensure that businesses presented themselves in a way that appealed to customers. Getting customers off the pavement and into the shop being one of the first essentials of increasing business vitality. Ways of  getting customers to spend a little more than they intended once inside also featuring in the presentation.

The Shop Doctor will be carrying out a similar programme in Knutsford on the 29th and 30th November.



Whilst Mary Portas is commissioned by No.10 to ponder over what it is that makes our Towns vibrant, economically active and productive trading centres some of us are out their actually helping to address the issues that will undoubtedly surface in Mary’s report.

It did not seem that long ago that there were complaints about the number of Estate Agents entering the High Street, now we are seeing planners allowing change of use from retail to the professional services sector providing an increasing level of High Street presence for Accountants, Solicitors, Financial Advisors etc. Many do not fit well in a retail environment and can dramatically alter the perception of what a town has to offer.

Many of the more locally based Charity Shops within the 9,000 estimated to be operating nationally are now feeling the squeeze as the slick national brands divert opportunity away from the smaller operators.  Now there is not is there just competition for business but  competition for donated stock as well.

Having advised many hundreds of retail/high street businesses, and visited both vibrant and far less than vibrant towns across the Country in the course of my work I have developed an understanding of what makes some towns work more effectively than others, what makes  some of our High Streets full of life and , unfortunately, what can lead to their demise.

I will be presenting the first of my overviews of what makes a town vibrant at the Cheshire East Sustainable Towns Forum  on 1st November and am in the process of writing an article for a national trade magazine on the same issue.

Cheshire East Sustainable Towns Forum Flyer



The Shop Doctor has been active again this week working with Cheshire East Council delivering his bespoke retail business support to independent retailers in Wilmslow, Knutsford, Disley, Nantwich, Handforth,  Sandbach, Middlewich and Crewe.

At an evening workshop on Tuesday 27th September retailers from Wilmslow, Handforth, Disley and Knutsford participated in an enjoyable and informative evening workshop focusing on how retailers can attract more customers by making the best of the visual impact of their business.

On Wednesday 28th the Shop Doctor participated in the East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce Open Day by delivering two workshops, one in the afternoon (aimed at professional service providers operating on our High Streets) and the second identifying how retailers can maximise unit sales by applying simple but effective  layout and merchandising techniques.

On Thursday the day was spent visiting  6 retailers in Nantwich and 1 in Crewe and on Friday 7 retailers across Middlewich, Sandbach and Nantwich will be receiving a visit.

The ever increasing presence of professional services providers on our high streets can materially affect the visual ambiance of the trading environment in which they operate.

When contemplating establishing such a business on the high street care needs to be taken to ensure that the visual impact created by the business compliments the trading environment rather than conflicting with it.

Existing providers could often do with taking a regular look outside as first impressions really do play an important role in attracting or detracting customer or clients interest and all too often the impact is less than effective.

Whether a solicitor or accountant, doctor or dentist making sure that those important first impressions impact favourably on your clients can materially affect the onward vibrancy of your business.

Let’s Talk Shop can help you make the right decisions, from the name on the fascia to the colour and presentaion of the ‘shopfront’ , the effectiveness of window displays to getting clients through the door and, once they are in, making sure they feel comfortable.