We all know we should keep our stores clean, but it takes time and effort. How useful is it to spend man-hours on cleaning when there is so much stocking to be done and so many customers who need help? Is it that important? Find out just how much revenue you could be losing by not being vigilant with cleanliness.

The “Gross” Factor

The most obvious way dust and dirt hurt your store sales is that it is not pleasant to be around. Customers will want to spend less time in a store that is dirty than one that is sparkling clean. Instead of wandering the aisles finding things they didn’t know they needed, your customers are probably grabbing the essentials and getting out. If your store sells food, the “gross factor” is magnified because customers can’t help but wonder if the food is kept any cleaner than the rest of the shelves. In addition to having your clerks keep an eye out for dust, it is advisable to deep-clean the shelves any time there is a reset or remodel. Resets are a time when products are moved off of the shelves, so it is a perfect time to scrub any hard-to-reach places and get them back to a sparkling clean. Make sure anyone who setting the section has cleaner and a cloth to wipe up any accumulated debris.

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Broken Displays = Lost Sales

Damaged fixtures are not displaying your products correctly, and may reduce the likelihood that customers will buy them. In some cases, the broken fixture can trap product where customers can’t reach it. Splattered or vandalized signage sends the wrong message. Make sure to have vendor contacts readily available in case one of their fixtures breaks, so they can fix it quickly. Anyone who stocks shelves or does a reset can become an asset with reporting and replacing fixtures. Look for reset teams who will carry forward extra fixtures, so they can replace broken ones on the spot.

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Potential Trip Hazards

Without a good eye towards cleaning, your store can become a trip hazard quickly. Customer spills, leaky refrigeration units, and bathroom backups can all cause very costly slip and falls. EHS Today reports that an average slip and fall costs about $20,000. Because these types of accidents can happen in an instant, you want all of your vendors and third-party teams to be as diligent about reporting and cleaning up spills and other trip hazards as your employees. Making sure everyone who comes to your store to work is operating in a clean and efficient manner can save you thousands of dollars.

Dusty Products Look Like Unpopular Products

Nothing says “nobody is buying this” like a thick layer of dust on a product. It can be especially unfair if your store is going through a remodel or adding a fixture that makes dust accumulate overnight. One easy way to combat the dust is to equip your associates with feather dusters so they can easily sweep the dust away while stocking the shelves. Retractable feather dusters are relatively inexpensive, durable, and easy to use. It’s worth the effort to have enough for every associate to have one in their back pocket as a constant reminder to clean.

Damaged Product Begets More Damaged Product

Inevitably, a bottle will break, or a box will get torn open or a package will fail. If taken care of quickly, only the one package is affected. Unfortunately, if that product is left on the shelf, the leak can spread to multiple products and ruin a whole shelf. If the product is drain cleaner, it might well eat through the shelf itself! The more corrosive a product, the more likely it is to have an expiration date. One helpful way to find and clean up damaged product is to be vigilant about rotating dated product. If your clerks are putting the newest product on the back of the shelf, they are having to touch the rest of the product and can see problems before they get worse. Cough syrup is especially prone to leaking and can create crystals that prevent pushers from working correctly. Product in pushers that is leaking is harder to detect because the pushers create a barrier that can partially contain a leak to its row, so it is especially important to rotate them as new product comes in.

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Dirty Stores Invite More Theft

You may have heard of Broken Windows Theory. The theory states that maintaining and monitoring urban environments to prevent small crimes such as vandalism and toll-jumping helps to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, which in turn prevents more serious crimes from happening. Essentially, if your store is dirty and run-down, people will naturally assume that no one cares about it. If no one cares about the store, who would mind if someone walked away with some merchandise? It might sound overly simplistic, but leaving your store unkempt sends a clear signal. Clean, organized stores send the signal that they are well taken care of. With all the neat rows and clean shelves, it is much more glaring if something is out of place. A thief might think twice before attempting to take something from a store that is evidently so well looked-after. While a clean store won’t deter all theft, it will make a noticeable difference in shrink.

Hopefully, these six suggestions will help you make cleanliness a priority without spending too much time away from stocking shelves and helping customers. Remember to involve vendors and third-party crews in keeping your store sparkling!