Those starting a dollar store face many difficult challenges on a daily basis.  One of the biggest is locating just the right dollar-store merchandise to meet the needs and wants of shoppers.  Yet, some owners do not worry about the specific needs and wants of the customer.  They begin to make an assumption they know best.  They lose track of the importance of providing exactly the merchandise customers need.  As a result, their store sales begin to drift.

When starting a dollar store, it is critical to maintain focus on your customers.  While you may have many personal wants and needs and feel they are aligned perfectly to your customers, there is work to do.  Don’t count on luck that items you like will gain popularity with your shoppers and instantly become top sellers.  Don’t suddenly cease reordering dollar store merchandise that has consistently sold in your dollar store.  Mistakes like these will cost you and your business dearly.  

Focus your dollar store merchandise buying on your customers.  Stay close to them.  Ask for their input regarding what you currently offer for sale.  Find out what items they would want to see added to the mix.  Your cashiers are your best data collectors.  Train them to ask shoppers if there are items they were seeking and could not find while in your store.  Set up simple system to allow them to record that information.  Soon, you will see multiple comments regarding the same products.  Those are the ones to add.

Start with a small sample order to verify the real level of demand for that dollar store merchandise in your store.  All it takes is adding a small quantity to your next order.  Place those items on display and watch for the sales results.  Some will not sell well.  Yet others will provide to be a homerun.   
Watch your in-store sales numbers when starting a dollar store.  Customers are sending the strongest message of all when they purchase items.  Watch sales trends for departments in your store.  Look for sales data regarding the best sellers in your store.  Don’t let those hot selling items ever run out of stock.  

When starting a dollar store stay focused on your customers.  Be sure you know their wants and needs.  Always remember to ask for inputs.  Track your sales.  Customers are sending their strongest message regarding the products they want and need whenever they spend their money to make a purchase.  And of course, it is okay to give a product you want a try from time to time.

To your dollar store success!

Find out how you can open your own dollar store business.
Bob Hamilton is an entrepreneur, author, writer, business consultant and trainer.

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