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Business Management

Get Rid of the Black Holes in Your Parts Department

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For anyone who has even a rudimentary understanding of space science, it’s known that a black hole has such intense gravity, that nothing can escape.

This thought came to me when I was visiting a local shop. Behind the parts counter were a couple of those stools suppliers send out that have various logos on them. In this shop, there are two parts people, both of which were so attached to these seats that they seldom left.

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This shop has two sections; one for parts and bolt-on accessories, and one section for clothing, boots and helmets, etc. There were several employees working the clothing section where there were no stools, and were always on the move; only returning to the desk to ring something in or look something up on the computer. This made the hard parts section into more of a self-serve area.

In my store we’ve never had stools anywhere in P&A. I’ve always found them in the way. At the shop I was visiting, I saw that by having them behind the counter they were just like those black holes, with gravity so great that the parts people would almost never leave them.

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I watched as customers wandered around the parts department looking at merchandise, but the parts people would not acknowledge them unless the customer fell close enough to their gravity to be affected.

In my store we’ve never had stools anywhere in P&A. I’ve always found them in the way. At the shop I was visiting, I saw that by having them behind the counter they were just like those black holes, with gravity so great that the parts people would almost never leave them.

Now, I realize that sometimes your feet get tired from standing. That’s why we have anti-fatigue mats behind the counters. And let’s face it; many other professions stand all day as well. To me, it’s all about sales, and keeping stools behind the counter means that many of the employees will take the path of least resistance, and remain on those stools as much as possible.

I also have always hated having stools in front of the parts counter. This would be somewhere that the customer can perch while a parts person looks up the correct part numbers. Now, why wouldn’t I want the customer comfortable while he’s in my store? Because I want him or her wandering around looking at my merchandise, and maybe picking up a few impulse items. If they’re sitting, that opportunity will evaporate.

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There are places where seats are appropriate, however. This same store has these very tall counters for the unit salespeople to sit behind. On stools. Barstools. The clients are also expected to sit on barstools. I don’t know about you, but barstools belong in bars, where the goal is to cram as many people into as small a space as possible.

In a unit retail environment, I find that they create tension in the client, as they will tend to sit in a forward leaning position, and may never relax. I want my clients to have a nice cushy arm chair, where they can sit back and relax. I find that the more I can get the client relaxed, the bigger my gross profits are.

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So, to sum it all up; the unit sales area should have comfortable seats, but get rid of all the stools in your P&A section. The only place where there should be seats is the boot section, for people to sit while trying on footwear, and behind the reception or cashier desk. Employees should be on their feet, ready to go – not stuck in a black hole.

Some say his tears are adhesive and that he’s scared of bells. All we know is he keeps his identity hidden for various reasons. Send us an email if you have a topic you’d like him to cover at: [email protected].

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