Display Ideas

Coming up with creative product displays can be a difficult task, especially if you don’t have much time to devote to them. In addition, finding new ways to show off the same type of product can end up feeling tedious and mind numbing. So here are a few ideas to help you create interesting displays for very little money.

  • Use easels or photo stands to display paintings and canvases, or any other flat item you want to draw attention to such as greeting cards or books.
  • Place boards between two wooden ladders for a rustic display shelf.
  • Use baskets hung on the wall to hold smaller items such as ornaments, pens, greeting cards, or any small impulse item.
  • Use a dresser to create a tiered look. Paint an old dresser and open a few drawers to add additional display space for items.
  • Painted crates mounted to the wall can also make great shadow boxes for showing off table-top pieces. Use a small battery operated light attached to the top inside of the crate for additional lighting.
  • Hang a chair on the wall for a double display piece! Use the seat as a shelf and hang items from the chair rungs such as florals, scarves, clothing, or ornaments.
  • Artificial pines don’t have to be just for ornaments. Use an artificial pine tree to display items by simply nesting them into the tree. It doesn’t matter the size of the item as long as they all work together to create a cohesive display!

Lastly, don’t forget to do an online search of even more display ideas! Social media sites have tons of great ideas if you look for them.

Joining Forces

If you’re looking for another way to market your business try joining forces with another business nearby your store. By teaming up with other non-competitive businesses in your area you can increase your exposure to potential customers and help the other business gain customers as well.

For example, you can team up with a local florist. Are your customers purchasing a gift for a birthday, valentine’s day, mother’s day, or other special occasion? Collaborate with your local flower shop to offer a discount to your customers and let those customers know that a beautiful flower arrangement would go great with their gift purchase. In turn the flower shop can offer a discount to your store to encourage shoppers that a nice card, small gift, chocolates, or jewelry would go great with their flower order.

Or perhaps there is a local bakery in the area? Birthdays and special occasions are great opportunities to promote your store’s gift giving possibilities. As a bakery customer orders a cake, pastry, or other baked good you can ask the bakery to promote your store reminding the customer that a great gift, or last-minute item can be found at your store just a short distance away. Plus, don’t forget to encourage your shoppers to familiarize themselves with the bakery as well. A small baked treat can be a perfect addition to their perfect gift, or even a great pick-me-up for themselves!

Cross promotions can be relatively easy as well. Something as simple as adding one another’s promotional material in customer’s shopping bags, or hanging signs or posters for each other’s store, or printing small promo’s for each other on receipts can all be great marketing tools.

There are almost endless ways to team up with other businesses in your area and these ideas work especially well with any gift giving holiday, such as Christmas, Valentine’s day, Easter, Mother’s day, or Father’s day and graduations. Teaming up with another business helps increase advertising, plus it allows you to reach a broader customer base for very little cost.

Hacked to Pieces

Companies are doing more business through online means than ever before and with reports coming out about large corporations, banks, and even the IRS getting attacked by cyber hackers you may think there is little concern that your small business would ever become a target. Unfortunately that is untrue. In fact you might be an even bigger target. Small businesses are being attacked more in recent years and there are a number reasons why.

If you have an online store, accept credit cards, have ordered product from a supplier though their online store, or have accessed your business account through your smart phone, tablet, laptop, or home computer, your information could be obtained by an unwanted party. Many online transactions and connections are now utilizing cloud services that may not have strong security in place. This becomes a problem because smaller businesses must use their own resources to protect their sensitive information. Resources that many don’t usually have. Rarely does a small business have dedicated IT professionals to implement and keep up with the latest security measures, and often the business owners don’t know enough to protect themselves from every situation that could arise. Plus, with leaving the responsibilities of online security on the shoulders of business owners, they then need to be diligent enough to keep up with all of the changes in security and that can be a daunting task. On top of all that, many who run their own companies simply haven’t thought about the issue. This can leave a small business more vulnerable to cyber theft than the larger companies and is what attracts online criminals. These hackers are aware that small businesses usually know very little about how to prevent online theft or how vulnerable they really are.

The information hackers will commonly go after are your bank account information, your supplier’s information, and any company accounts you may sell a product to. The reason is that if a small business does become a victim, it has very limited resources to find and go after the criminal, not to mention the time it would take to find the hacker. In addition, unlike personal bank accounts or credit cards, a business account does not carry the same protection if money or personal information is stolen from them. If funds are stolen from your business account the only recourse you usually have is to beg the bank to reimburse lost funds or to sue. However, with taking legal action against a giant banking corporation, the fees involved are usually much more than the business can afford, especially if funds were already stolen from the account.

Another issue to worry about is that, if your business’s account is hacked into, many states require that you report the hacking to your customers and anyone else who may have had their information stolen. This is a big dilemma since many customers may then decide to stop buying from your store. On top of that, you may be fined for any fraud that took place because of a data breach in your system. Then you must work to shore up security which may require additional funds just to be safe again. Being hacked can become an ever-expanding cost on your business and might even force you out of business.

The best way to protect your business from online attacks is to contact computer security consultants to discuss how vulnerable you may be and how to prevent an outside intruder gaining access to your system. You should also make sure you have insurance to cover any losses or fines that may occur through an online attack, and don’t forget to have adequate antivirus and anti-malware software installed on all devices that may regularly connect to your systems. Also, discuss with any employees the possible ways a hacker can get into your computer systems, it can be through email, any outside device that can log onto your network like a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop, or from an employee accessing the business accounts from their home.

If you’d like to read further into the dangers of cyber crime on your business, an article from Yahoo Small Business Advisor discusses the ways hackers can get your information, PC World explains how easy it is to hack into your system, and QuickBooks gives in-depth ways to protect yourself from attack.