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While many retailers have large storefronts with sprawling showrooms, record stores tend to be a little more...well, "cozy"! Because space is such a commodity in record shops, managers have to figure out innovative ways to maximize the sales area. Organization is one of the most important aspects of a store's visual merchandising strategy, which is why record store shelving and bins are so practical. Unlike other audio platforms, like tape cassettes and compact discs, vinyl records are quite a bit larger and require more room to display. The larger dimensions of LPs often set the tone for how the retail space is organized. Custom-sized shelves and record store racks that perfectly fit the covers and sleeves are great, but they can be expensive--especially when they have to be custom built. They can also be very heavy in many cases and they may work for 33s, but not 7-inch or 10-inch records. Record shops often use wire racks as an alternative to bulky, wooden shelving because they are lightweight and are much easier to move around. Another very common solution for displaying albums in a record store is a crate. The advantage of a record crate is that it allows the LP to stand upright (Pro Tip: Laying records flat on top of each causes warping and will degrade the value of the record over time.) Using several crates will allow you to accommodate a full stack of records and easily categorize the music by artist, genre, or RPM (e.g. 33, 45, etc.).
Speaking of value, record shops tend to organize their albums by grading them. Depending on the store, there are generally between three and four grades of vinyl. When rating albums, retailers and resellers consider two things: condition and rarity. Condition is obvious and refers to the wear an LP has sustained. While some records are complete with plastic sleeves and show almost no wear whatsoever, most fall in the good to fair range and have worn edges or other cosmetic damage. LPs of lower quality, usually deemed "acceptable", may have playability issues due to surface scratches that affect the grooves in the vinyl. How rare a release is also dictates its value. Widely distributed albums, like Peter Frampton's "Frampton Comes Alive" for example, are a dime a dozen...literally. While the record was widely acclaimed, there are so many copies that the value of a normal pressing is quite low. Collectible or limited edition releases, on the other hand, can have astronomical valuations and are some of the most highly sought after albums. No matter how you break up your inventory, you'll want to consider some protective measures for your most expensive releases and re-issues. Wall mounting shelves and racks allow shop managers to place high dollar albums out of reach of customers, which provides an inexpensive method for theft prevention. To fully protect those extremely rare LPs though, you may want to consider a locking glass display case. The showcase requires a key for access, so interested customers are always supervised when handling these pricey records. Shop standalone counter designs (ideal for doubling as a cash register stand), wall mounted cabinets, or smaller countertop designs.
The right merchandising fixtures and shelves are very important for sales, but record store signs should not be overlooked. Without the proper signage, how will anyone find the albums they want or even know that your shop is open? Sidewalk signs provide one of the best methods for advertising to passing motorists and pedestrians. Shop owners can choose from outdoor-rated models, units with changeable letters, write-on boards, and even fillable bases. There are tons of different options, and they're all perfect for driving more foot traffic into your record store. Outdoor banners both with and without stands are available too. Imagine the impact of a custom printed banner that features your business' brand. Prospective buyers are certain to take note of the bright, vibrant messages and the professional look they create. This vote of confidence will pay off tenfold once the customers enter your store. Inside the store, you will want to make sure you have the right labels and signs. Record store price tags come in all kinds of designs and are generally sold in bulk, so batch purchases are simple and affordable.
There are tons of other universal shop fixtures that will work for any retail record shop. If you are cross-promoting other businesses and services, consider using a business card holder on your counter or wall. Poster frames are great for showcasing new releases and special promotions. We even sell poster display racks that show a variety of posters customers can actually purchase, which is ideal for these types of music shops. Even something as simple as an entry mat or janitorial cart can be purchased from Displays2go, so start shopping today!
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