Running a retail chain has always meant dealing with a never-ending churn of retail store openings and closings that keep operations, real estate and IT staff busy. Permanently shutting down underperforming retail locations can be almost as involved a process as launching one. It is vital to take the proper steps because if the process is not carried out correctly, it can have a negative and lasting effect on both brand image and customer loyalty.

A store closing doesn’t have to be such an intimidating undertaking. With an organized approach and a well-managed IT environment, the closeout process can indeed be a smooth one.

Project Management & Coordination

Successfully executing store closeout activities requires a deliberate and systematic approach. Planning and coordination is key. Depending upon the size of the store, you might consider cross-departmental meetings for planning and executing closeout activities. Detailed daily reports are also advantageous to managing timelines and tracking progression. Before you sell a key piece of equipment or disconnect your utilities, make sure you have a well thought-out plan.

De-Installation and Asset Inventory

Once plan logistics have been finalized, inventory must be taken and either transferred to a new location or discounted to be sold. Any remaining inventory should be scanned out using the IT equipment. This usually happens on the final days prior to turnover to the landlord. Once all inventory has been handled, de-installation may begin. All equipment and other assets need to be scheduled for disconnect and positioned for removal from the present location. In some cities, dependent on local codes, all cabling must be cut out. All assets and equipment should be inventoried with make, model, serial number, and asset tags. Include photographs and a brief description of the condition of each item. If items are leased, provide tracking numbers for return shipment.

Often times, companies have assets they wish to store for future use. In this case, it may be most efficient to hold this inventory in a centralized location. We recommend using a depot service provider that will work with you in coordinating shipping schedules based upon on-site requirements and maintain an active inventory of all your related equipment.

Safe and Secure Disposal of Assets

Store closings present IT teams unique challenges because of the high value placed on assets to be repurposed or securely disposed. Properly disposing of and destroying computers and IT assets poses numerous concerns, such as confidentiality of corporate and client information. All secure data and programs should be properly wiped from equipment following PCI compliant guidelines and hard drive crushing solutions. Data migration also represents an important variable. Businesses need to be mindful of data exposure during this process and ensure that all is protected and the process is tightly managed to reduce risk.

It is also imperative any disposal or recycling of bulk raw materials meets environmental regulations. To maximize the financial value of your retired electronic assets, find out if any equipment can be refurbished. For equipment that does not have any market value, coordinate transfer to a recycling and dismantling facility that adheres to written waste analysis plans and complies with all relevant local, state, and federal environmental laws. Be sure to ask for a disposal waiver and certificate of liability, guaranteeing all equipment parts are recycled to EPA standards.

Closing a retail location is no easy task. From time sensitive logistics to project management, the challenges associated with a store closeout are significant. Outsourcing to a more experienced team enables the retailer to achieve a higher recovery while expending fewer resources. Worldlink can assist you in ensuring that your closeout needs are met, while maintaining efficiency and security. To learn more about our services, explore our blog or follow us on Twitter!