A retail store may offer the best of products at the best bargains, but it is all fruitless if there are no people walking through the door. Ever wonder if your store’s atmosphere could be working against welcoming footfall into your store? To survive in the market, retailers need to make their store visually attractive from the inside and welcoming from the outside.
Work from the outside
It is the first thing the customer sees before entering your store; the storefront. It makes good sense to focus your creative energies on how the signage and storefront look like. The business name should be clear and well defined. Its look should be refreshed and spruced up once in a while; you obviously don’t want your customers to get the feel that your signage was made sometime in the 90s when now it is almost 2010. Store signage should be clear and visible from a distance. Trees around the store should not obscure the view, and therefore should be regularly trimmed. The signage should be well-lit in the evenings and made to look clean and well-looked after. Not only does this give you an edge over opposition, it represents the store’s inclination towards welcoming its customers. Add-ons like store-related kiosks and stalls outside the store also add value to the shopping experience and attract footfall. For example, outside a food outlet ice cream kiosks are a good add-on.
Make the store ambience inviting and comfortable. In most businesses, you want to keep your customers around as long as possible. The longer they linger, the more they will usually spend. In any case, you want the customer to enjoy coming to you. So make the store atmosphere welcoming, attractive and friendly. Store owners should make an attempt to decorate and provide a visually interesting space. Elaborate displays are not the answer to decoration. Appropriate lighting, well painted walls, neatly stacked racks, attractive decor, friendly yet unobtrusive sales people, soothing/peppy music (as the brand demands) are a few things the store owner can look into in the hope of increasing footfalls. Researches have proven that 70 per cent of purchase decisions are in-store decisions, and these are largely influenced by the placement of merchandise, in-store signages, the décor so on and so forth. A retailer should not miss out on such an opportunity just because of not putting time into having a good store layout. The store signage should convey the retailer’s message loud and clear. It should be informative enough for a customer. In-store signages should educate the consumer on what they are looking at and to direct them at what they would want to locate inside a store. In an apparel store a customer is often lost if the in-store signage for a trial room are not clearly located. Signages for ‘large’ ‘medium’ and ‘small’ sizes should be placed next to the merchandise to facilitate the customer’s search.
The location is also important for shopper traffic in a store. Depending upon the retailer’s requirements he can have a store at high-street or at a mall. Having a store at a good location where foot traffic can flow into the store can be just the thing that can improve sales. Also ensure that the surroundings of the store area are welcoming. Littered area in front of the store gives a bad impression. Instead of expecting customers to walk in, the retailer should go where they are; at local events, near schools and malls. The business owners should go and invite people, either for sales or promotional events. This drives clients into your store and deepens the physical footprint of your retail store.
There is never a second chance to make a first impression. Taking a cue from this, store owners should realise that neglecting store environment, inside or outside can have serious implications on the sales of the store. It does not take a genius to figure out that an emphasis on store ambience, design and feel will ultimately influence the purchase decision of the customer.