Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Shopping Experience, Part 1

Today will be the start of a new series called The Shopping Experience. In this series, I want to discuss various topics about a shopping experience from a customers point of view and relate that to what the business can do to make that experience more positive and more productive.

First and most up front is the storefront. Customers will respond favorably to an attractive, clean storefront that is in effect inviting the customer to come in and see more. If you are in a downtown area, go across the street and look at your building. How inviting is it? I know one store where the paint is peeling off the front wall in big chunks, but it is above the awning so they must think people can't see it, but it glares at me. And I wonder, what are they thinking about that? Do they notice? Do they care? Don't they know it makes a difference? Another thing is the concrete or pavement out in front of your store. There is no reason why it cannot be clean even if it does belong to the city.

What about your windows and the displays in them. It would be best if there were attractive displays that would encourage people to come inside and see more. They should also be updated often so that regulars that go by will see a change. I would say at least once a week it should change, maybe even twice a week. Merchandising is great fun when you get into it and your displays are all merchandising. Also, is the glass clean?

Color. Are the colors inviting? How do the colors blend with the environment? With other buildings around my store? Is there more that I can do with color that will make a difference in the way my store looks and appeals to my customers?

I see some stores with weeds growing out front, trash in the parking lot. These are all turn offs for customers. I see that and have zero desire to go inside. I'm not alone in this thinking. Clean up the outside of your store and you will see a difference. People will be more likely to stop in and your sales will rise. It really does matter.

Signage. How's your sign(s)? Are they in good repair, professionally done and well placed? As you look at your store critically, notice anything that is not inviting and deal with it now. Think like a customer and ask yourself, would I go into that store?

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