Just because you have an impressive range of products doesn’t mean you can sit on your haunches and wait for customers to stroll in to your brick and mortar retail store and part with their money.
Customers want to be positively attracted and enticed. They need to feel welcome when inside the store, not only through friendly and attentive service, but also through the ambience, personality and visual appeal of the establishment.
Here are some key ideas for inviting customers through your doors and keeping them engrossed by your wares long enough to decide to make a purchase.
Take pride in your street-facing display window
Studies show that you have around five seconds to entice someone into your shop. A customer’s first impression is often your window display. Don’t overload your display window with as many products as you can. It will look cluttered. Most people would prefer not to board an overcrowded train and, given the choice, they often won’t. The same applies to your display window. Make it eye-catching, but minimal. Sometimes less is more: invest in some gaze-pulling props to showcase a new seasonal range or a significant new promotion. Your money won’t be wasted — you can subsequently move props in-store for interior displays.
Don’t forget the classic “Three Layer Rule”: use stylish window vinyl graphics for your first layer, behind which is your main event display — for example, voguishly dressed articulated mannequins. Finish off with an enticing background, the third layer. If you’ve got an inviting interior, layer three could simply be a view into your shop.
Guide your customers along a zone-by-zone tour of your offerings
A good rule of thumb is to treat the entrance zone immediately inside your door as your Platinum Zone. This area should feature enticing promotional items or items that are high on your target customers’ wish list. Research from the US shows that 90 per cent of us tend to automatically look to the right when we enter a store. Take advantage of this by ensuring that what the customer sees first is a right-sided “power wall” — a high-impact initial impression vehicle for your offerings.
Well-designed retail display systems like luminous light boxes can be indispensable here. Feature seasonal items, high-demand, or high-profit items here. However, keep drawing your customers in by creating a natural path for them to follow once inside, so that your in-store fixtures subtly form a walkway. A circular path will provide an excellent tour of your merchandise. To draw people’s attention to a particular area, use a strong, well-lit brand focal point such as stylish shoes or women’s wear ranges.
Don’t neglect your point of sale
The point of sale is so much more than just a checkout. Often, a good location is the left-hand wall near the front of your shop, where customers end up after they’ve taken the tour, having been drawn along by stylish focal points like strikingly designed retail display systems. Your point of sale systems need to make it easy and inviting for customers to make their purchase. Offer plenty of room on the countertop to place their bags, and try some retail display systems near the checkout to trigger last-minute impulse purchases.