By Matthew Wood
In the digital age of online shopping, it’s extremely important for brick-and-mortar stores to captivate their customers once they enter their domain. With brick-and-mortar shopping accounting for an estimated $2.5 trillion or 87% (compared to online shopping’s 13%), stimulating, attention grabbing interiors and other tactics are needed to satisfy customers—and keep them coming back. Here are three ways to generate sales and ensure that customers return:
Make the right layout: Walk into any large store and see where your eye travels first–followed by your feet, of course. Chances are you will veer to the right. Customers tend to move counterclockwise through a store, which means any display just to the right of the door is premium space. Shoppers will pay attention to displays located here, so make sure the displays are stocked with high-profit items. Another tactic is to place staple items as far away from the front door as possible. Make customers travel throughout the space to find basic items–milk and eggs if it’s a food store, or paper and printer ink if it’s an office store. This way shoppers will see many other items to buy before they spot what they came in to purchase.
Make it easy: Online shopping is effortless, so why can’t an onsite retail environment be just as easy to navigate? Customers can feel overwhelmed when entering a large store or big-box retailer, so help them relax. Remember, they entered a store because they want to physically be there–maybe for the tactile sensation of a product or to interact with sales staff.
Visual merchandising plays a big role in giving customers the information they need to make a purchasing decision and to enhance the décor of store design. Color, signage, and lighting should collaborate to create easy wayfinding to products and produce a pleasant atmosphere.
- Colors can be both bright or light. Bold colors are eye-catching, and a good way to draw customers into a store or a segmented area. Subtle colors placed above or at eye level on a display will allow the product to really pop out, while permitting customers to find items quickly.
- Signage is very important. Its design needs to stay on brand with the retail establishment, as well as attract attention to the kiosk or display of products. Graphics, logos, and type fonts should add attitude to the store’s visual identity. Well-constructed signs can display the information customers need while remaining an extension of the brand in a fun or themed way. Signage should be easily understood with large, bold letters wherever possible.
- Lighting — LED is a popular lighting product for store designs. The correct LED lighting can change the complete look and feel of a display or entire space. LEDs are small and do not produce heat. They can fit into tiny spaces (signs, casework, etc.) and generate different color schemes. Establish one area of a store as dark and mysterious and another area as sunny and bright. Strategic lighting can guide shoppers through a store or highlight a display of goods. The customer experience can be pleasantly altered with creative lighting.
Make a Great Customer Experience: A store is the portal to its brand. Tell a story to customers and personalize it. If your story is sustainability, adventure, or sophisticated elegance, make your visual merchandising convey the message so shoppers think it’s meant specifically for them.
- Surprise them. Add something customers didn’t expect: unique packaging, a loyalty program, a customized note at checkout with their products, etc.
- Repeat the experience. Once you get customers to return, keep up the good work. Make sure customer service is always helpful and reliable. Make the checkout experience quick and easy to navigate, whether it’s via associates or self-checkout. These little things will bring customers back time and again.
- Change it up. The element of surprise is always good when you want to modify old, boring expectations. Add a theme, change the floor layout, etc. Fresh and unique store design can be intriguing, increase sales, and bring customers back for new and exciting experiences.
Matthew Wood is president of Off The Wall Co.