“Good design is good business” – Thomas J. Watson (former Chairman & CEO of IBM)
Whether you own a restaurant, a boutique, a second-hand shop, a retail store, hotel, bed-and-breakfast, or any commercial space where customers visit … the way you showcase your product or service in and outside of your brick-and-mortar establishment can greatly affect your success.
Great Design Impacts your Profit Margin
Your store could offer the best products available at unbeatable prices, or the best quality food and the freshest ingredients, but you won’t make a single sale unless you get people in the door. And once inside, are you creating an atmosphere where your customer feels welcome and relaxed? If not, they will leave frustrated and won’t return.
Several studies have shown that interior and exterior design can affect your sales, as well as your price point. This is why a store’s design and atmosphere is important to the success of a business. In order to survive in a world of large chain retailers and franchises, your business must be visually appealing from the inside as well as the outside.
Is your Storefront Inviting?
This means an attractive storefront and signage. The exterior of your business is what potential customers will see first. The entrance reflects the personality of your store and must entice the passers-by to enter. If your signage is dated, your building is run-down with peeling paint, scuffed doors, stained siding and/or dirty storefront windows, what impression are you making? You might be giving the impression that your business is outdated and in turn, you don’t really care about the quality of your products/service.
- To illustrate: Would you get your hair cut at a salon which had a sign that looked as though it was made in 1972? Would you expect to receive a modern hairstyle? Probably not.
- Create a Storefront that Invites rather than Repels. Take an honest hard look at your storefront. Is it clean, modern and inviting? Make sure all exterior wordage and signage is easy to read and reflects your branding. Windows should be clean at all times, and your window displays should be creative and attractive but not too cluttered. Give the window-shoppers an opportunity to take a peek inside through the windows and hopefully give them a reason to step inside.
- Simple aesthetic improvements can make a big impression. Replace burned out bulbs immediately, power wash the exterior facing, paint the molding, trim, door when it needs it, add some landscaping or put out some flowers/small trees in pots. Also, its a good idea, to make sure your store is well-lit at night. With a few small priced improvements, your storefront makeover may be all that is needed to boost sales.
Interior Design cannot be Overlooked.
Does your business offer a warm and friendly atmosphere? If not, why not?
If you make your customers feel at ease, they will linger longer. How many times have you left a store because it was too bright, the layout was confusing & disorganized or the music too loud?
“Customers are intuitive. After they’ve crossed the threshold of your store, it only takes a few moments for them to know if they’re in for an outstanding (or below average) shopping experience — and it all begins with layout,” offers one retail marketing company.
- Lights, Color, Music: The use of warm colors, comfortable lighting and soothing music can bring great results and improve the stress level of the shopper. Stark white walls and fluorescent lighting gives a sterile and inhospitable feel.
- Don’t frustrate your customers. Organize your store in a logical and uncluttered way so customers can find what they’re looking for easily. Purchase professional, attractive displays that showcase your inventory. Clearly identify the sections of your store with readable, attractive signage so customers don’t walk out frustrated or annoyed that they can’t quickly find what they’re looking for.
- Common Sense tips: Maintain the interior with the high standards that your customers expect. Cleanliness is of utmost importance so make sure the floors, counter tops, display cases, seating, tables and bathrooms are always clean. Caulk and paint damaged walls or ceilings, maintain the HVAC system so customers are comfortable regardless of the temperature outside, use fans to keep the air well-circulated and fresh, and rectify any moldy, musty or otherwise offensive odors.
- Still need help? Hire a professional! There are several interior design firms in our area that can help you reconstruct, remodel, brand and accessorize your retail or restaurant space.
Putting some money, time and elbow grease into your business’ space will pay off by increasing profits, adding new customers and contributing to your local neighborhood’s beautification.
*For more great examples of Interior, exteriors of retail shops and restaurants, as well as exemplary downtown main street renovations, check out my Pinterest board.
My next blog post will continue this conversation on how great design of your virtual store and website can also make a huge impact on your customers’ perspective of your brand.