Created on: 26th November 2018
We all know the retail environment is tough at the moment so retailers are doing everything they can to make the customer experience a positive one.
Nowadays, not only do you have to compete with thousands of other retail stores to attract customers into your space (without even mentioning online competition), but you then need to entice them enough to make them want to make a purchase from you, there and then.
Of course, your product is key, however, there are certain retail fit out factors that can also influence the buying-making decisions of customers in your store.
Here are some tips to help make your retail space as buyer-friendly as possible.
Your retail entrance from a customer perspective
First impressions count, so the entrance area of your retail space is very important. In addition to an interestingly-designed window front, a well-designed entrance area will entice customers in through the doors.
Your entrance area should be clean, fresh and welcoming, and should create an open space that gives customers room to fully absorb your shop. Cramped spaces that force people to brush past other customers or up against stock are unappealing and are likely to turn customers away rather than draw them in.
Ideally, customers will be able to get a good view of your shop and your product offering as soon as they enter the door. This way, they should be able to see a good glimpse of what you stock, so they can instinctively move towards objects they like.
A logical retail fit out
People are generally time-poor, therefore you want to help them find what they are looking for, try it, and pay for it, as quickly as possible. Display products sensibly, and don’t have bits of stock everywhere that don’t fit in with one another.
If you have a clothing store, for example, place your eveningwear items in one area, your sleepwear in another and your casual basics in another. The idea is to make it obvious to the customer where things are so they can easily find things of interest. You want to create a natural flow that leads customers into and through your shop.
Add-on sales are also important to consider, to ensure that you have like-minded items or accessories near to the relevant products so that people can easily see them, reach for them, and add them to their baskets.
Finally, it is important that the payment area of your store is easy to find, and laid out in a way that helps customer queue in an orderly fashion, without encroaching on the space of other shoppers. The payment desk should be large enough to cope with the amount of traffic expected, and a good height for people to be able to interact with the sales staff.
If you have a really exciting new product or an item that has already proven very popular, then make an interesting display of it at the front of your store. Perhaps a celebrity has endorsed this product, or it has been featured in a glossy magazine? If so, make this clear as it will entice people to investigate further.
Although it is important to highlight popular products, on the other hand, many large displays can clutter a retail space and make it hard for a customer to focus. Less is definitely more.
Displaying your key new products in interesting ways is a great way to keep your shop fresh and to attract customers.
What is your customer's journey?
The final piece of advice is to observe the journey of current customers entering your retail store, to see how their journey entails. Of course, it is important to be discreet and not seem as though you are following people, however, perhaps choose a quieter period of the day, and make time to notice people and how they interact with your store.
How do they move about your shop? Do they ask for help to find things? What are they most interested in or attracted to? Are several people following a similar shopping pattern around your store? Are people with prams not coming in? If not, why?
The answers to all of these questions may help you make vital changes to improve the way your retail space works. Observing, changing and adapting are key to creating a perfect retail space that your customers love.
Use mystery retail shoppers
Using a mystery shopper to test the shopping experience through your store is a popular choice for many retailers. Employ a handful of people to enter your store as if they were a real customer, and get them for in-depth feedback upon their return. What was the experience like? What did they notice? Did anything block their entrance? Did it smell fresh and look clean? What were they drawn to instore? Were they able to try on and pay easily?
Get trusted friends to do the same. What did they like? What didn’t they like? Ask them to describe the layout of your shop to you. You may be surprised by the findings of the mystery shopping results, and use this to make improvements to your shopping experience.
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