As a business owner, one of your main focuses is attracting customers to your business. When you are so deep in the process, it can be easy to miss basic and cost-effective options that are right in front of you. Our ability as humans to visually perceive our surroundings may not be the first thing you think of, but it can be one of the most important keys to attracting customers.
Visual perception creates more than just first impressions—it can stop customers that may have just walked by, keep customers coming back, and trigger customers to share what they have found at your business with their friends and family. This is why so many associations, organizations, and business publications have programs for design awards. When we are working with inanimate items, such as home goods, clothing, food, or building entrances, the items need to speak for themselves through their design. Consider the following:
Does the exterior of your business let customers know what they can expect on the inside? And is it appealing to your customer demographic? For hardware and home supply stores, the quality of exterior building finish is important, as well as the sidewalk product setup. While it is challenging to stay on top of cleaning those outdoor products, a dirty grill or lawnmower could cost you a sale or two. Making it a regular responsibility of an employee can help.
Lighting is immensely important to highlight colors and invite customers into your space. While natural lighting is ideal for true color perception, it is not always easy to get in the center of your store. Mirrors and lighter wall colors can help—so can indirect and layered lighting. Whatever you do, make sure your business’s lighting is an extension of the message you want customers to receive.
Product presentation is paramount. Depending on your business, you may have little control over the look of the products you sell, but you do control how and where they are presented. Making an employee who is interested in product placement and store planning responsible for ensuring things are in order can be great for your retail business. If you are working with food, consider checking out the latest in food science, because people like Charles Spence are saying color affects taste.
Most importantly, ensure your entire store or restaurant is a cohesive operation. With customers as focused as they are on experience, they will notice if it is off. Make sure you consider this as you change your displays, as that is a common time for one section to become disjointed from the whole.