Opening and running a store can be a nerve-wracking experience. All your wares are on display, and even small changes to the atmosphere can affect whether customers buy from you or not. It is imperative, therefore, to get in their heads and understand what is going through their minds as they browse your goods. Stores that do this put themselves at a distinct competitive advantage.
So what is the first thing customers notice about your store as they walk through the door?
The Unique Vibe
Put simply, they want a unique vibe. They want a shop that feels as if it is entirely different from anywhere else in the mall. They don’t want a cookie-cutter experience. Novelty is incredibly important to them.
Remember, the majority of people who enter your store aren’t cool, calculating people looking for the optimal solutions for their problems. Instead, they want you to whisk them off on a magical journey where they can forget the stresses and strains of their regular lives.
The experience of being in-store, therefore, is arguably more important than the utility. You need to provide them with an environment that oozes style and doesn’t compromise when it comes to presentation. It needs to be engaging, uplifting, and different from everyone else.
Of course, the vibe isn’t the only thing that customers notice about your store. As they approach, for instance, they’ll make judgments about you based on how your signage and window dressing appear. They may even look at the building itself as a way to evaluate quality. If your roof is falling to bits, you’ll need a roofer to sort it out. Otherwise, you run the risk of putting off customers and having them go elsewhere.
Customer Service Becomes More Important
Once customers finally get inside your store, they eventually become accustomed to the unique vibe. At that point, they begin looking for more ways you can meet their needs. Thus, you’ll want to offer excellent customer service.
When it comes to assisting, you don’t want to smother customers. Instead, just say hello and then offer them something. Every member of staff should know that the aim is NOT to go for the hard sell. Instead, it is to look after the customer, so they’re encouraged to come back and buy more.
Online Integration Is Now Expected By Many Shoppers
Most people who come into your store also shop online. It is imperative, therefore, that you provide online integration. Customers should be able to scan items in-store and then see them online on the app. They should also be able to place orders on your app and then collect them in-store without having to wait in lines.
Gap was the first clothing store to trial online integration on its customers. Since then, many other retailers have followed suit, offering a high level of continuity between their offline and online experiences.
In summary, therefore, first impressions count. You want to make sure that the things your customers notice about your store are more likely to make them want to buy.