value of an attractive storefront
the biggest decision has been made. The customer was listening to
the radio this morning and has decided to buy the product mentioned.
The question to be decided today is which store will the customer
may be surprised to know the customer places a high value on his initial perception of your business. In the book, "Predatory
Marketing," C. Britt Breemer states that 53% of shoppers base
their initial perception of your store and their decision to buy
on the appearance of the store exterior.
efforts today are to have your store make the impression on the
customer so they will select yours, as well as create an image that
will invite the customer to return time and again.
will fall into one of three categories: free-standing business,
strip store, and mall location. Each of these formats has its own
advantages and disadvantages. For example, the store in a mall location
has the advantage of customers coming to the mall to shop other
businesses and benefiting from the additional walk-by traffic. However,
these businesses traditionally face the competition of other stores
located in the same mall. Bright lights and attractive front entrance
displays are key items for this business.
free-standing business may not face the close-by competition but
must create a draw to bring the customer to their location. It must
utilize its storefront exterior, roadside signage, and parking lot
to their full potential.
the strip store faces a blend of both situations, being able to
draw from neighboring stores, but still needing the attractive exterior
to draw customers from the adjoining street or highway.
look at maximizing the opportunity as the customer approaches the
strip or stand-alone store. If the customer is driving by at night,
the exterior signage should have all bulbs or neon fully functional
to act as a magnet. Remember in most shopping centers and downtowns,
the parking area fixtures provide only a minimum of light. Your
store must pull the customer into it.
we approach the storefront, the next draw should be the front display
windows. They should be a "teaser" to show people some
of what you sell, yet elicit enough curiosity so the customer will
want to walk in and shop further.
window should not be packed with merchandise that will invite the
customer to spend excessive amounts of time outside the store. The
more time customers spend looking in the windows, the more likely
they will decide not to enter the store as windows have told them
enough about what you are selling.
current trend in window designs is see-through window displays.
For many years, windows had a solid backdrop, which did not allow
the customer to see inside the store. Today, stores are doing a
better job of lighting the inside of their stores, and
by allowing the light to shine out through your windows, the customer
is attracted to come and see what is there.
displays that stop at the 5 or 6-foot level or backdrops that are
made of latticework will provide the necessary depth to your display.
In building displays, each should stand out and demonstrate your
that we are at the entrance of the business, we can include the
mall stores in our discussion. Again, lighting plays a crucial part
in getting the customer to come in. If you are a strip or mall store,
consider using a photographer's light meter to measure the amount
of light coming from your storefront. How much light is enough?
More than the other stores, so you are the most powerful draw.
into the store, in addition to having sufficient lighting throughout
the sales floor, make sure the upper walls and corners of your business
are very well lit. These are the usual downfall areas of stores,
and you want to take advantage of every situation possible.
type of store should consider creating a front "lobby"
area. This area should be free of displays, allowing the customer
the chance to step in and "absorb" the atmosphere of your
business. Too often, the front of stores is a clutter of displays
with little room for customers to pass one another. At the edge
of the lobby area, you can begin to invite customers to further
investigate your store with displays.
as a last point, walk through your store from the back to the front.
Is the store just as appealing as when you walked in the front door?
Or are you seeing just the backside of every display and counter.
This is the last impression you will make on customers; make sure
it is just as pleasant as when they walked in.
have we done with the first impression? I think 53% liked what they
saw and will be back again.