Chances are you have already invested in marketing. A marketing agency created a cohesive, branded image. You discussed fonts and colors and have a unique logo. They even designed packaging and letterheads to ingrain your name into the public mind. The visual merchandising has enticed and engaged your customers. But now that you have the customers standing at your store, what’s next?
Your storefront exterior should be an extension of all the visual merchandising you have already invested in. It should reflect your business while making the customer feel invited. It should be neat, clean and detailed. Do you have a landscaping service or professional window cleaners? Who cleans your lighting, awnings and signage? Think of it this way: your parents wouldn’t let you go trick-or-treating at the house with no lights and overgrown lawn. Would you want to spend your money somewhere that looks the same?
Walk in the shoes of your customer. Go outside and stand with your back to the door and your eyes closed. Now turn around and open them. What do you see? Is the storefront neat and clean? Is the signage clear? Now go inside. What do you see/think/feel? Walk through every section of your store thinking like your customer. Leave no area unchecked. This includes the bathrooms, seating areas, offices and warehouse – a customer will take a peek anywhere they can get access to.
Now that you’ve got their attention with your branding, you have to make sure that you keep it. Customers typically only take a few seconds to decide whether or not they will shop with you. Make the customer feel at home; it will make them stay longer. Remember that “we eat with our eyes first.”
Consider all five senses when evaluating your showroom.
Sight – Is your lighting too bright? Too dim? Is it clean? If you don’t want to bring in a professional cleaning crew, assign your sales team light maintenance tasks such as dusting displays and checking restrooms. Create a schedule and follow up on it.
Hearing – Soft, mellow music can enhance the atmosphere. A bit of background noise relaxes customers and makes them more willing to engage in open-ended conversations. They don’t worry that they are the center of attention with every ear turned towards them.
Touch – This is an easy one. The reason so many people prefer brick-and-mortar stores over online shopping is because they want to touch and experience what they are buying. Make sure your displays give them the opportunity to do so.
Taste – You may use your demo kitchens for cooking events, but do you use them any other time? Offering a fresh-baked cookie or freshly brewed coffee not only extends hospitality, but also demonstrates luxury features and makes the customer feel at home.
Smell – If you can’t always provide those fresh food items, consider the feelings that those aromas evoke. Citrus scents energize; lavender calms. You can even use seasonal blends to bring out the holiday spirit.
The first showcase displays your customer sees should be simple, bold, uncluttered and clean. The displays should change with each new sale or promotion, typically once every four to six weeks. As the customer moves further into your store, appliance vignettes should highlight the products and features.
Don’t overwhelm the customer. You put a lot of thought and energy into your SKU selection. You know what brands and models sell and what just ties up valuable real estate in the warehouse. The same is true for your showroom. Keep the products in your showroom that you want the customer to buy, not just all the appliances they could buy. A customer that is overwhelmed by too many choices is likely to turn and leave.
It’s important to make all your marketing work together from your visual merchandising to your storefront to your showroom displays. It all matters to the customer and that means it should matter to you.