Have you ever thought about how big box stores manage to get you to buy so much more than the few items you went in to purchase? They’ve spent a ton of time and money researching the human psyche to see exactly how people think, what motivates them to buy, and how their mind processes product information when presented in various formats. You may not have the budget for this level of market analysis but you can certainly take advantage of some of the data they’ve already mined. You’ve spent the money on a nice sign to get your customer’s attention, maybe you’ve put up a smaller sidewalk sign that has them pausing, but what do you do next?
First impressions are all that matter! The first impression a customer gets about your store will determine exactly how much time and money they’ll spend there. It’s important to remember that the first impression actually begins before they ever step foot inside. The window display can make or break you. It’s critical that you give tremendous consideration to what your window display will look like. Many small business owners feel like this is their chance to showcase all they have to offer, and hope that one of the many things in the window will grab the buyer’s attention and get them to come inside for a closer look. It turns out the opposite is true. Simple is better. Take high end jewelry stores for example, when you walk past their windows you see one or two items, which indicates that they are luxurious and special. Too much clutter will detract from your goal and will just run together in your customer’s mind. Keep your layout focused by using a single color scheme and then, limit the amount of product you put on display. For many companies this is a good opportunity to use window graphics as well. If you have too much window area on the front of your store, use graphics to grab attention from the street but then to reduce the amount of window displays you need as well.
Once you get them inside you have another opportunity to make an initial impression. Many customers will decide within the first 15 feet of your store whether they’re going to buy anything or not. This space is a good place for a well done product display. Most people are perusing the entire store with their eyes at this point so they’re actually less likely to buy anything you put here. You just want this space to set the tone for your business. Put something here that’s low, below eye level, to allow them to see more of your store in a glance, make sure the lighting and aroma of this area is extremely pleasant and inviting, and put items here that are more expensive. This space lets shoppers know if your store is more for bargain shoppers or more luxury shoppers. It’s unlikely that every customer is going to buy the most expensive item you sell, but you can use it to send the subliminal message that you offer high end products.
Make good use of the space to the right of your entrance. As customers look around your store they will typically look from left to right, from there most customers walk through the store starting to the right and proceeding counterclockwise. This means that the display you put up first on the right side of your store will get the most views. It should be something eye catching, moderately priced, and one of your more popular items. In many cases, this is also a great spot for seasonal items or placing signage with information on current specials or upcoming events.
The relationship between the buying process of customers, well placed signage, and proper store layout can come together to create a powerful experience. If done properly you really can influence customers to spend more time looking at all the products you have to offer.