It's the time of year for articles about spring-cleaning the home. I've always found it helpful to apply the same approach to freshen up a store.
Psychology tells us that people remember their first and last impressions more than what happens to them in the middle. And certainly with stores, I've always found that the entryway disproportionately impacts what customers think of the store, while the checkout experience strongly influences how valued they feel as a customer.
So to get the most bangs for the buck, it’s worth giving these areas particular attention. First, the entryway:
- Is the door welcoming? This always seems to be a magnet for all sorts of notices, so it ends up more of a barrier than an inviting entrance. What can be done to reduce/organize all this, so that customers feel more welcomed?
- Is the foyer uncluttered? Again, this can easily become a jumble of stacks, baskets and signs, which customers have to navigate around before getting on with their shopping. Why not declutter and organize, so that the transition from outside to inside is easy for customers?
- Do sight lines create a good impression from the foyer? Over time, graphics and stacks can end up blocking key sight lines, making the store feel congested and difficult to navigate. Some judicious editing can really open a store up.
Then, the checkouts:
- Are they clean and tidy? So many bits and pieces of communication seem to accumulate at the checkout, as well as signs of wear and tear. A bit of TLC can work wonders.
- Are they organized for the employees? Does every checkout have the necessary tools to do the job, and every tool have a place? An employee having to hunt for something is a customer frustrated.
- Do the employees feel valued? Customers are unlikely to feel valued if employees don't, so I like to pay attention to the employee areas. Are these areas clean and tidy? It's amazing what effect a quick lick of paint can have.
Of course, there are always much bigger issues with the shopping trip that need organizational change or major remodels to address. But in the meantime, a thoughtful spring-clean can improve the experience for customers, and freshen up the store.
What does your store do?