Starting your own business and growing your brand is one of the major American prospects. With the resources and capabilities of U.S. commerce, especially with the rise of technology and increased demand following the financial crash, people have more opportunities than ever before to begin building their dream of owning their own store.
On the surface, selling retail seems like a fun adventure with an easy business plan – you set up products within your store location, and customers will come flooding in the doors waiting to pick your shelves apart. Unfortunately, the retail business, regardless of your product(s), is a very competitive business. Like restaurants, most retail stores fail within the first three years of business due to low-traffic and lack of cash flow. Therefore, in order to succeed in a competitive industry, you need to possess a competitive advantage.
Luckily, there are hundreds of low-cost, and even no-cost, strategies you can implement to maximize sales and foot traffic within your business, regardless of your product(s). People often shop in a compulsive manner that allows marketing through behavioral economics possible. Below are five of the best strategies for designing your retail store for maximum sales creation.
The Five Things Your Store Must Have
‘Wow’ the Transition Zone – When customers first walk into your store, they are still adjusting to the environment, especially first-time buyers. Most of the time, they are thinking about simple things like lighting, product costs, cleanliness, and color. This is the space industry professionals call “the transition zone” where customers are transitioning from the external environment into your experience. This is where you’ll want to “wow” them with a nice display and open space, locating lighting fixtures towards a special centerpiece with premiere or sale items. Do not bombard customers with signage at the entrance, as studies show that customers first entering a store are click here processing too much information to comprehend relevant information fully from signs or stands. Instead of bombarding customers with signs when they walk in, use signs and product placement outside of the store in order to attract customers into the experience – then welcome them with open spaces and proper lighting, with clear views of various departments and cashiers.
Most People are Right-Handed – Although I am a lefty and do everything important on the left side of my body, I still find myself moving to the right of stores upon entrance. Studies have shown that more than 90% of customers move right to left when discussing “flow” of a store. Particularly in the United States, where people drive on the right side of the road, the kinetic link between driving traffic and foot-traffic is often interchangeable. Therefore, plan your store accordingly, with high-impact first impressions on the right side of your store. Position your cashiers on the left of the store, allowing customers to flow fully through the merchandise system prior to checking out. In addition, signage and premiere product placement, preferably at eye-level, within this area known as the ‘power wall’, will benefit tremendously from customer viewership and interest.
Always Have a Path – Most successful stores with high sales volume follow a few simple rules – never smother and always have a path. People want to be told where to go without being told where to go. Essentially this means you must allow the experience to guide customers throughout the store. Disney theme parks are prime examples of strategic planning. In addition, the Ikea furniture store is one of the best examples of “extreme” path walking. Customers must walk-through the different departments, essentially window shopping through the store for ideas and inspiration, prior to reaching the final checkout area. Although you may want to tone down the walking path a little, as many customers enjoy walking various paths to reach a particular destination, I would implement a system that allows for customer guidance through the store.
Important in the Middle – In terms of product placement, the most successful sales come from brand acknowledgment. Whether you are attempting to maximize the sale of a particular product, or you are a company looking to place your product in various stores across America, your first thought should be exposure. In fact, the food and beverage industry fights diligently for product place every week, usually resulting in product rotation. Have you ever gone to the grocery store and asked yourself, “Why do they keep moving everything?” I know I used to ask myself that question all the time – it is simply due to product placement. Prime real estate within a store is usually eye-level (half-way up the self) and in the middle of the product category. For example, top beer brands like Budweiser thrive on being front and center in most American grocery stores because people purchasing alcohol products often choose convenience, price, and image over brand loyalty. Rather than searching for their favorite beer product, they will most likely choose the beer product in the best real estate.
Less is Often More – Signage is important for displaying importance on various items within your store, but too much signage can be a turn-off. Outside of Black Friday and other major retail sales days throughout the year, additional signage takes away from the space and experience. Rather than concentrating on signage, concentrate on layout and design of products through proper placement. The two or three signs you have throughout the store will, therefore, carry more weight and provide a connection that will lead to sales rather than just interest. Since you’ll be going with only a few signs, you want to make sure they stand out, and the best way to do that is to create your own custom banners or signs from a company like Quality Sign Designer.
Matthew Hall is a small business owner who uses all of the latest techniques to maximize profit and make sure his visitors become avid customers. If you wish to learn more about Matthew you can visit on Google+.