In a retail environment the tiniest little thing out of place can put a customer off. Especially for brands with high recognition and multiple stores and locations, brand integrity and consistency is vital in creating an environment in which the customer is comfortable. A customer that walks in to a store and doesn’t recognise it will be more likely to become unsettled and walk away without purchasing. Your store atmosphere is a vital component of what makes a brand tick, what entices customers and what encourages them to stay and purchase with you. Conducting retail audits is a fantastic way in which you can track your approach, find out what customers really think of your store layout, brand colours and marketing materials, as well as specific products and offers.
The store atmosphere includes a wide range of things, including the physical items places within the walls of the store location. It is a direct contributor to the customer experience and as a result should be treated with the utmost importance.
The basics of any store should be to create a clean store that is orderly and creates a clear and easy journey for the customer to physically follow in order to complete a transaction. Always ensure that there is no clutter around the tills, on the floor, or anywhere where it could be a direct obstacle to customers and staff members.
A daily cleaning regime should be put in place from day one, ensuring that cleanliness and hygiene is always a priority. The last thing you want is for a customer to pick up a product off the shelves and be met with a dusty surface or dirty product packaging. They are highly unlikely to want to purchase anything from the store in this scenario. If there are public toilets available in the store it is of even greater importance that you conduct deep cleaning each day to ensure a sanitary area for customers to use the facilities.
Aside from cleanliness, the store atmosphere that you choose to create will be a tool with which to attract your target audience. Bright colours and pop music could be called for if you are targeting a teenage clientele, where a more professional, neutral tone required for an older target customer. Always ensure that there is a clear journey from the front door to the tills, with cleverly places promotional materials to entice your customers to the products that you want them to see.
With the right tactical approach to analysing performance across your company, looking at how your customer journey is shaping up, and analysing the impact of your current store layout, you can begin to develop a clear and effective strategy to improve the customer experience. Your store atmosphere is a vital aspect of that journey, and through careful investigation, retail audits that take in all aspects of a physical store, and analysis that cuts to the heart of the customer journey, you can ensure that the store atmosphere is at the height of its powers.