4 Ways to Make Your Small Retail Showroom a Success

Cover: 4 Ways to Make Your Small Retail Showroom a Success

By this time, you should know exactly why online retailers need a brick-and-mortar shop to stay competitive today. However, you don't necessarily need to open a traditional store in order to get those benefits. In fact, a showroom might be more effective for brand promotion and delivery of top-notch customer experiences.

Unlike a shop, where you put products on the shelves and hope your customers take some of them home when they leave, a showroom allows you to sell the idea of the product. For example, instead of having a salesperson explain to a prospective buyer how great your offering of blankets is, you will seat your customer on the sofa, wrap them into a fluffy blanket and provide a cup of hot chocolate. The point is to make people experience how amazing your products are. So, by the time they leave, they know it in their hearts they need to have that fluffy blanket at home, and that brand of hot chocolate as well because those things make a perfect combo.

How to Create a Successful Brick-and-Mortar Showroom: 4 Tips to Try

1. Provide services your buyers truly need

Do the products you offer require some specialized services? If so, you already have the best showroom plan. Take Clearly contacts as an example. This online retailer started as a seller of glasses and contact lenses, which is hardly the material for a showy showroom.

However, when the company opened their first brick-and-mortar location, they did not only market an opportunity to try on a variety of cool glasses. They included an optometrist's service to the showroom experience. Therefore, they immediately snatched not only the buyers who already have a prescription, but also those who need one. A shopper can book an eye exam, get results, and immediately purchase glasses or contacts to fit the prescription.

If your retail niche allows for providing such robust customer experiences, this should be your priority.

2. Provide personalized shopper experiences

Personalizing shopper experience is one of the main things to do in order to keep a brick-and-mortar store successful today. You can achieve this in your showroom with the help of technology. In case you aren't using it yet, you need to find the right ERP solution. Choose one with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and business intelligence features as they will help you manage marketing more effectively and make better business decisions overall.

You need advanced tech in order to keep your showroom closely tied to your online store. Aim to create an environment where shoppers can assess their accounts and get personalized suggestions based on their order history. And provide your showroom assistants with tools to deliver those suggestions in real life. Simply put, your staff needs to use software that will allow them to know exactly what to offer as long as they know the shopper's username on your website.

3. Create a showroom café

You don't have to be a food or cutlery retailer to benefit from opening a café in your showroom. Although, you definitely should consider selling the teas and coffees you serve shoppers.

The purpose of opening a showroom café is to motivate shoppers to stray, relax, and take their time studying products and catalogs. The main benefit of this particular method is that in a café, people won't feel pressured to focus on doing that. Instead, they will enjoy themselves while soaking up information about your brand into their subconscious. Therefore, they will come to associate your name with comfort and joy, and the next time they need one of the products you offer, your shop will be the first on their mind.

One of the best examples to study is Nordstrom Local. This showroom only has a small offering of coffee and juice café-wise, but it's designed to be a hub for mingling and relaxation. In the meantime, shoppers come here to not only 'hang out' but also get fashion tips from an on-site stylist, advice from a personal shopper, and a quick fix from the alteration service that will make their outfit perfect.

As a small retailer, you might want to join forces with a café/restaurant business from the start. This way you'll create a full café experience with a side-serving of shopping before waiters bring out the meal.

Ideas are endless, so any kind of retailer can find some way to make this particular showroom method work.

4. Focus on the senses

Despite its name, a 'showroom' must not only show off your products to shoppers but also provide them with a comprehensive sensual experience as well. You sell bed linens? Fill your showroom with beds and give every errant shopper a chance to lie down and feel how great those are against their skin.

Remember, people can look at detailed high resolution pictures of any item on your website. They come to the showroom not to see, but to experience and 'get to know' those things. Therefore, you need to actively encourage them. Hanging out a few 'Touch Me!' signs might be exactly what you need.

About the writer: Agatha Singer is a work-from-home mom of two little nuggets. Her interests range from the latest business management trends to healthy living and adventurous traveling. Agatha always stays open to new ideas and expertise to make her writings handy and captivating. She's happy to welcome you to her blog: http://www.agsinger.com.

Join the #retail, #SmartStore & #ConnectedJourney conversations on Twitter @RetailNext, as well as at www.facebook.com/retailnext.

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