An unhappy customer is often a lot more vocal than a happy one. They are often not afraid to share their dissatisfaction with their friends, family and colleagues (and with the advent of social media, they can share it with complete strangers, too) which can be potentially damaging to your business. This is why pleasing them is of utmost importance if you wish for your business to grow.
A regular cause for complaint in the retail environment is the layout of the space. If it is difficult to find a product, or they are damaged due to poor storage, it can become frustrating to consumers who will soon decide to leave if they cannot find what they want.
That’s why your store plan is a vital piece of the puzzle. By simply considering the needs and expectations of your visitors, you can make the purchasing process as streamlined as possible. This will equate to happier customers and improved sales.
Principles of Customer Satisfaction
Although each person is different, you will need to tap into their principle needs to keep them happy. Here are three of the core areas to consider, and how you can adapt your shop to suit.
Put yourself in their shoes
Ultimately, you will need to be able to place yourself in your customers’ shoes and adapt to what they experience when they walk through the doors.
The way that your retail units are placed and the manner in which your products are exhibited need to match with the journey through your shop space.
There are certain ways of manipulating your layout so that browser’s view promotional items first, but remember not to bury your other produce behind loud displays.
A great way of testing the effectiveness of your store design is to create buyer personas and imagine they are shopping for a specific item – follow the journey they might take, and note any difficulties you encounter. Remember, not everyone wants to casually explore your stock – some know exactly what they want, and they want it now!
With those noted difficulties, consider re-planning the position of display units and how you exhibit specific merchandise.
As cliché as it sounds, service with a smile can make all the difference. If you and/or your staff are projecting a negative mood, your customers can easily take offence. It is also important to build relationships with your clientele by engaging with them. Don’t harass them from the minute they step in, but do approach them if they look as though they need help.
So how can you adapt your space to build these relationships? Don’t hide your staff behind counters or other units, as this creates a barrier. Whilst you will need them within the point of sales area, make sure that where possible, you have enough friendly employees available on the shop floor to meet demand.
You can group your articles into areas using retail gear, and designate a particular advisor to that area to deal with queries relating to those pieces.
Both you and your staff can have absolutely stellar customer service skills, but if your displays create the wrong ‘vibe’, shoppers will be put off. This atmosphere can be created by overcrowding or disorganised products, making the area look messy and unprofessional.
To fix this issue, choose the right shop fittings to maximise the exposure of your merchandise in a way that makes it easy to navigate.
Choosing the correct apparatus for showcasing items is a vital ingredient in keeping individuals happy. You need to make the most of the space you have – here are just some of the pieces of retail equipment that you can utilise:
Slatwall and Grid Mesh
The ultimate in space saving, these solutions are great for showing off a variety of different products – from tools to clothing. All you need is the right accessories and a well-structured planogram which places co-ordinating pieces together. These units can be fixed to the wall, or built up in dynamic structures throughout your store.
If you sell apparel and you want people to be able to get up close and personal with the articles, clothes rails are a great way to do this. They are much more visual than folded clothes on a shelf – and less likely to be left in a mess by eager buyers.
Got a sale on, or want to point people towards particular items? Poster and literature stands are perfect for sign posting offers, as well as directing customers towards your queuing system.
It is not enough to have the right kit – where you position it can make a big difference in boosting morale, and sales.
The key things to remember are:
- Always position displays in a way that allows customers to reach and interact with the product easily
- Reduce opportunities for mess by making things easy to pick up and return to their original place
- Leave enough space between units for people to move around them
- Exhibit co-ordinating items close together so that a thorough search is not required – this can make shoppers impatient and sometimes even cause them to leave
- Be aware of safety – items should not be placed out of reach, and any extra fixtures and fittings not being used should be stored away safely
So there you have it – the best ways to satisfy your customers with the design of your store. By utilising these tips, you can improve your sales by making it easier for your visitors to make a purchase.
Guest author Clemens Pein works for Shopfitting Warehouse, the UK’s top supplier for retail display equipment and storage solutions.