Optimizing Your Store for the Ultimate Shopper Experience

Suhayl Laher
Suhayl Laher
Guest Contributor

When it comes to retail store design, every small detail and consideration counts towards either a positive or negative customer shopping interaction, so taking a holistic approach should ensure you create a store that always puts the shopper first.

With e-commerce becoming a dominant force in the retail sector, it’s more important than ever for brick-and-mortar stores to utilize their in-store designs to optimize sales and the overall shopper experience in order to sustain their relevance and appeal.

In Alex Jones’ recent article for the RetailNext blog, ‘4 Simple Steps To Maximize In-Store Shopping Experience,’ she shined the light on some key techniques retailers can use to curate a personalized and positive shopping experience by optimizing store layouts, customer service, branding and loyalty schemes.

However, optimizing your customers’ shopping experiences doesn’t stop there. In today’s follow up post, I’ll be exploring a number of ways store managers and owners can utilize practical design elements to holistically bolster the shopping experience.

Make your first impressions count

While many loyal customers will visit physical shop locations regardless, for stores looking to grow their customer base with new visitors it’s essential to consider your store’s curb appeal. Whether you’re a sole trader or operating a franchise, each shop needs to make a stand-out first impression, for all the right reasons.

Thankfully, impactful storefront updates don’t have to be hugely expensive or disruptive to your business if executed well. Working from the outside in, you can increase your store appeal with simple aesthetic changes that will instantly make a difference and can be implemented during out of business hours, if necessary.

From a fresh coat of paint to tired woodwork and a new store sign to a newly tiled front entrance with non-slip outdoor tiles that boast both style and safety, improving the exterior of your retail outlet with some practical updates will naturally make it more eye-catching and welcoming to passers-by.

It also goes without saying that reassessing window displays is a must. Not only is it a fairly low-cost method for upping your storefront’s visual impact, it’s also the perfect opportunity to showcase key products and lure potential buyers into your store. Allow creativity and color to come to the fore here, creating unique and interesting window displays that will create an exciting buzz around your store right from the off.

Consider customer facilities

Other practical ways to show customers added care and consideration while shopping is to consider the onsite facilities you offer visitors. The basic facilities such as bathrooms, rest areas and refreshments are often overlooked when it comes to retail design. But, with some creative updates, you can be sure you’re putting your customers’ comfort and wellbeing first – adding value to their shopping experience in the process.

Take the time to identify what customers may need or expect from visiting a physical store – or certainly what would put your store above the competition. For instance, if your core customers are families, why not consider adding baby-changing facilities or a child’s play area to keep the kids entertained, leaving parents free to browse?

Whether it’s the positioning of seating areas, the appearance of your radiators or tired paintwork, some well-thought out updates and considerations for the customer’s needs can go a long way towards improving their overall shopping experience.

Tap into your key demographic

Following on from the above, you can also tap into your core demographic to personalize the in-store experience further by gaining a clear understanding of who your customers are and why they visit your store. Naturally, not every shopper wants or needs an assistant hovering on stand-by, but equally some do want to know help is readily at hand.

With a better grasp on your core customers’ requirements, you’ll be better positioned to tailor different aspects of the shopping process to meet their expectations. For example, a boutique shop selling one-of-a-kind pieces will want to project a unique and personalized sales approach taking the time to guide customers through the store; while a fast-food outlet will put more emphasis on swift and efficient service and visibility of products.

The important thing to remember is to cater your store design and customer service to match your clientele, ensuring that they want to come back time and time again.

When it comes to retail store design, every small detail and consideration counts towards a positive (or negative) customer shopping interaction, so taking a holistic approach should ensure you create a store that always puts the customer first. Regardless of store size or sector, I hope these practical design tips stand you in good stead for creating an in store experience your shoppers will enjoy each and every time they visit.

About the writerSuhayl Laher works at Tiles Direct, one of the UK’s largest independent tile distributors and retailers, bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers..

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