Take A Walk Through Your Store In The Customer’s ShoesFriday, June 8th, 2012
We all suffer from being stuck in our own “boxes” from time to time. You know – that feeling that you’ve lost all perspective and can’t see the forest for the trees. Here’s a little eye-opener if you have a store that you’ve looked at time and again but are perhaps missing the bigger picture.
- Stand outside your store and do the Blink Test. Close your eyes and open them. Count to seven. Close them again. That’s how long you have to make a lasting first impression. What do you remember seeing?
- Look at your windows and entrance. Are they clean and enticing or cluttered and boring? Do you have a “Welcome” sign or a “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” (or equivalent) message that subliminally screams “Go Away!”?
- Walk into your store and pretend you’ve never been in it before. Turn to the right. Eighty per cent of your customers are inclined to do just that. What’s there? Hopefully not the checkout counter, unless you are a totally full-service store.
- Borrow a wheel chair, baby stroller, or shopping cart. Carry a 10-lb. bag of potatoes under your arm. Try to push the chair, stroller, or cart from the front to the back of your store; select a product, then proceed to the checkout or cash desk. Find a place to set down the bag of potatoes. Take out your wallet and find a space on the counter to sign the credit card receipt.
- Listen. What do you hear? Staff chatting and giggling on the phone? Soft or loud music that echoes your store image? Taps dripping?
- Take a deep breath through your nose. What do you smell? Nothing? Odours from the staff lunchroom? The discreet, enticing scent of YlangYlang? Nike Stores use scent emitters to pump the faint odour of leather into their retail spaces. Ambient scenting has been proven to make people stay longer, and the longer they stay the more they are likely to purchase. People like to continue shopping and lose track of time when pleasant ambient air scents are diffused. What should your store smell like?
- Look at each wall and fixture of merchandise from left to right (like reading a book). Does it go on forever? Are there gapping holes on the “page” where you are over-sold? Is it easy to read? Is the best asset of the product facing toward you? Is the same product behind it? Are larger items on the bottom and smaller ones on the top? Can you reach the merchandise without stretching, pole vaulting, or getting down on your hands and knees?
- Look at your signing. Is it tattered, torn, or hand-written? Can you find price tags or sizing information? Do you have to pick the product up to figure out what it is? Do the signs tell you something you wouldn’t know from looking at the product? Are they friendly signs?
- Look up. Are your lights working and properly focused? Are the lights shining on blank walls or product? Is there enough light? Is there too much light?
- Leave the store. What do you see on the way out? What do you remember about the overall impression and shopping experience? What would you tell your friends about it?