NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE power of a well-designed storefront! It is valuable real estate that should reflect your brand, attract attention, and motivate people to come inside your store. Consumers form their first impression and opinion about your business based on the appearance of your exterior.
Here is a checklist of the items you should “audit” when looking at your storefront, and if you have front and back entrances, these apply to both!
• Landscaping — is everything well maintained?
• Finishes (materials) — do they reflect your brand color and style?
• Signs — are they in good shape and properly located?
• Lighting — are the façade, main sign, and window displays illuminated to attract attention from afar?
• Parking area — is it clearly marked and free of debris/ garbage?
• Music/aroma — can you pipe some out onto the sidewalk and initiate a sensory experience?
• Decorative accessories — do they all reflect your brand and make a statement?
• Window displays — are they conversation-worthy and do they attract attention from a distance?
• Overall image — is the current “look” what you want to convey?
• Building maintenance — is everything well maintained?
• Entrance door/handle — this is the first point of physical interaction; is it memorable?
How do each of these elements play into your brand and kick off the customer experience? Here are a few pointers to consider when evaluating your storefront.
Your main sign should be high on the storefront to be visible from a distance for auto traffic and at eye-level for pedestrian traffic. Always include your hours, website and social media icons on your front door or window. Do not use adhesive tape to hold up signs on your glass, as this is a poor reflection on your business. Instead, use acrylic sign holders.
Kesslers Diamonds in Grand Rapids, MI, features diamond-themed door pulls and window display elements.
The right amount and type of lighting is imperative to attracting attention after the sun sets. If you’re located on a street that stays active after you close, keep the lights that illuminate your façade and window displays on a timer until street life has quieted down. Consider wall sconces to highlight architectural elements, or pendant lights in front of your store’s entrance. Window displays with oversized props and messaging (sans merchandise) should be brightly illuminated so they can clearly be seen from a distance.
When looking at your parking area, can you identify some spots with fun signage to make VIP guests feel special? If you have a “drop off / pickup” zone, highlight the area with fun branded signage and paint the sidewalk or parking spot a different color.
Even if you don’t own the building or parking lot, the “look” of the storefront, parking area and landscaping are all a reflection of your business, so either convince the owners/property managers of the importance of keeping these up or maintain them yourself.
Finally, decorative accessories can be a defining factor when it comes to showcasing your brand on the outside. Bringing your store’s colors and “personality” into outdoor seating, planters, awnings, flags/banners, artwork, and door handles all serve to make a memorable first impression.
So, bring some “life” to your storefront and start the shopping experience with an “exterior experience.” Storefronts are more important than ever and will always serve as your brand’s billboard!