First Impressions Last: How to Enhance the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Is retail dead? Not quite.

Despite the convenience of online shopping, some customers still prefer the physical retail experience. For one, you get to see products up close and personal while browsing around. If you’re confused or have questions about a business’s products, you can just ask an employee about it. A lot of direct-to-consumer businesses and other online stores are even opening physical stores nowadays.

So, as a small business owner, how do you make your business stand out? Make a good first impression.

First impressions last for a long while. Whether you’re trying to socialize with people or run a business, you want the people you’re having a conversation with to like you. You want customers to get to know your products, goods or services better. According to Forbes, you only have seven seconds to make a good first impression on someone, whether it’s a customer or a potential business partner. If they stayed beyond that, then you did it correctly.

Consider the whole customer experience. A potential customer walks by your storefront. How do you entice them to look to their side and see your store? Here are some ideas.

Make an Inviting Physical Store

Invest in eye-catching signage, one that perfectly captures your business’s brand. Make sure the product showcase you have in your storefront is arranged in a neat, visually appealing manner. Even something as utilitarian as a retractable awning or a canopy can create a serendipitous experience when there’s the intense heat of the sun or a slight chance of drizzles.

When it comes to the interiors, make sure that everything is clean. All the products must be in their proper places. Make the place homey, inviting. Add something that can pique their curiosity.

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Add a Dash of Personalized Experience

What makes a typical mom-and-pop shop a local favorite is personalization. More often than not, they earn repeat customers because the storeowners learn their clients’ habits. But what makes them even better entrepreneurs is that they treat every customer with the same level of warmth. That’s something that digital shops and other ecommerce stores can emulate but not totally create.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should hover over those browsing around and pester them about your products. Control of privacy is something that customers would want and should have. According to a shopping research study done by professors Carol Esmark and Stephanie M. Noble, when shoppers feel that employees are watching them when they don’t need help, they’re less likely to buy anything.

Accommodate potential customers and shopper but don’t treat them like they need handholding. They’ll ask your help when they need to.

Integrate Technologies

Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Brick-and-mortar stores can use in-store technologies that can make the whole customer experience seamless for every customer. Let them have options as to how to interact with your business, whether online or physical. Online order and in-store pick-up works, especially if buyers want to see the product up close. Payment options, accessible online catalog and inventory, and even delivery. Those can definitely impress your first-timers.

Physical retail stores have the advantage to create memorable customer experiences to every customer. They’re more likely to choose a competitor if they ever feel slighted or had a bad transaction with your business. Make the most of your seven seconds and you might find yourself engaging even more customers.