How the Sales Floor Can Create More Traffic and Sales
Atmospherics in Malls is Spot On!
Retailers and service organizations spend a great deal of money discovering who their customer is (demographics) and how they act (psychographics.) They design their marketing towards that specific customer. Once this customer enters the business the retailer or service needs to engage the customer and sell their merchandise or services.
Great businesses do not leave the selling to chance. Store environment (also called atmospherics) is very important. Let's take a look at actions that you can easily take to enhance your businesses' ability to sell to that customer.
Inviting Retail Environment
What does the customer experience in your business space?
So, you have the customer in your place of business. Now it is time to close the deal. Great businesses do not leave the closing of the deal, selling, to chance. Store environment is very important. Let's take a look at actions that you can easily take to enhance your businesses' ability to sell to that customer.
In the article, Keys to Effective Marketing http://nmlady.hubpages.com/hub/Keys-to-Effective-Marketing, we looked at how great retailers and service organizations discover who their customer are (demographics), how they act (psychographics.) They design their marketing towards that specific customer. Now let’s look at how to design our business space.
Sight: Visual Merchandising
What does the customer see when first entering your business space? The view should tell the story of your service or merchandise. Does the visual appearance enhance your merchandise or service, stimulate interest, exhibit products well, and facilitate sales?
The customer should see a spotlessly clean, uncluttered space. Do not keep storage items in view of the customer. No boxes should be kept on the business floor. Cleaning materials should be out of sight as well. Staff should not be consuming drinks or food. Staff should also be appropriately attired for you business.
The staff should be well trained and know the merchandise or service. They should behave in a professional manner. This professional manner will be taught by the owner in person or codified in a manual of behavior. In the article Small Business Sales Strategies http://nmlady.hubpages.com/hub/Small-Business-Sales-Strategies we discussed the importance of the correct staff.
The lighting should be appropriate to the business. There are different color spectrums from different types of light bulbs. Many cheaper light bulbs put out a slightly green cast that makes food look bad as well as making the skin color of anyone trying on a garment appear slightly greenish and unwell. (Yeah, that is why we purchase clothes, to look green and unwell!)
Clothing companies usually purchase a natural light bulb or a bulb that casts a slightly pinkish color. What color spectrum does your lighting cast?
Lighting should also be thought of in terms of direct light or back light. Direct light is shown on the product to increase the attractiveness of the product. Jewelry stores use very high intensity direct lighting to enhance the sparkle value of their product. Many jewelry stores don't even need winter heating due to the heat emanating from their product lights. I once had such a store in a South County Center, a St. Louis Mall. This jewelry store used massive air conditioning in the summer and shut off their furnace vents from the central boiler in the winter!.
Back lighting is generally more flattering to the human form and more conducive to social situations. Most restaurants use back lighting and low lighting to create ease and comfort in their restaurant.
Store layout varies per business also. Does the flow of your business draw the customer in the store? When they enter do they have a pleasant view of your best quality product? Floor arrangements are very important to lead the customer throughout your business. In a retail setting the arrangements expose the customer to the most merchandise possible. Sale items are placed in the back of the store as a draw.
Display furniture is well thought out to bring products to favorable heights for the customer. Couple attractive merchandise display with direct lighting to provide a good presentation. Think of each product as an acting ingenue who needs the best presentation possible.
In grocery stores companies must product space on the shelves. The eye level product space costs the most and the product display space near the floor or the top of the racks cost less. So, where and how you position your product does matter.
Restaurants create pools of private dining with lighting, walls, and table arrangements in order to provide the illusion of intimate dining.
Quality signage on a budget
Signage is of paramount importance. Good businesses have signs that are professional and easy to read. These signs do not necessarily have to be expensive. Above is a fine example of a menu and an outdoor sign that are a professional and low cost.
Some signs are about ambiance and some are about pricing. If your business is selling ambiance and environment then your sign should reflect that atmosphere. If your business is price driven then your signs should reflect pricing.
The most important thing about signage is that you HAVE SIGNAGE! The customer needs all the signage necessary to inform them.
The second most important thing about signage is to keep it professional and positive. Do not have a list of; No food, No drink, No pets, No No No! These types of signs tell the customer to just go away!
Hearing: Sound Atmospherics
What does the customer hear when entering your business? The ambient sound should reflect your business. The type and sound level of the music should reflect your business. How much can you hear from the other customers?
The sound in your business is part of your branding. Branding is touched upon in Keys to Effective Marketing. http://nmlady.hubpages.com/hub/Keys-to-Effective-Marketing
There are also businesses that provide specialized sound for businesses. Musical Technology International is one such business. http://mtiadsales.com/flash.html Visit this web site for more information. Large companies as well as medical services develop extensive sound and music for their customer. Sound is very basic to the human brain.
Be aware that developing sound for your business is integral as well as a very sophisticated tool to increasing sales.
Aromatic Display and the Sounds of the Flame Roasting
Smell and Touch: Scent and Feel Atmospherics
The aroma of your business should reflect the product. A clean smell should go without saying. Imagine the fragrant freshly baked goods smell of a bakery. The smell sells the product. The same is true of a perfumery store. The opposite could be true of a beauty salon or a nightclub if fresh air is not provided.
Don’t let any unpleasant smells interfere with sales. Never allow a major cleaning product to be the overpowering smell in your retail or service business. This is why cleaning the floors and other sanitizing activities should not be done during business hours. Bad smells will hinder sales.
Certain stores do not make good neighbors due to the smells. The fine men's store that was placed directly above the steak restaurant had a constant problem with all their fine suits smelling like a side of cooked beef. This was also a problem in one of my malls.
Tasting and touching the product create more sales. The involvement of the customer with the product makes the customer more desirous of your product. This is why the ice cream stores allow taste testing. This is why See’s Candy encourages you to sample a piece of their candy. This is why the guy in the middle of the mall wants to smear hand cream on your hand. Touch is an involvement with the product that creates sales.
This is also why malls smell of baking cookies, sweet rolls, and steaks! Smell and taste are highly proficient at creating sales! The average customer needs to experience the product by touch or taste (where applicable.)
A store should smell like it is supposed to smell!
Conclusion and Actions to Take!
Businesses have developed sophisticated lay-out, sound systems, lighting, and involvement systems to attract the customer and create sales.
Do a critical walk-through of your business using the above criteria. Walk into your own business from the customer entrance and experience your business as it looks, feels, smells, and tastes. Now go to your number one competitor and perform the same walk through exercise.
Perhaps you can have a trustworthy business oriented friend do the walk-through for you. There are companies that do ‘Secret Shopping’ for businesses. These secret shops can be very detailed.
Do keep in mind that your actual bricks and sticks store or business location is able to tap into the limbic brain system of the customer in ways that the Internet cannot do. Be sure to use all the tools you can to create sales on your sales floor.
Here is an interesting book on neural marketing. This is the study of why we do what we do as applied to understanding what we buy and why we buy. It is a new and interesting science. The book Buy Ology by Martin Lindstrom is a nice introduction to this field. Here is a short six minute video about the book. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6UzQU5Ye3U
And here is the book for sale.