Understanding Retail: What Goes Into a Customer-Focused Storefront Experience?

“The customer is always right”, a quote coined over a century ago which still stands strong. Whether you subscribe to it or not, the main thing that sets brick-and-mortar stores apart from online storefronts is the customers themselves. Their physical presence and experiences are what makes them turn up, and what keeps them coming back. To keep them returning, there is plenty to consider, from engaging product displays to employing product recall companies. Below are some aspects to keep in mind to keep your customers loyal and happy in this rapidly evolving shopping realm.

Sensory Stimulus

The main characteristic of a physical storefront is that your customers are truly present. They’re living, breathing humans with real senses to cater for. To capitalise on this, it’s important to create a tactile, interactive adventure. You need to make customers want to leave the house for the experience of shopping – as these days they can easily access the core shopping aspect at home. We’ve all been in stuffy old stores, where we can’t find what we want, and can’t wait to leave. Think about making your storefront inviting to each of the senses, capitalising on subconscious cues to make the experience truly welcoming.

Shoppers in Wonderland

Retailtainment is what keeps breathing life into physical storefronts, predicted to be one of the main criteria of the evolving retail experience. If your clientele would rather an experience than an item, why not give them both? This concept is nothing new. Some earlier examples of retailtainment might include interactive paint colour planners in hardware stores or claw machines in cinemas. If you think about the businesses who adopted these methods early, you’ll realise they survived through the onslaught of online storefronts.

Making New Friends

To build your brand into more than just a brand, it’s also particularly important to focus on new customers. You need to build a rapport with them, like a friend they’re eager to visit. In order to cater to the new kids on the block, you need to keep things personalised and accessible. For example, in-store customisation options are ever-popular, which really allow the customer to feel like they’re making the retail experience their own.

Know Thy Enemy

The Internet is viewed by many as the main contender, having a strong negative impact on a lot of physical storefronts. Stores which used to be household names – seemingly a cornerstone of every neighbourhood – are rapidly disappearing (if not already deceased). Overcome with their prior success, they were caught up in the momentum and suddenly lost to the ages. However, technology can offer great benefits to physical storefronts, too. So why not use this to benefit you? Surprisingly, this concept is still rather overlooked, and there’s definite room to stand out. Even by simply engaging with social media, you can encourage a vast difference in your prospective clientele. By providing visually pleasing storefronts, you give shoppers the opportunity to take the perfect selfie in your store. When posted online, these equal free advertisements for your store or item.

Mistakes Are Made

When you take the necessary risks to survive in this field, mistakes are eventually inevitable. In these circumstances, a product recall can be just as important as the displays that lure your customers in. A problem with just one product can be like a cluster bomb, instantly annihilating much of your hard work. It’s important to ensure you establish a plan, to minimise negative impacts in case of emergency.

Summing Up

Trying to keep up in a modern shopping realm can be intimidating. Although it’s fine to embrace your successes, history proves you must continue to adapt to survive. Don’t be afraid to try things, as even simple changes can make a huge difference in welcoming customers back, and forging a lasting relationship.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.