I recently saw an article about fang shui in retail. (Retail Feng Shui Tips – Use Feng Shui To Improve Your Store and Your Sales)
And while that may have you rolling your eyes, there’s no dismissing the idea that mood matters, and that more and more consumers view the retail experience as entertainment. Need proof? Check out [level-members]the stores in Times Square in New York City. M & M’s World isn’t there just because of the insane amount of foot traffic. It’s there because they could build a store that is as much about entertaining as it is about buying. (Though you can certainly do that, too!) And the entertainment helps them extend and strengthen their brand. You’ll also find the Disney Store, ESPN Zone, Niketown and many more.
Not that we’re suggesting you seek investors in order to turn your shop into a 3-story showroom complete with flashing lights and a pulsating soundtrack. But you should pay attention to the impression your store creates.
The best way to do this is with a fresh set of eyes. Even better: two sets.
The first set should be from someone who knows you, knows your shop, and knows who your customers are. They can point out the small things that you might not even notice any more. A sticky front door or grimy paint start to disappear when you see them every day.
Someone like that is also likely to be someone very close to you, or at least a good acquaintence. to offset that, find a pro to give your their opinion. Depending on your location, a retail designer may not be available, but resist the temptation to work with someone lacking the direct experience. Designing retail space is nothing at all like decorating a living room, or even like designing a restaurant.
An even better solution might be to approach your local chamber of commerce and suggesting a mystery shopper program. Members visit one another’s shops, make notes and submit their thoughts anonymously on high points and areas in need of improvement. No hurt feelings, and valuable feedback that is neither expensive (as a pro would be) or sugar-coated. (As you might get from a loved one.) [/level-members]