The Grapevine

Wine Shop Customer Experience: The Shop Environment

September 30th, 2014

Last week we talked about creating a great wine shop customer experience through staff and training. Important stuff, which is why we focused on it first. But there are other components of customer experience worth looking at, too. This week: your shop itself. [level-members]

On one level, this is pretty easy. If your front door sticks, fix it. If your carpeting or floor tiles are ratty or cracked, replace them. No dust, no dirt, no dead light bulbs.

But the impression your shop makes goes well beyond that, and it’s important enough that you have to pay attention to it if you want to maximize your shop’s earning potential.

(If you doubt that retail environments matter, just look at what chains stores invest in their decor and ambiance. Or the fact that high-end restaurants routinely spend in excess of $1,000,000 building out and designing their spaces.)

OK, you’ve taken care of the basic and your shop is clean and pleasant. Does it have a personality, though? That personality can be rustic or homey, industrial or clubby, but it has to speak to your customers (if only on a semi-conscious level) in a more friendly way than, say, a 24-hour convenience store. Long, straight, rows of utilitarian shelving under fluorescent lights is exactly what you don’t want.

Creating separate spaces to explore, create interesting corners for, say, pizza wines or romantic evening wines or really crisp whites or … whatever invites a customer to poke around and get a sense of the shop.

And for the love of Pete, pay the air conditioning bill. Yup, it’s expensive, but if the shop’s not comfortable your customers aren’t going to linger – and the more knowledgable among them know that wine likes hanging out in hot, humid conditions about as much as snowmen do.

Next week, some merchandising tips to think about.