When a customer enters your store the first impression should be that they are walking into an environment where the workers and owner are proud of what they do and were they are. Here are a few things that can affect your image when customers visit your store.
The outside. Pay attention to the outside of your store. Pick up any trash that’s on the ground and see to it that the store windows are free of dirt and hand prints. Also, be sure that whatever can be seen from the outside of the store through the windows looks clean as well. Because the outside of your store is the first thing customers are going to see, it needs to look inviting to give them more incentive to walk inside.
Restrooms. Keep those restrooms clean and stocked with paper products. No one wants to walk into a bathroom with overflowing trash cans, no toilet paper, and soap dripping all over the sink. A disgusting bathroom tells customers that you don’t consider their hygiene or comfort to be of any importance which leads them to think that you don’t care about them. Be sure to check and clean the restrooms regularly and keep them a spotless as possible.
Stained and dirty floors. While spills do happen, a messy floor makes the store look old and dirty. A dirty store is a sign that you don’t want to take the time to look after your own property and if you won’t take care of your own things, the customer is going to think you won’t take care of them either. Have the carpets cleaned, professionally if possible, once a year at least and be sure to vacuum and sweep at least nightly to ensure the floors are looking as new as possible.
Flickering or burned out light bulbs. A flickering or burned out bulb is a common theme in a horror movie! No one wants to shop in a place like that. Plus, with bad lighting, items become harder to see and therefore harder to buy. Replace bulbs that are dim or burned out as soon as possible. No one wants to be worried about getting jumped by the boogie man in a dark corner of your store.
Messy aisles. Be aware of messy aisles and any product out of place in your store. It’s a good rule of thumb to have an employee occasionally walk through the store to pick up any item left on the floor or put back anything that is where it doesn’t belong. This helps keep the store looking tidy and helps prevent theft.
Cluttered checkout counters. Don’t let workers stash their personal belongings behind or near the checkout counters. No coats, no drink cups, cell phones, or purses should be seen when a customer is checking out, those items are best left in the employee’s area. Also, if there are store items that need restocking or are broken and you leave them behind the counter simply because you didn’t have time to put them elsewhere, try instead to designate a nearby place to put them. You need to keep in mind that the checkout counter is where customers will stand in one place and have an even greater opportunity to look around your store. Where they are spending their money is going to be the place where your store gets the most scrutiny. If they see things are out of place and sloppy it can have a negative impact as to whether they’ll come back to the store again or not. Staying organized will let customers know that you’ve got your act together.
Hand written signs. If you are putting signage up in your store nothing says sloppy like a handwritten sign. Most people have access to a computer that can print out a decent looking sign. With a handwritten sign you run the risk of it being unreadable to some people and it looks like you didn’t plan ahead before putting it up. Unless you have amazing penmanship go with a computer printout, it looks more professional.
Baskets. No matter the size of the store, it is a good idea to invest in some shopping baskets at the very least. Having baskets located right inside the entrance encourages customers to buy more and lets them know you are looking to make their shopping an easier experience.
First impressions are important and keeping up with your store will give confidence to your customers that they have gone to the right place to spend their hard earned dollars.