In these days of (almost) instant online deliveries bringing pretty much everything you might want right to your doorstep, it’s easy to think that the days of the physical store are over. They’re not over, not by a long shot, but you have to compete with the innate human desire for convenience.
From hunter-gatherers to clicker-collectors
Shopping used to be an urban safari which involved the risks of sore feet, sales-day stampedes and sharp elbows in the ribs. Now we prefer to browse for our goods, from groceries to bath-bombs, from the comfort of our own homes or while we’re on the commute. If you want shoppers on your premises nowadays, you have to promise them – and deliver – an experience, not just a shopping expedition.
Use signs and messages to create a story or a mission
We can all agree that over-zealous sales assistants are annoying, but informative and fun signs and even a story can draw people in. By using visual merchandise to connect to people – maybe an info-board detailing where their coffee grounds go to at the end of each day – you’re breaking down the barrier between retailer and customer. This barrier is what you need to get over in order to make that sale.
Appeal to people’s good sides
If you invite your customers to join your enterprise on a mission, you’re also inviting them into your life and your business and you’re making them feel empowered. Too many shops and stores use their signage to herd customers to the tills (only IKEA can get away with this in reality), so subtly guiding them with immersive shop dressings makes their buying trip more like a mini-holiday and they’ll be back for more.
Instead of chevrons and “Pay here” signs all over the place, guide customers along with the tale of the city farm which uses the grounds from your free coffee in its compost heaps. You can start at the shop entrance by offering the free coffee to start with, then guide customers right through to the harvest stage, complete with happy-looking cows and chickens at the tills. You’re not persuading people to buy from you, you’re inviting them on a journey with you.