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Improving Your Retail Space- And Your Customers’ Shopping Experience

By Meg Glasgow, Industry Expert


In a previous post, we discussed how a business’s brand as its reputation — the sum total of how it is perceived in the marketplace — and how branding stems from the deliberate efforts of a business to shape it’s reputation in the hearts and minds of consumers. Unless you do most of your business online, or have a huge marketing budget, the most effective place to shape your customers’ perception of your business…is in your business.



Of course, the ultimate — and immediate — ambition of any shop is to sell its merchandise. So for this post we will explore the psychology of retail customers and suggest proven tactics you can employ in your shop to create additional sales and a powerful brand.



Creating A Positive & Consistent Impression


  • Appropriate product density. Customers perceive stores with tight aisles and tons of merchandise as offering low-quality merchandise at bargain prices. In contrast,  stores with spacious sales floors with relatively few displays are viewed as high- quality and high- priced retailers. Obviously, custom framers should fall somewhere between these two extremes — there is no magic formula to offer, but following the lead of a neighboring retailer that targets the same demographic and has an attractive store offers a good guide.


  • Sightlines: The use of short fixtures, especially in front of the shop, opens up the view of the entire space to customers. If customers have no interest in the items displayed on the front shelves, and a tall fixture blocks their view, they’re likely to turn around and leave.


  • Product mix: Many custom framing shops supplement their main business with other product lines — make sure that any additional product lines you sell are complementary to each other. Art, photography, jewelry, and hand-made crafts fit well with a custom framing business, but you don’t want to have items such as electronics or sporting goods in your store, no matter how good of a deal you get on those items.


  • Connect your product lines: You can also look for ways to reinforce the connections between your product lines. This is exactly what we did at The Framer’s Gallery, through the utilization of picture frames to display the jewelry selection offered by the shop, as you can see in the photo below.


Jewelry Displays jpg



  • Product Placement: Showpieces and high-margin items should be positioned at eye level for easy viewing. This practice not only draws attention to your most profitable items, but the great-looking merchandise also makes your store more interesting and attractive.



Controlling Shopper Behavior


In the last video, for the Retail Boot Camp with The Framer’s Gallery, I discussed with the Ping’s how within the first ten feet of the store is  “the landing zone.”  While it may seem logical to “wow” your customers when they first come in, this is where they adjust to your environment, get their overall impression of the space by looking deeper into the shop — and therefore, tend to overlook the merchandise and displays here.



Another interesting behavior, seen in the U.S., is the vast majority of shoppers turn to their right when entering a store. Knowing this helps us with the below five items.



  1. Merchandise better: placing displays or merchandise that are large and brightly colored to the right, creates interest, sets a positive customer mood, invites the shopper to explore the store and creates an embarkation point to explore the shop.


  1. Manage the customer experience: By knowing where customers start shopping, you can influence how they move through your store, what they see, and the order in which they see it.


  1. Guide the shopper: From that starting point, carpet runners or floor tile patterns can be used to create “invisible aisles” that customers tend to follow subliminally, guiding them through the store and exposing them to all you have to offer. Similarly, strategic placement of fixtures can further influence the route your customers take through your store.


  1. Catch their eye: Positioning a bold, eye-catching and interesting display in the back of the shop will also draw shoppers deep into the store, helping ensure they take in the entire space. Likewise, destination locations such as your framing counters and merchandise pick-up areas are best located at the rear of the shop so that customers have the opportunity to see more of what you have to offer.


  1. Use Signage: Studies show that when shoppers are faced with long aisles containing a multitude of products; they inadvertently miss an estimated 20% of the merchandise on display. The use of signage helps to break up the aisles into more manageable chunks and helps focus customer attention.



Color & Lighting


There is a vast amount of research on color psychology and the meanings, values and emotions each color elicits.  Additionally, consider that the use of unusual combinations of colors, hues, values and gradients connote a creative business.



Colors can also be used effectively to “departmentalize” your store. For example, using a different color treatment on the walls helps to distinguish between the framing counters, art gallery, gift items, and other areas. Lighting impacts both the customers’ perception of your store and the trueness of the color of products, which is of vital importance in the framing business. Some general principles of lighting include:



  • Using accent lights to call attention to a particular piece of artwork or display, and decorative lighting to add to the overall ambiance of the space.


  • Select lighting with a CRI (Color Rendering Index) rating of 2,700 – 3,200 for general store lighting.


  • Use lights with a rating of 4,000 – 5,000 Kelvin where customers will view artwork and framing projects to be sure your customers see the true colors of their art purchases or framing projects.



This post only begins to touch on the huge amount of research that has been conducted on shopper experiences and retail environments. I hope you find it informative and useful, and that it encourages you to evaluate your retail space continually, and explore more opportunities to provide your customers with a positive shopping experience.



Also, if you haven’t watched the videos where I discuss these items and more, have a look at the conclusion of the series. See for yourself the dramatic results of the Framer’s Gallery made with only few changes, by clicking here.


This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.

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