Cleaning your front could help attract customers to your business.
This was one of the messages delivered by speakers at the Visual Merchandising for Retailers Workshop held at the Enterprise Center at 4500 Market St. in West Philadelphia on Thursday.
During the workshop, speakers instructed attendants on the methods and techniques that could be used to help increase sales.
Anne Cecil, director of design and merchandising program at Drexel University, was one of the speakers at the forum and said that the front of a business is the first contact that business owners have with their customers and that what a customer sees can make the difference in whether they stop and shop or keep moving and go elsewhere.
“What you present on the outside of your business will be what they expect on the inside,” Cecil said.
Sweeping up leaves and trash may have a significant impact on businesses. She compares it to receiving guests in her home.
“I need to make sure that the front of my house is clean, in shape and welcoming,” Cecil said. “On top of that, businesses have to find a way to differentiate themselves from the other businesses out there and position themselves within the customer’s mind.”
In the same way, businesses in business corridors need to consider attracting those passing by on public transportation, cars and pedestrians and for this reason strategically decorate their window displays accordingly, utilizing the middle, top and bottom of windows.
Cecil noted as much it is important to attract customers to your place of businesses, it is also important to get them inside and to create a pleasurable shopping experience once they are. What a customer sees, hears and even smell can make it more likely that a customer will stay and purchase an item or walk out empty handed to go elsewhere.
Another trick of the trade: Putting interesting things to the back and on the side walls of your stores will help attract customers inside, getting customers inside is the, after all, the goal since they cannot purchase unless they enter.
“The longer they stay in your store, and the deeper in your store they go, the more they will spend,” Cecil said.
Cecil began her career in retail and has more than 30 years of industry experience. She moved into education in 1980. She has spent 20 years educating people on designing and merchandising.
“It’s as simple as this, once a neighborhood starts to get anything that looks like it’s in disrepair and people do not address it and repair it quickly, that neighborhood will decline rapidly,” Cecil said.
She said the answer is just as simple as caring about one’s property and making sure that it is simple and clean.
“If you are in an overwhelmingly depressed area and people start letting their property decline and you are the only one doing anything about it then it might not help,” she said. “But if you can get everyone on your block to sweep up than all of a sudden your block looks clean and inviting and people will come.”