Serving the public means you naturally want to impress customers from the moment they walk in the door (or even earlier, with storefront displays, signage, and more). You have to be careful, however, about hitting shoppers or clients with a hard sell or your best products right when they enter, because it takes time for them to transition into a new space.
The entrance to your store is sometimes referred to as the “decompression zone,” a term coined by marketer Paco Underhill. You can also call it your reception area, your lobby, or simply a welcoming zone. This is where customers who enter your store leave the outside world behind and begin the experience of interacting with your brand, and you need to help them adjust before you start trying to make a sale.
If you place your best items front and center, there’s a good chance shoppers are going to pass them by as they make the brief transition to a new space. For this reason, you need to focus on creating a comfortable and inviting decompression zone that prepares consumers for an enjoyable shopping experience. Here are a few tips and tricks for creating an ideal welcoming entrance in your store.
Slow it Down
Busy shoppers are running here and there to complete their many errands in a timely manner, but you want them to slow down, browse, and enjoy their shopping experience to increase sales and overall satisfaction. How can you make this happen in your space?
There are several ways. Your doorway is the place to start. When shoppers must pause to swing open a door, they are naturally slowed. If you have the option, try to avoid automatic doors that let customers breeze in without slowing their pace.
If you’re stuck with open or automatic doors, you’ll either need to create a larger transition space to slow shoppers or you could consider adding a greeter at the door to welcome shoppers and help them to feel relaxed and comfortable as they enter your store. You can also place a large display front and center so that shoppers must slow and veer around it as they are funneled into the heart of the store.
If you have a receptionist pay close attention to his or her station and desk. It should be neat and welcoming. Displaying important information is important as he or she may be on the phone when a client or customer enters.
What to Display
Consider that your entrance display is an opening salvo, and as such, it’s something of a throwaway. As customers transition into your retail space, it’s going to take them time to adjust, and during this time, you won’t have their full attention. Placing key merchandise or signage here won’t be as impactful as it could be in other locations around your store. So, what should you display?
This isn’t a throw-away by any means. Just because customers are busy taking it all in doesn’t mean you can cheap out at the entrance. Shoppers are already making assessments about the relative sophistication and value of your brand, so don’t skimp on the entrance display. Just don’t expect it to pay off with the most attention right off the bat.
Instead, consider placing deeply discounted items up front. The sales pricing could cause shoppers to pause and slow down, just as you want them to, and perhaps draw them back for a second look after they’ve perused your other wares. With the right strategies, you can welcome shoppers into your store and prepare them for a pre-planned shopping experience that ends in sales and customer satisfaction.
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