So you’ve had a great idea and come up with a product and brand to match. You want to open your first bricks-and-mortar location. Here are some things to consider.
Consider your preferred location. A good choice will have high traffic and the local population will be in line with the culture you’re trying to foster. Do your research and check out the demographics of your chosen area.
Branding and Store Design
Does the interior of your store have a good flow? Does it encourage people to visit specific products or areas? The best plans allow people the opportunity to move freely and see different items or departments from where they stand. Chocabloc patterning or the focus on one central item tends to create traffic jams, distracting customers or preventing them from visiting the rest of the store.
Your exterior is an extension of your brand personality and draws in foot traffic and casual passers-by. Try to be as engaging as possible to the community you’re trying to attract.
Engage in Good Hiring Practices
Hire reliable people and train them well. Your staff will be much more effective and make a golden impression if they have the tools they need to answer any questions, troubleshoot issues and de-escalate customer concerns or complaints to the satisfaction of all.
Providing a Great First Impression
As a fledgling venture, it’s important to make a good first impression to every customer that walks in. You’re relying heavily on word-of-mouth and never forget the important role social media plays in today’s world. Those first few positive reviews on Yelp! can make all the difference. Remember to provide quality during every step of the retail process. Go the extra mile and provide that “last touch” service: offer to carry the customer’s bags out for them. Give them a free gift as a thank you for making a purchase. Offer them a coupon for their next visit. Make your service stand out.
Before Your Store Opens
Place local advertisements announcing your grand opening. Send out press releases. Print flyers and cards you can place prominently around the neighborhood. Promotional bags can be used to deliver swag from your store. USE SOCIAL MEDIA. Use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, all of the major social networks to build your potential customer base. Many people appreciate a paperless campaign.
Spend some time thinking about fun things to do that will engage your shoppers. Perhaps provide snacks or free samples. There could be live music, or a poetry or book reading by local authors. There could be games and small freebies for children. Many stores also hand out promotional bags containing samples, “Grand Opening” coupons and/or printed matter describing your stock. And be sure to decorate the outside of your store so as to catch everyone’s eye!
With all of these practices, you create the positive word-of-mouth advertising you need to cultivate a loyal customer base.