Spokane Regional Networking, Social Media, Professional and Business Development
I recently purchased a small business downtown that was last remodeled in the 80's (yikes!). Along with the dated interior the previous owners ran very conservative styles in the product lines. As the new owners we are at a cross road where we are trying to decide whether to put our money into revamping the look and feel of the store or add product.
Both decisions should drive new customers to buy and encourage current customers to buy more. So I would like your opinion.
What do you prefer the presentation or the product when you are looking to buy?
Sadly, if the presentation is bad, new customers will never get far enough into your store to even consider buying the products inside. Unless your current customer base is amazingly interactive and can spread the word on your behalf through all of their social networks it's going to be tough to build business when you're locked inside a plain old brown bag. If you have a solid product line to begin with, I'd say spruce up the space to get new people in the door and begin to build your new product line as business picks up. Your existing customers will likely buy more frequently if their in-store experience improves as well.
We do have an intensely loyal customer base of hip moms, but I do feel like it has a paper bag look and feel. As we advertise I think our target demo is going to be kinda turned off by what it looks like inside. Thank you.
That's a tough one without knowing how dated it looks. Does the interior look shabby or just out of fashion? As a consumer I am more inclined to be drawn in to a place by the product in the window or the ads. If the inside of the store feels shabby or dirty or unkempt then it might prevent me from buying but I think more people are drawn to the product.
Depending on how the store looks, you might invest a smaller amount of money into appearance (maybe a new coat of paint or light fixtures or something) and more into expanding you product lines or marketing to draw in more customers.
Of course try to get the most bang for your buck :)
Hi Alex, in my mind the answer to your questions is "it depends".
If you're selling a very unique product and your challenge is jsut to have people find their way to you, or you have no competition, then I would say add product. I shop at some very strange places because it's the only place in town I can get that particular widget.
But if that's not the case, then making your place of business visually appealling and comfortable for your customers needs to be a really high priority. Most people return to a business because they've enjoyed the entire shopping experience there - you have the product they need (and maybe others they didn't know they needed or wanted), it's easy to find, the environment is pleasant and conducive to shopping, and the staff are pleasant and helpful. If that's not your business then I think that needs to be a priority.
If your place hasn't been updated in 20-30 years then it undoubtedly needs a makeover (and by your question it seems you realize it too). Updating a place doesn't need to cost an arm and leg. Often de-cluttering and re-arranging prooduct will help tremendously; paint and some new lighting doesn't need to break the bank and is something many owners can handle themselves. Making your place light, bright and comtemporary is a must when you're vying for customers with everyone else. Put yourself in your customers' shoes - would you shop there?
No easy answer here - but strive to make the shopping experience as pleasant and enjoyable as possible for your customer and you will build business.
In this "Busy, no time, gotta go" world selection is key. You mentioned losing sales due to poor selection but didn't mention they left to buy somewhere else because of the poor decor. If you have a loyal customer base why spend more on advertising than selection? If you already have people in the door not buying what'll make them buy? Maybe the 80 year old ambience is one of the reasons you have loyal customers and to change that might be a killer.
If I had a 80YO store in town I wouldn't update it to trendy, I'd make it look like a brand spanking new 80YO store, saving money, and I would focus making the selection more trendy and capturing more sales.
But then again all I really know how to do is Wallup!
It depends on what you're selling, I think...
If you're opening a Dollar Store or a Ross (where you can Dress For Less!) then the presentation doesn't really matter at all... and as someone who's wife regularly drags him into these sorts of stores I can personally attest to this- it usually seems like a small bomb went off and products were just left wherever they fell. :-)
On the other hand, if I walk into (just for example) my local Mercedes Benz dealership then the presentation had better be just right, because I'm going to expect the presentation to match the upscale advertising, the reputation for 'luxury,' and the inflated sticker price...