Having owned my own store and currently running an online shopping environment (Sweet Evangelines) I often wonder what makes a selling environment great.
What is it that makes people buy?
They may already have a list of things to look for when they head into your shop or have in mind what they’d like to eat when they sit down to eat at your restaurant. So, aside from great customer service, what can you do to persuade potential customers to part with a little extra cash?
From playing music that encourages a certain mood through to careful product placement and even selecting certain shades for your décor, there are hundreds of psychological cues that you can use to prompt them to spend. This post will introduce some of the most common sales environment tricks of the retail and restaurant trades and you don’t need to be a big chain to see benefits from putting them into practice.
We all know the power of a good window display in drawing in customers but how do you step things up a gear to make your shop really stand out from the crowd? In a world where many shoppers are being lured online, it’s key to create a smooth experience for those who step in store. It’s common to put new displays or discounted goods in key line of sight to attract attention and there are lots of similar tactics that could help you increase customer spend once they step inside.
Firstly, take your time to plan your customer’s route around the store, how can you use your floor layout to guide them so they don’t miss key items? In a supermarket it’s common to put fresh fruit and vegetables at the front along with bakery items for extra sensory appeal but when it comes to picking up essentials like milk you’ll often find you need to head to the back of the store, passing lots of things that may not be on your list on the way. This technique of putting must-have items at the back works just as well in different types of stores providing your customers don’t assume that what they need isn’t on sale.
Your branding is likely play a huge part in how you decorate your shop but it’s good to bear in mind some tested techniques for encouraging sales too. For example, did you know that the colour red has been found to trigger faster reactions? This is why it’s often used to highlight discounts and deals and within sale areas generally, check out this study from the University of Rochester for more information.
Creating a welcoming environment means regulating the light and temperature of your store and perhaps matching any music played to your target demographic, but what happens if you change the speed of the music that is playing? Whether we’re jogging or shopping, we tend to naturally assume the speed of any background music so if you don’t want your customers to hurry out of the door you’ll want to make sure there’s a mix of slow numbers on your playlist. The same goes for other sales environments such as restaurants too…
Descriptive menus, well-trained staff who know the specials and sitting attractive people at the windows, these are the little things that bars and restaurants do habitually to help persuade people to come through the door. However, it’s perfectly possible to build a bar restaurant layout that lends itself to selling even before anyone heads through the door. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
Having your bar at the front of your restaurant is in many ways a no-brainer, it’s more convenient as it means you don’t have guests traipsing passed diners and disturbing their meal. As an added bonus positioning the bar at the front can bring in passers by who when served well may consider staying for food or returning to eat at a later date. It’s also becoming more and more common to see the action of the kitchen put on show – like the positioning of the fresh fruit and vegetable area in the supermarket giving your guests a sneak peek at food preparation can reassure them of the authenticity and quality of your produce. Just make sure there are no staff arguments that are also put on display.
It’s common to have the kitchen at the back, to the side or even as an island in the centre of service and whichever layout you opt for you’ll need to carefully consider the flow of visitors. Can they easily move from bar to table? Are toilets also easy to find? Do you have a logical area for overspill? While outdoor drinking and dining areas were once reserved for the warmth of the Mediterranean many restaurants are now thinking longer and harder about how to make the best use of their space all year round. This means some proprietors are upgrading entire walls and putting full-length bi-fold doors in place to allow easier movement of traffic in summer months. Contemporary styles like these from Creativedoors fold back to encourage mingling from outside to the bar and in cooler months bi-folds can help you showcase what you have on offer to passers by too.
If you’re still umm-ing and aah-ing over a suitable colour scheme, recent research conducted on behalf of Tork found that green environments were seen as relaxing and calming while orange eateries are modern, welcoming and exciting. Yellow is a stimulating shade that could also increase stress levels and if your target diner is dating couples you may want to stay clear of shades of blue.
If you’re still undecided about what direction you’d like to take for a restaurant refresh or refurb, you could visit the Restaurant Design Show this Autumn.