The ability of a small business to attract customers with its curb appeal can spell the difference between success and failure. Making a good first impression is critical to the success of your business and your customers’ further enchantment of what they see in your store. Simply put, your customers can either have a very good or bad experience by looking at the outside of your store. You can send prospective customers and their dollars somewhere else if they find your storefront unappealing.
It’s the same logic you use when sprucing up your front yard and lawn. You want to impress neighbors, guests, and passersby. You don’t want them to think lowly of your home, so you try your best to clean, organize, and design your front lawn. This is even more crucial in a store’s front. If you want your customers to get past that front door and enter your store, you need to go beyond your outdated and lackluster curb appeal.
Wayfinding and Signage
It’s important to make it easy for your customers to find your store. Many small businesses make the mistake of not putting their address front and center of the store. You don’t have to put it in large fonts on your roof or even your display window. A unique address stone with the number and street name is good enough so that customers will know they are in the right place. This makes it easy for them to pinpoint your store in a GPS device or digital map.
If you are starting out, nobody knows your name yet. Make a logo that will be easy for your target market to remember. Make sure this logo or slogan is visible outside. When displaying your signage, the most important thing to remember is to make it visible for passersby—whether they’re walking on the other side of the street, driving their cars, commuting via public transport, etc.
Walkways, Parking Lot, and Steps
If you are renting a space, you might think that the maintenance of the walkway and steps leading to your store is not your responsibility. Legally, you may be right, although that depends on your contract. But what does it tell your customers if you can’t manage to repair the walkway? Do you want them to get into an accident or do you want them to look for another more appealing store?
Although it might not be your responsibility, it is your obligation to your business to give it a fighting chance. Customers want to feel safe when they leave their cars in the parking lot, so make sure the pavement is smooth and the lot is well-lit. They want to be at ease as they shop in your store, so anything that will contribute to that, you should do.
A stark and vacant pavement outside your store is unappealing. It’s boring and outdated. People want to see the character of a store, so add a small patch of garden outside your store. It can be a simple flower box with some well-chosen plants and shrubs. It will add certain oomph to your curb appeal. If you have a big lot in front of the store, add foliage to “lead” the customers to your front door.
Greenery will always be attractive to people’s eyes, so add as much greenery as you can to your store’s curbside. Depending on the season, spruce up your store’s front yard with seasonal decorations—ghosts for Halloween and snowflakes for Christmas. If this kind of decoration does not suit your business style, you can start a rock garden for a more modern look.
Clean and Organized
A steady stream of customers means that there will be a lot more clutter outside your store than you care to admit. It’s easy to forget about tidying things up when you’re busy catering to your customers. However, a dirty storefront will shoo customers away. No one wants to enter a store that looks messy, dirty, and disorganized. These things will make your store look cheap.
While you cannot expect your staff to deal with this anymore, you can hire a cleaning service weekly. They can pick up the trash, sweep the yard in front of your store, and wash the exterior windows and sidewalks. It would be good if they can do the same indoors, too.
Whenever you feel that you are losing customers or not generating enough attention, look at your store’s curb appeal. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Would you want to visit your store? The answer might surprise you.