What Message Are You Sending Your Customer?

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Your store conveys a message. Many times we get so involved in the running of the business that we forget to examine if we are sending a proper impression to the customer.  Ask the question of yourself, "What message am I sending to my customer'?

Take just a little time and try an experiment:

Grab a notebook and enter your store with the eyes of a customer.  It helps if you clear your mind of all preconceived notions that you have about your store. 

     1)  Walk into your store and pretend you have never shopped your store before. 

What is the first message that you receive?   Is the store fresh, clean, well thought out, logical, friendly, inviting or is the store old, tired, dirty, non-focused?  We understand that your store is important to you and that you have grown a company to be a stable icon in your community, but have you really looked at your store?  If it is hard to be objective then ask a close associate to help you evaluate your store.  Take notes on your feelings in the overall store and the different departments.  Do you feel energized or do you feel rushed or tired?  These notes will be invaluable when you try to create the mood and atmosphere that you want to project in the future.  Be honest with yourself.  If you are really motivated to improve, then you must be frank about what you see and feel.

     2)  Look at the decor in the store.

What image is the decor sending?  Does the store have a clear vision of who the customer is?  Does your store send a company message that your store is up to date and customer driven?  Many store owners have the illusion that they have to commit to an entire remodel of decor and fixtures.  Decor can be changed out in stages.  3)  Note what departments need the most attention.

Does one particular area feel unusually bare, or lifeless.  If this area is triggering an emotion in you as the store owner, then your customer will also have similar feelings. 

     4)  When you visit each department, take note who is your target audience.

Consumers will always choose stores that they feel are targeted towards them.  Jot down who you feel you are attracting into your store.  With competition building, it is important to fully engage your demographic in your store.  In following posts, we will teach you how to evaluate your demographic.  At this point, we are just trying to establish your current image. 

     5)  Evaluate notes.

Now that you have collected objective notes, you must process them to help you begin to make decisions regarding your store.  This step can prove to be very revealing and also difficult at the same time.  You most likely will discover that you have some work ahead of you.  You will need to take your findings and begin to formulate a plan for the future.  As the old addage goes, we are always moving... the question is: Are you moving fowards or backwards?

By analyzing your store, you will find out what message you are sending your customer.  The next step is to create a plan.  This will show to your customers that you are willing to invest in their shopping experience.