In the battle to win back market share from online retailers, Britain’s army of shopkeepers are using their storefronts as the first line of “attack”.
To attract shoppers back to bricks and mortar retailing, both chains and small independents are becoming more creative in the way they get consumers through their doors.
Here are a few ideas for how you can grab attention.
Spring clean your frontage
Never underestimate the importance of first impressions. Shoppers avoid outlets that have grimy or run down frontages.
Keeping on top of general repairs and cleaning around your shopfront is time well spent; including shiny windows and a well swept pavement.
Some local authorities offer grants to shops to help them improve their storefront. There could also be local organisations to support you – such as “In Bloom” teams who help create hanging baskets or tubs to go in front of your shop.
Sign of the times
Is it time to take a fresh look at your signage? Make sure your shop name and logo stand out clearly from a distance, to attract passing foot and vehicle traffic. Is it clear what you sell by a quick glance at your shop? If not, think about signs or displays that give compelling reasons to park up and visit, or pop in as they walk by.
Think about quirky shopfront or window display signs you could use. Such as, hanging clever wording from a redundant bicycle frame or wheelbarrow, or along a recycled bookshelf used as an inexpensive display unit.
The small touches
Storefront improvements could be as simple as varying window displays more often and in an imaginative way. It’s possible to seize not just seasonal opportunities, but also local and national milestones for eye-catching and creative window layouts.
This could include, for example, a mass of rainbows to support your local Pride event, or paraphernalia to support your local football team. Alternatively, have a product of the month you put under the spotlight in or near your shopfront, with props to draw attention to it.
Even something as simple as changing your colour scheme regularly helps. If passersby become over familiar with your shopfront they stop noticing it.
If weather allows, have your shop door open. It looks more welcoming. Can you safely and lawfully put a clothes rail in front of your window, or a table and chairs?
And use your entire window space, such as hanging things tastefully from a clothes line or suspended carefully from the top of the window.
Be a good neighbour
Corner shop owners and anyone who runs a town centre independent could also cash in on ties to their local community. This could include a small and tasteful space in your shop window for local notices. Or put a dog water bowl and a container of dog treats near your door.
High tech shop fronts
Of course, if your working capital stretches to investing in the latest technology, then window displays incorporating Artificial Intelligence are becoming more common.
This includes screens embedded into your windows that provide passersby with interactive product directories.
It won’t be long until Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality equipment and software become more accessible and affordable too. Meaning storefronts could soon feature all sorts of incredible gadgets and gizmos. Keep your business insurance updated to cover any new tech you use, especially in vulnerable areas at the front of your shop.
Be pedestrian aware
Some of the more creative solutions to attracting shoppers could involve setting up additional pavement furniture and accessories, such as special offer “A” boards.
Stay within local planning regulations, including any regarding temporary structures on pavements. Also check your public liability insurance is up to date, in case the worst happens and someone gets injured.