Small businesses and freelancers rarely start with a physical store or an office that isn’t a co-working space. I’ve a friend who started his ribs business from his parents’ kitchen. He would deliver smoked ribs to nearby cities and got word out of his business through active social media. Eventually, he earned enough money to hire a delivery man and buy a delivery motorcycle. After months of networking and gaining visibility, he finally saved enough to open a physical store.
His story is one of millions of small business owners deciding to take a big leap from an online presence or shared space to getting their own office space. Many SMEs choose not to have a physical store when they start because not only can opening online stores instead save on overhead costs and the daily expenses of running a business (a Facebook or Instagram store is free; a tiny commercial space for rent in a street with high foot traffic isn’t), but many business owners don’t have enough capital to start with a physical store.
Once they do, however, one huge mistake small businesses make is to skimp on accessories or decorations to beautify the store inside and out. This is obviously an attempt to save on money, but the dollars you could be saving if you choose not to care about aesthetics could be costing you from potential customers. Some customers may be put-off or ignore your store because of a bad exterior, and then think your store provides low-quality products and services because of ugly interior.
It’s What’s on the Outside That Counts
If people always try to but their best foot forward, the same applies to your store. Would you eat in a restaurant that has no external indication that it actually is a restaurant? And do you think high-quality employees will want to work in an ugly office that could demotivate them from being productive?
According to The Nature Conservancy, having a great exterior can put customers in a good mood to spend up to 12 percent more on goods compared to regular stores with only standard landscaping. As long as it looks high-quality, small business owners will find that customers will linger longer in their store, which could lead to more sales.
What’s the best way to address this? Invest in long-term exteriors that last longer so you’re getting the most value out of your money. If you have control over the parking lot, garden, and other exterior factors of your business’ building, you’ll want to beautify it with more than just a few creative light fixtures. Commercial landscaping services can maintain an aesthetically pleasing look, while hardscapes such as walkways, driveways, and parking lots look so much better when there are less cracks and potholes. Not to mention, you could be avoiding a personal injury case from visitors and staff who trip and injure themselves due to faulty ground.
Beauty Is Store-Deep
Once you attract your customers from the outside, the goal now is not just to let them leave with your products or having experienced your services. You also need to convince them that your store is worth returning to instead of them searching elsewhere and patronizing your competitors. And while part of that is actually providing quality products and services, it means providing interior design that makes them feel comfortable.
That doesn’t mean going Etsy and buying the trendiest décor, though, especially considering that trends easily come and go and you could be stuck with ugly and outdated decorations you’ve just wasted money on. When setting up your store, controlling simple factors such as the wall colors, lighting, appropriate equipment, and furniture can do wonders for your overall aesthetic.
Consider the business you’re going for. A dim lighting setting could work for a Zen massage service, but it wouldn’t work for a clothes shop that needs natural lighting. If you’re a small restaurant, take a look at these restaurant color schemes and the ways you can manipulate your customers to feel a certain way when entering your store.
While your store’s interior and exterior design isn’t what you’re selling to your customers, it can be what helps you attract foot traffic into your store and then get them to come back. Buying landscaping services or people to paint your store may be an added cost to your expenses, a cost many small businesses try to avoid, improving the way your business looks inside and out is an investment that increases store visibility and gets more people to give your store a chance.