By Brooke Chaplan

Brick and mortar stores not only have to deal with local competition and selective customers, but also online competitors who offer cheaper prices and a better selection. Below introduces four ways to improve the appearance of your store and keep customers coming back. You don’t have to lose out just because you keep a physical location.

The Sound of Music
Music can either contribute to or detract from the shopping experience in your store. Tunes that are fast paced or lyrical may actually distract consumers because they tend to focus on words or rhythms instead of products. Instrumental music is always the best choice because it has familiar themes, but doesn’t distract. Research shows that music can be strategically used to promote brand awareness, enhance the customer’s experience, and reinforce consumer expectations. For instance, you might use soothing soundscapes in a store that offers more browsing time, or playful happy beats in a place that caters to more indulgent purchases.

The Right Colors
Psychological research consistently reveals that colors have a profound effect on people’s perceptions and experiences. Certain brighter colors excite, while others soothe. For example, a home improvement store can create an inviting atmosphere that mimics a friendly home living room by simply copying the colors and designs of popular model homes. On the other hand, an eco-friendly business will benefit from earthy colors, such as deep green and blue, while a prestigious law firm in the historic district will benefit from rustic, traditional colors. Stick to the familiar and your environment, and make it a space people will come back to.

Re-think Store Layout
Customers respond better to intuitive store layouts. After they step into a store, the level of comfort and curiosity is strongly influenced by the initial view of products and the overall design. Store managers should create visual clues that entice customers along the pathway. For instance, an engaging display with appropriate lighting will direct customers inward. However, many store managers make the mistake of mechanically lining up displays or crowding them at the entrance. This may create the sense of clutter and confusion. Be sure to design layouts that are open and angled with plenty of room for customers to move closer in and interact with products.

Minor Maintenance
Regular maintenance will improve the internal and external appearance of the store. Be sure to clean glass, awnings, and merchandise display cases because these are the first things a customer sees before entering a store. Regularly check and if necessary, launder or replace floor mats. Regardless of whether you the store has carpet or hard floors, perform quarterly deep floor cleaning. This will improve the appearance and double the life of the floor. In addition to improving the front display, curb appeal can be increased through proper ground keeping and outside lighting. A busy merchant might benefit from getting third party professionals to help with repairs as well. Companies like Mr Go-Glass work with retailers to repair and re-work storefront layouts, and can help you save time with all your other responsibilities.

In the end, improving the look of your store’s physical location will result in better customer satisfaction and ultimately higher sales.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.