First Impressions are the Only Impressions

From an early age I was taught not to judge a book by it’s cover. Yet, that’s exactly how I decide which stores I’ll shop at. Psychology experts say that many people, if not all, will judge a new environment within the first seven seconds of interaction and their opinion will most likely never change. As much as I hate to admit that truth, I’m guilty. Neat, inviting and polished curb appeal is the first step to driving more foot traffic to your business.

Does Curb Appeal Really Matter

A recent poll found that eighty percent of customers are willing to try a new store if the exterior is clean and inviting. After conducting an Instagram poll of my own, asking followers if they would still shop at a store with poor curb appeal, sixty seven percent said no. Making it clear that these first impressions of curb appeal have a significant impact on your bottom line. There’s something about going into a store and physically seeing and holding an item before purchasing, Of course instant gratification of leaving with it at that moment is always satisfying. With that being said, even with convenience of online shopping and delivery it still can’t compete with an inviting storefront that sends the message that you have invested time in the care of your business and shoppers. Survey results found that ninety-five percent of consumers consider a stores exterior appearance. An important factor when deciding upon a place to shop, More than half will avoid a store if the exterior appears to be poorly maintained, myself included.

Curb Appeal Starts Where You Park

Fourteen percent of shoppers will stop visiting a location if the store does not meet their expected level of cleanliness, and it starts in the parking lot. We as people judge everything within our environment and the parking lot is the first thing we see. I will drive a “county-mile” to avoid a dirty, dim-lit parking lot that looks rundown and left to rot. Regular parking lot cleaning and frequent pressure washing might be costly, but it can be worth it if means patrons feel safer, more relaxed and comfortable in their environment. An unclean lot can make a customer feel uneasy and ask yourself the questions, “am I going to be robbed”, “is my car going to be broken into”, “am I going to be kidnapped?”. That’s why having a cleaning and maintenance plan is so important for your business. The more at ease the consumer feels, the longer they will stay in the store. More time spent in the store leads to more purchases. The cost of maintenance is worth the return in the long run.

Clean Window Curb Appeal

Curb appeal doesn’t just mean the parking lot. As a mom of two, I loathe finger prints on windows, mirrors, and walls but that’s for another day. Dirty windows that looked like a small child licked the glass or rubbed whatever candy that just finished all over the windows and doors is a huge turn off for me. It shows neglect to details on the stores end. If the door and windows are dirty and the impression of curb appeal is “yuck” I will pas it on by. Maybe cleanliness isn’t your concern, but if the windows are dirty and grimy, how can you see the displays and if you can’t see the displays inside how are you going to know if there are products your interested in? Customers are more likely to go in a store with clean windows that they can clearly see the merchandise on the shelves even if they weren’t in the market for what your store is selling. Window shopping is a pass time for many of us on a budget. However, we all make a mental note about something we saw in a storefront we want to return to purchase. A clean window is the start of a customer returning to your store for the item they noted and possibly becoming a repeat customer. My DH always says “maintenance is everything”. He’s right, especially in the retail market. Curb appeal that looks like the owners love their store give the appeal they will love their customers.

-Melissa W.