The importance of creating an atmosphere in a retail store

The image a retail company wants to project is clearly projected by the atmosphere they create within the stores. Although you may not be able to define or measure an atmosphere, a customer will be able to feel it. When a store is enticing, not only does it attract customers, but also enhances their experience.

In consumer societies, such as the UK and the US, customers increasingly seek more from retail shopping than just to find specific products as shopping is now an activity in its own right. It has been shown in surveys that less than a quarter of shoppers in malls actually went in there to shop for a specific item, so rather than looking for for ‘that item’ consumers often use shopping to reduce loneliness and boredom, avoid problems and obligations within their lives, seek fulfilment of their fantasies or to simply just entertain themselves. So, if it is this that motivates many consumers, this needs to be take into consideration when the store is designed.

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Retailers such as Hollister, shown in the image above, hire designers and architects to create the ‘right’ atmosphere and spend extortionate amounts of money on things such as decorative lighting, wooden floors and special hangers.There are times when this does work, and equally there are times when is doesn’t. At the time that you get a professional designer to layout your store they will already have an idea of what the store should look like to make it be original- in there eyes. However, this can backfire as it could ironically mean that by trying to look original like every other store means your store looks like all the others trying to do this.

Personally, I think when a company develops the concept of the store that they are looking for, it works best. For an example, if you had a children’s store you could go all out and have a rotating floor in the middle of the store, a slide at the other going from one end of the store all the way to the exit, with excitable music in the background and have children’s characters to play with the customers. Some customers will adore it and others will think it is bizarre- and may even dislike it. But ultimately people will remember your store and it’s true originality.

Stores can just provide entertainment value to customers. Just like how a comical advert entertains people for long enough to process a message through, a store can entertain customers for long enough so that they purchase their goods. For example, I noticed in a Waterstones store there was a section where customers could sit down, play and read. Therefore attracting families so they are able to enjoy their experience and linger in the store.

When you take in mind that customers can easily shop from the comfort of their own home, it is important that the retail store is a special place that is worth the time going to.

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