When it comes to maintaining your commercial property, there are a number of reasons – outside of personal pride – you should be aiming to keep it in tip top shape. The reason being, physical brick and mortar commercial locations are having to navigate complex new territory, competing with fluid and popular online sales, increased competition, and quickly adapting markets of customers who are always on the hunt for the newest and greatest.
Commercial retail these days is as much about maintaining your place in your prospective customer’s mind, as it is about cash in the till. The two go hand in hand. To help you decipher when to renovate your commercial property, we’ve assembled our top 5 most compelling signs:
Walk-in Traffic Dips
The trouble with commercial locations is that they’re static; they don’t move, so updating and revamping your look can spell the difference in attracting traffic and losing traffic.
In short, a dip in walk-in traffic can mean that your business lacks visually stimulating curb appeal – and in the retail industry, curb appeal is a big part of customer service. An exterior that beckons your customers to enter – without this form of eyecandy, customers will simply continue on their way. Liken this to the real estate business; a home that doesn’t look appealing from the street won’t attract very many buyers. People want to invest their time and energy into a space that looks like it places value in its appearance.
In order to restore, or increase your level of retail foot traffic, a commercial renovation of your storefront can benefit not only your business, but the sustainability and success of your entire retail community. You can achieve this goal by renovating a new fascia, updating the storefront facade, reimagining an architectural highlight, updating your lighting and signage approach – or even doing some overdue regular maintenance like freshening up the space with a new coat of paint. All of these property upgrades can play a big role in attracting more people into your retail space.
It may be time to update and renovate your commercial space if you’re seeing an increase in negative or stagnant reviews of your location online. Negative reviews are often the result in poor customer service experiences, and your commercial location itself can be to blame for missed opportunities to ‘wow’ your customers.
If your floor layout is cramped and reduces visibility, you could easily be missing out on the chance to provide great customer service, thus selling to a new prospect, or selling to an existing prospect. Negative word of mouth reaches twice as many ears as reports of positive customer service, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. Further, it takes up to 12 positive reviews to make up for a single negative review – meaning that you owe your business the chance to combat these possibilities.
Opening your floorplan to accommodate better customer communication, increase visibility and flow of natural light can all translate into better customer service relationships with new and prospective customers. When you update your retail space, you effectively reduce the likelihood of someone taking to their keyboard to articulate a bad experience; this helps you increase your chances of driving up business, and your reputation.
What goes up, must come down… Or does it?
Consider that when your business experiences a boost in traffic and positive reviews, this isn’t the time to rest on your laurels. When your business is booming the worst thing you could do is stop trying to better your situation. Things do not stay perfect for long, and good landlords and business owners should always strive to find new ways to stay on top. In order to maintain a desired level of business, playing to your businesses strengths can help your business stay at the top – so don’t settle.
When you experience a slew of positive reviews and word-of-mouth marketing, your traffic level will inevitably increase. This translates into the potential for improved visual merchandising. The key word here is “visual.” Shopify tells us that up to 83% of information our brains process stems from our sense of sight, meaning that every inch of unappealing, or unchanging space can end up costing you through boring and ineffective displays.
The International Journal of Engineering Science and Innovative Technology (IJESIT) states that visual merchandising through exterior and interior aesthetic appeal helps to strategically increase attention, desire, and action on the part of the customer. Tools of effective visual merchandising include updated store fixtures like tables, display cases and shelving; lighting; reimagined architecture; and incorporating new technology.
When you experience a boost in business, take some time to assess the potential for improvements to your retail space. Constantly updating and renovating your commercial property is a great way to help stay at the forefront of emerging design trends.
Competition is good; so in order to stay competitive and relevant, retail operations have no choice but to keep up with the Joneses’, so to speak. When the retail marketplace begins to change and adapt to evolving customer traits and opinions, you have to keep up if you’re going to continue to hold onto your current customer loyalty.
Invest time into researching current retail trends and adapt your space to reflect a more up-to-date visual aesthetic, and consider the use of modern colour theory to help coerce a certain feeling or emotion from your desired clientele. Take note of the flow and layout of competing stores to take design cues for making your own space more accessible and accommodating for your customers. And always, always – embrace new technologies that keep your ability to react and interpret emerging trends fast and simple. Renovating and updating your space is only achievable if you know what’s coming down the line.
Efficiency is Lagging
Efficiency holds an overarching definition that can be broken into two camps. Increasing energy-efficiency and ways of sustainably powering and running the infrastructure of your building itself can help to streamline procedural processes, reduce costs, and optimizes how you’re able to do business within your space. When you notice the efficiency of your space begin to slip, it’s time to update your commercial property to keep up with the changing times.
To update your retail space to coincide with eco-efficient methodologies consider trying these ways:
- Replacing incandescent lightbulbs with LED bulbs
- Reuse incoming packing materials and boxes for outgoing shipments and orders
- Eliminate excess packaging
- Email receipts instead of print versions
- Avoid single-use products
- Sell products that hold similar goals towards eco-efficiency and sustainability
Increasing energy efficiency isn’t just good for the planet – it’s also good for your pocketbook, thus increasing profit over time. It’s also becoming an increasingly positive way to brand and market your business to new targeted demographics – like millennials.
Millennials represent the largest growing demographic in the western world, and they’re prioritizing sustainability and a brands’ levels of dedicated eco-friendliness before price, so establishing your business and commercial space as a beacon of ‘green’ will help you to build market share and loyalty among millennials. And, 52% of them agree that they want to spend their cash with brands that are willing to change based on customer opinion and feedback.