How to Create In-Store Ambience

Different sized light bulbs hanging from a fixture inside of a store

First impressions can go a long way in business, especially in brick-and-mortar stores. When customers enter your small business, they are likely already forming assumptions based on what they see in front of them. It’s important to think about what message you want to convey. How do you want them to feel while they are shopping? What is your desired outcome with each customer interaction?

Consider that 84% of consumers say they would return to a store that had a pleasant atmosphere. Answering these questions and assessing whether your store is helping or hurting customers’ impressions are important first steps in developing an in-store ambience that can help your small business grow and succeed.

A store’s ambience (aka the feel and mood) can encompass several elements, from background music to the layout of the space. If you have an established brand and product/service line but feel it’s not being communicated effectively in-store, keep reading for tips on boosting your customers’ in-store experience.

Create a Positive Brand Experience with Printed Materials

Brand storytelling can play a significant role in your small business; it’s essentially your company’s personality and is what helps position it within your market. You want your business to stand out from competitors, become recognizable among your target audience, and generate an emotional connection to create a loyal customer base. Creating branded materials can help achieve that.

Print materials can be a tangible reflection of your brand’s story. Posters and banners for example can be a great way to communicate to the public what your small business is about.  Your sales collateral can be a great vehicle to share your brand’s values or mission statement. Business cards are a great reminder of what your brand is about at a glance. But remember that in branding, consistency is key! Adding in key elements like your logo and brand colours can help generate recognition.

Offer Welcoming Sights, Scents, and Sounds

People use their senses to respond to the world around them. Seventy eight per cent of consumers claim that the reason they choose to shop in a store versus online is because of the enjoyable in-store atmosphere.  Imagine a customer entering a store and being immediately welcomed by the smell of dust, the sight of over-crowded inventory, and blasting music. For most, this will put them off and potentially decrease the chance of them returning.

You might not have ever asked yourself this question before, but consider how do you want your business to smell? Scent can play a massive role in business that there’s such a thing as “scent marketing.” Picking a scent that matches the type of atmosphere you want to project (i.e., happy, fun, bright, etc.) is key but is subjective to your business. When a business is nicely scented, one in two consumers indicate that it lifts their mood, while 81% of consumers globally have been positively impacted by in-store scent elements. If you sell a certain scented item, try using it as your store’s scent; it can be a great way to make a sale if customers enjoy it. However, be aware that some customers might be sensitive to scent; you don’t want it to be overwhelming.

The same goes for music. 85% of consumers say that music is the top factor to lift their mood in-store. The music you are playing is essentially the soundtrack for your business—how do you want it to sound? If your audience is younger, playing viral hits might be ideal. However, it should align with the products and services you offer. For example, if you sell essential oils and your goal is for your customers to feel tranquil when they enter your store, choosing relaxing instrumentals might be the way to go. Why is music so important? 46% of consumers say music makes them stay longer in a store, which is a significant plus for business owners, and 57% say they may disengage if brands make poor music choices.

Your lighting can also be important. If you’re going for a moody feel, ambient or dim lights might set the scene, as a store’s lighting can impact how consumers feel. For instance, warm light can be relaxing, but too warm can make consumers feel tired. Find a happy medium that will best illuminate your store and products, whether that be through lighting or natural light, while still communicating the feel you want to offer customers.

When a business creates an enjoyable atmosphere through music, visuals, and scent, it has been reportedthat 90% of consumers are more likely to return.

Maintain Cleanliness and Comfortable Temperature

What your customers look at and how they feel in your store contributes to the ambience. Keeping things clean and neat and providing ample space for them to roam about your store can help reduce feelings of over crowdedness and promote safety. Meanwhile, maintaining the in-store temperature can play a role in how that customer will feel as they roam—too hot and too cold may mean they want to leave faster.

Provide Superior Customer Service

Whether you have a team of employees or you, the business owner, are at the front of your store greeting customers, ensuring customers feel seen is key. Having a cheerful, positive team can help set the mood for your store as soon as your customers enter, and it comes down to providing a positive customer experience throughout their time that can help establish how that customer will feel while looking around.

With 92% of consumers agreeing that a positive customer service experience makes them more inclined to make an additional purchase and 69% saying they made purchase decisions based on the quality of customer service, ensure you and your team are providing a high level of customer service and meeting the needs of your customers.

Small Business Solutions with The UPS Store

Looking for Small Business Solutions to support your business? The UPS Store in a neighbourhood near you can help. Our printing services can help you create an in-store ambience and branded experience to take your small business to the next level. Visit your nearest store today!

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