Curb appeal is something that real estate agents, homeowners, and home buyers talk about a lot. It plays an important role in the value of a home and how others perceive it. But did you know that it also has a significant impact on retail stores and offices?
If you’ve never taken the time to strategically optimize and design your company’s curb appeal, now’s the time. There’s a lot hanging in the balance.
Why Curb Appeal Matters
While generally thought of in terms of homeownership and selling a house, curb appeal might actually be more important for retail stores and other businesses with physical offices that customers frequent.
“First impressions are typically formed in a matter of seconds,” business consultant Jenna Cyprus writes. “And believe it or not, most customers and clients have already formed an opinion about your business by the time they walk through the doors. They did so by observing your storefront and curb appeal. This opinion – good or bad – doesn’t get reversed easily.”
According to one study on the topic, 70 percent of first-time sales are actually based on curb appeal. In other words, it’s the magnetic pull of the store’s curb appeal that convinces people to come inside. Once inside the store, there are obviously dozens of other factors that influence a customer to make a purchase, but it’s that initial pull that gives you the chance to win the sale.
In another study, the CCIM Foundation looked at how curb appeal influences people. It found that it exists in three dimensions: architecture, atmosphere, and authenticity. The specific factors that exist within these dimensions include cleanliness, safety, maintenance, landscaping, signage, convenience, entertainment, and social aspects.
Tips for Improving Your Company’s Curb Appeal
You don’t need a six-figure renovation budget to improve your curb appeal and start generating more foot traffic and sales. You simply need to make some strategic changes and spruce things up a bit.
Here are several tips that may be helpful for your store.
1. Upgrade Your Windows and Doors
Spatially, nothing commands more attention at the front of your store than your windows and doors. Customers might not actively think about your windows and doors, but if they’re in poor condition, you can bet it’s going to negatively impact your brand’s image. (Nothing is worse than dirty or cloudy windows.)
If it’s been a while since you last upgraded your exterior glass storefront systems, this is a great time to consider making the investment. It’ll make all of your other upgrades and improvements really pop.
2. Clearly Express Who You Are
Too many businesses are too subtle with their signage and exterior branding. They think they’re being tasteful, but they’re actually making it difficult for customers to identify them.
You don’t need a flashing neon sign or one of those tacky inflatable “tubes” that whip around in the wind. You should, however, clearly express who your business is and what you do. This includes having a sign that you can light up at night.
3. Grab Attention
Again, when we say grab attention, we don’t mean being obnoxious. We mean standing out. If you own a cafe, for example, you could install some simple outdoor lighting that hangs down from a trellis. This creates a cozy and inviting ambiance – particularly at night. If you own a jewelry shop, it might mean creating a window display that people can peer at when walking by.
4. Freshen Up Your Landscaping
Landscaping is a big part of curb appeal. Whether you’re on a busy downtown street with nothing but concrete sidewalks and pavement in front of your store, or you have your own property with a parking lot and green space, fresh landscaping does wonders for first impressions.
The most important thing is to keep your property clean and tidy. You should also plant fresh flowers and plants to invigorate your curb appeal with a little color.
Adding it All Up
As the aforementioned study suggests, as many as 7 out of 10 first-time sales are at least partially influenced by curb appeal. Based on that data point alone, it’s important that you at least rethink your approach and identify a few simple areas for improvement. It could make a massive difference in your business!