- Display showcases: Do you need enclosed displays? What about your register stand? Are you getting a wrap case at your cash stand? Do you need a jewelry display? Do you need a POP display? What are they made of? Your options are typically some combination of wood, metal, plastic, and/or glass. Your decision should not hang on price. Quality, necessity, and consistency with your theme need to play major roles in your final call.
- Wall displays: What are you hanging from your walls, and what does the display look like? Slatwall and gridwall panels are popular, and the choices don’t stop there. Once you have your panels, you have to choose hooks, brackets, shelves, baskets, and anything else you want to use to display merchandise and/or information. Quality and durability are apparent in your choices. If you walk into a store and only see display materials, a thrift shop and a high-end boutique still look (and feel) completely different.
- Apparel holders: Whether it’s racks, hangers, or mannequins, you have to pick out all of it. Each comes in plenty of choices. Each will look different in your space and beneath your merchandise.
- Shelving, tables, and bins: Once again, each comes in a variety of materials that contribute to a unique “feel” to your store. These things need to be consistent with how you want your customers to feel in your space.
- Sign holders, card holders, and price tags: Yes, even price tag holders matter in your store. Consider buying these in material that is durable and easy to clean. Flexible material like vinyl is a great choice because, unlike plastic, it doesn’t easily crack or show fingerprints.
- Lighting: Remember that lighting sets tone, draws attention, casts shadows, and also needs to be cleaned routinely. If you buy lighting that has small crevices, will someone be able to clean it?
- Smell: What does your store smell like? What should it smell like? Be careful about using scents because A) Just because you can’t smell it anymore doesn’t mean it isn’t potent to your customers, and B) Some people are highly sensitive to fragrances.
- Employees: If and when it is time to hire employees, remember that they, too, set the tone for the store. Work attire should be consistent with the brand. Knowledgeable employees always impress customers. Employee attitude and availability also play big roles in the consumer experience.
Consumers do want retail stores for more than just showrooming. In fact, the demand is so high that some web-only companies have started opening up brick and mortar locations. Take Bonobos, for example. Andy Dunn, the apparel company’s CEO, was proudly adamant about keeping his store exclusively online. He argued that his target market – men – don’t enjoy shopping. A few years later now, Bonobos has ten “guideshops” where consumers can try on clothing before ordering it. Ebay, Etsy, Piperlime, and Warby Parker are other examples of web-only companies who will (or already did) open up physical stores. As it turns out, shopping is a social activity that people enjoy. Furthermore, consumers like to see and experience their purchases before committing. Buying in-store also gets people their item immediately. Amazon may have changed the face of retail forever, but people still want to physically go shopping. So opening a retail store is not the failing idea we recently thought it was. Also, your resources for doing so these days are endless. Before designing or opening your store, you’ve probably already researched omnichannel marketing, location, lease agreements, suppliers, accountants, and all the things the articles tell you that you must look into before you open. The thing is, you still need a store that your customers want to be in. You are probably excited about the design of your store, but did you think about price tag holders? Do you know how your store will smell? These small things add to the overall feel of your store, and they do matter, even if only on a subconscious level. According to Global Purchasing Group, you have four seconds to make the customer want to be in your store. Consumer senses extend beyond the human five. Consumers are emotional. Are you making them comfortable? Motivated? Excited? Relaxed? Figure out how you want them to feel, and remember it when choosing the following often “forgotten” store necessities: