Growing Your Business with Curb Appeal and Brand Positioning

 

These days, you can't just open a business and expect it to grow. There is always competition, and your business needs to stand out. Quality of work and pricing are two factors that give you an advantage over your competitors. Curb appeal is another. Your business's appearance, whether you're in retail, wholesale or service, affects the impression people have of you, your staff and your company. It also affects the perceived value of the product you're selling. Using curb appeal to build a certain perception in customers' minds is known as “brand positioning.” You want to position your brand in the consumer's mind as being better than your competition. One way to do this is by making your place of business look and feel good.

Outer Appearance

The parking lot, porch and signage outside your store are just as important as what's inside. These are the first things a customer sees as she is driving or walking by. They will impact her first impression of your business and her decision to either come in and look around or pass right by. Keep your parking lot and porch area clean, well-lit and well-maintained and choose a sign that represents your business well. There are many different types of signs. Some can be changed to advertise sales or new products and some are digital and allow for time and temperature displays. Some attract more attention than others and some are more flexible than others. Pick one that accurately reflects your business or products and is appealing to your intended customer. Make sure it's not outdated, as old signs are often overlooked.

Your building is the other half of your business's outer curb appeal. Make sure the building itself in is good repair. Use colorful banners and sandwich signs to announce current promotions, and make sure they match your storefront sign. A stylish, well-coordinated window display is another great way to invite people in. Giving a customer a taste of what's inside will entice them to open your door and explore further.

Inner Appearance

Getting a customer in the door is not the last step. Creating an attractive, pleasant environment inside your store or office is essential to getting customers to spend time there, come back in the future and recommend your business to others. A high quality environment adds perceived value to your products.

Music, decor, themes and styles all play into your store's atmosphere. While noise can irritate or stress a potential customer and make them want to leave, light music contributes to peace and relaxation and makes them want to linger. Your theme must be cohesive and appealing and, if possible, it should match your product or service. If you're running a car repair business, decorating with antique gas station signs and model cars will make more sense than decorating with cowboy hats and horse saddles. If you're running a retail electronics shop, you may want to decorate with very modern furniture and light fixtures and create a comfortable area where customers can sit and try out new phones and tablets. Trim work, paint, carpet, curtains and desks can all be used to add perceived value to your products by making the atmosphere in which they're sold more appealing.

The layout of your store is just as important as its look and feel. Congestion distracts people and stresses them out. It makes them feel rushed. Your layout should allow for the free flow of traffic, especially in places where there will be more of it, like check-out lanes or cashier's desks. If you're having a sale or showcasing unique items, put them in places where they'll jump out at customers as they walk the aisles and make sure there is space for the customer to stay and look them over.

Brand positioning through curb appeal is a strategy that will help grow any type of business. It adds value to you, your staff and your products or services. A great way to enhance your curb appeal is to put yourself in the customer's shoes. Go to you're competitors' places of business with a notebook in hand and jot down things you see, hear and experience that change your impression of the company either in a good way or a bad way. Keep these things in mind as you design the inner and outer look of your store and you'll be on your way to attracting new customers and positioning your company as topmost in their minds.