Attracting the customers is the crux of the issue of retail trade. How and where the store is positioned on the site affects the retailer’s ability to attract the customers. Therefore in evaluating the existing store facilities or planning future site layouts, the retailer should answer effectively and satisfactorily these three questions. These are:
- How visible is the store?
- Is the store compatible with its surroundings?
- Are store facilities placed for customer convenience ?
1. Ensuring the Store Visibility
The customers must see the store if the retailer wants to achieve the goals of stopping, attracting and inviting the customers. A visible store becomes a part of the consumers mental map of where, to shop for certain product as service. Visual awareness of a stores existence has the short-run benefit of alluring impulse shoppers and the long-run benefit of attracting the future customers who develop a particular need for the retailers products. Architecture is a major factor both ill making the right impression on the consumers and in developing an efficient retail operation. The actual store’s architecture is a compromise between both the aims namely, making an impression and designing a functional facility and services. Ideally, a store should be positioned so that it is clearly visible from the major traffic arteries adjacent to the site. A retailer can improve the store’s visibility be using three interacting factors namely, setback, angle and elevation to his advantage.
- Set back. Reduced visibility is the result of either setting the store too far back from a traffic artery or from positioning it too close to the street. Therefore, ideally a store should be setback far enough to give the passersby a broad perspective of the entire store, but close enough to let them read major signs and see the possible window displays.
- Angle. Visual impression can also be increased or decreased by the angle of the store relative to a traffic artery. A retailer should place the building at an angle to the traffic artery that maximizes the exposure, in positioning the store. Since the store’s front is designed to stop and attract potential customers it should face the major traffic artery when the store’s back or sides are visible to passersby, they too should be attractive and informative.
- Elevation. The elevation of a site can place the retailer’s store above or below the main traffic artery level. Normally, elevation problems can be overcome by landscaping and the use of signs. However, such problems always translate into visibility problems for retailers that badly need exposure. It so happens that most of the consumers do not see stores that are too high as too low.
2. Designing Site Compatibility
By fitting the store to the naturally of the land and the natural habitat a retailer can reap the harvest of benefits in terms of visual impressions. The retailer must consider several issues in designing for site compatibility. (1) The size of the facility should be appropriate to the size of the site. A sense of proportion makes a sea of difference. (2) The architectural design and construction materials should portray a harmonious relationship with immediate environment (3) A certain amount of open space adds to the natural appearance of the store in making it attractive.
3. Planning Consumer Conveniences
The retailer should take into account as to how the position affects consumer convenience while planning the store’s on the site position. Enough parking space for vehicles should be available with sufficient access to these vehicles. Parking lot should allow easy movement-to and fro and turnaround the vehicles. Parking should be with safety and that ensures easy movement of pedestrians to the store.