Columns You Have 10 Seconds to Make a First Impression. Use Your Time Wisely. Customers do this when they see your storefront. Published 3 years ago on April 19, 2018 By Tom Crossman PETS+ May 2018 Issue Share Tweet SNAP JUDGMENTS ARE made all day long: Yes or no? Customers do this when they see your storefront. You have 10 seconds or less to make a great first impression. As merchants we tend to focus on what happens inside the store — the buying, merchandising, staffing, customer service, etc. But it’s important to realize that once the customers are in the store, they’re already shopping. They’ve probably come in for food or shampoo, and will perhaps pick up a few extra things — a toy or some treats. Maybe they have a new puppy and need lots of things! But most passersby are not interested in buying supplies or an item that makes your store a destination. They may not have a pet, but maybe they are thinking about it. Maybe their friend has a new puppy, or someone’s mentioned needing a winter coat for their pet. Perhaps the passerby hasn’t even considered buying a gift for them. Give them the idea! Stand 20 feet from your storefront and look at it from multiple angles. Then make some snap judgments about it. Does it look well kept? Any trash on the ground or dirty windows? Can you see into the store clearly? Does the store look tidy and bright? Are there any graphics or flyers adhered to the window blocking the view? Your window display should be the view into the store itself. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have product in the window, but it should be small, focused displays. A window is not the place to put all the new items you carry. Focus on a particular group of items. Trying to get as much product in there as possible defeats the purpose of having a display. Don’t distract the customer with very small items or a window full of random products. It makes your store look cluttered and untidy. Customers are seeing your storefront from some distance. If it’s not clear what the items are, or what the display is about, you’ve already lost them. And that judgment was made in 10 seconds or less. Advertisement You should have a logo on the window. I like to do logos in frosted, translucent vinyl. It looks like etched glass, and as it’s white, it pops in the light. Any other graphics adhered to the glass should be decorative and minimal. Something whimsical, like tree shapes or filigree. But keep in mind, the impact when seeing a store comes from the store interior itself. Remember how drug stores used to put tons of pegged and stacked product in their windows? It looked busy, and the items were randomly put together. However, in the last seven years or so, the big guys have replaced the product with graphics. The graphics communicate a strong marketing message instantly. It also differentiates the stores from one another. And like a pet store, people already have a good idea of what’s sold in a drug store. They don’t need to see everything in the window. I know an aquarium store that has painted the exterior glass with a mural! And not a good one. As a customer, you don’t have any idea about the store itself. The immediate judgment is that it’s dirty and dark. And in this instance, it is an outstanding aquarium store! The best one I’ve ever seen. But if you’re a person just thinking about the getting an aquarium, this is not the store you’ll be shopping at. You’ll make a snap judgment about it. You’ll go to a store that looks tidy and clean. First impressions are our enemy or our friend. Judgments are made very, very quickly. Yes or no? Snap! Advertisement Related Topics:Pets+ May'18Tom Crossman click to Comment(Comment) Tom Crossman Tom Crossman has designed entertainment centers and retail stores for FAO Schwarz, Dollywood and Toys ‘R’ Us. He was a featured speaker at Global Pet Expo in 2018. His work can be seen at tomcrossman.com, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Advertisement You may like Take the Stress Out of Your Customers’ Checkout Experience How 3 Lines Can Turn You Into a Merchandising Pro The Ultimate Event-Planning Guide From PETS+ Promoted Headlines Category Spotlight: Terry Naturally Animal Health Category Spotlight: eTailPet Are You Ready For Adventures Beyond The Backyard? Tall Tails Advertisement Latest Trending Videos Press Releases2 mins ago Prairie Dog Pet Products Appoints New CEO Press Releases7 mins ago Veramaris Pets Expands Market Potential with FDA’s GRAS Approval Columns9 hours ago 5 Ways to Prepare Your Salon for the Holidays Trace's Store School11 hours ago Video: Trace’s Store School Covers Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Press Releases22 hours ago EQyss Starts Producing Human and Pharmaceutical-Grade Hand Sanitizer True Tales3 days ago Employees: Leave Your Pot at Home to Keep Your Job Columns1 week ago How Beer Helped Me Promote My Pet Business Columns7 days ago 3 Things Customers Want and Need from Pet Businesses Columns1 week ago 5 Consumer Behavior Trends Reshaping Holiday Shopping Candace D'Agnolo1 week ago Complete These 7 Important Tasks at Your Pet Business Before the End of 2020 Trace's Store School11 hours ago Video: Trace’s Store School Covers Lessons Learned from COVID-19 America's Coolest2 weeks ago Video: Take a Tour of Bark Life in Seminole, FL Trace's Store School2 weeks ago Video: Learn How to Do Holiday on a Budget at Trace’s Store School America's Coolest3 weeks ago Video: Take a Tour of Four Muddy Paws in St. Louis Jim Ackerman3 weeks ago Video: Don’t Be Afraid to Run Multiple Pet-Business Marketing Promotions at Once Advertisement Advertisement SubscribeBULLETINS Get the most important newsand business ideas from PETS+. Facebook Most Popular True Tales3 days ago Employees: Leave Your Pot at Home to Keep Your Job Columns1 week ago How Beer Helped Me Promote My Pet Business Columns7 days ago 3 Things Customers Want and Need from Pet Businesses Columns1 week ago 5 Consumer Behavior Trends Reshaping Holiday Shopping Candace D'Agnolo1 week ago Complete These 7 Important Tasks at Your Pet Business Before the End of 2020 Headlines7 days ago Yelp to Flag Businesses Accused of Racism With ‘Consumer Alerts’ Photo Gallery3 days ago 19 Photos That Show Why Dexter’s Deli Is One of America’s Coolest Pet Stores Behind the Pages1 week ago Podcast: Should You Carry Poop Bags Featuring the Faces of Donald Trump and Joe Biden?