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Does Your Store's Look Match Your Store Image?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Your store's appearance should be a direct reflection of your retailing image and the customers you target, says Lisa Duncan, speaker, retail consultant and president of Duncan & Duncan Enterprises. Whether your style is high-end mountain retreat, country, beachy or contemporary, these elements can help give your store that all-important "wow factor."

First, store owners should ask: Where do my customers live, work and play? What kinds of amenities are they accustomed to? What do women wear when they come into the store? "You want to provide customers with an atmosphere in which they feel comfortable," Duncan says.

For a cozy Aspen store catering to high-end clientele, she created display fixtures from enviro-themed materials. Cut Aspen trees hold items, ornaments are suspended from Norfolk pine in terra-cotta pots, and river rocks scattered inside a large box display jewelry.

For a country store in Texas, draped curtains on windows and a pot-bellied stove give the store the feel of a living room. Apple cider with cinnamon always perks in the back room. Store displays are showcased on wooden tables that remind customers of Grandma's tables. Enlarged photos of rolling hills of Texas bluebonnets, placed on foam board, decorate the walls.

Duncan gave a contemporary store in Manhattan an industrial feel by placing tin lampshades on tracks, and using simple hardware for shelf brackets, perforated supply shelving, and metal picture frames to showcase product on walls.

"Remember that you don't have to go to a fixture store," Duncan says. "Walk around your Home Depot, and you will get so many ideas you won't believe it!"

When creating a seating area, cater to spouses and children. A big leather sofa with a great ottoman and Tiffany lamp will make high-end clientele comfortable. Others will be equally at home with a chair, floor light and a table filled with issues of Golf Digest. Coloring books and crayons provide entertainment for kids.

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