Want new customers? Then check your 'curb appeal'

Publish Date: 
May 16, 2011

You may think your great customer service or your competitive prices will entice new customers. But if you don't sweep your parking lot or keep up with the landscaping, you might be in trouble.

More than two-thirds of consumers say they have avoided a place of business based on how it looks from the street. So say the results from a recent survey conducted by market research and consulting firm Morpace.

“We asked consumers how much of an impact a retail store’s appearance has [from the street] on their decision to go in,” researchers explain. “The results indicated that physical appearance does matter, significantly. And it suggests that retailers in all industries – from automotive to restaurants to big box – should focus on the external presentation of their building to ensure there are satisfied customers inside.”

Over half of the consumers polled said they have avoided a business all together because “it looked dirty from the outside,” according to researchers. “These consumers form an opinion of a business based on physical presence, which heavily influences their decision to shop at a location.”

More than 80 percent of consumers in the survey acknowledged shopping only once at a location and then never returning because the business did not meet their expectations – i.e. they received poor customer service (68 percent), the store was disorganized or they could not find what they were looking for (53 percent), and/or the business looked “dirty” (32 percent).

So wash your windows, mow the lawn, sweep the sidewalk -- and even then, don’t assume that what looks good to you will entice your target audience; instead, think of how the buyer sees your store. “The perceptions that consumers have of the ‘look’ of a retail storefront may not agree with the retailers’. After all, the expectations consumers have are developed largely by what your competitors are doing,” say researchers.

Posted by Mary Slepicka