In retail, your storefront is like a smile. It greets people and invites everyone on the street or driving by to stop, come inside and shop.
A successful storefront achieves four things:
• It communicates your store’s personality
• It tells people what you sell
• It provides a 24-hour brand icon—just like your smile
• It provokes action, inviting people to come inside and shop
If you’re a destination location, you need a bolder, more dramatic storefront to encourage motorists to pull over and come in to see what you’re selling.
As a billboard, your storefront operates 24 hours a day, advertising your presence on the street.
You can’t avoid spending money when you redo your storefront but there’s no reason you must break the bank.
Here’s how to start the process. Assess what you’ve got by asking yourself:
• What do you like about it?
• What would you like to change?
• When was the last time it was refreshed and changed?
• What does it tell you about your store andmerchandise?
• Is it surprising? Exciting? Eye-catching?
• Does it bring in fresh air and daylight?
The answer to the last question will tell you something about how up-to-date your storefront is. Downtown stores built in the fifties and sixties tend to have three- or four- foot windows, with a closed base, like two eyes in a face. In other words, they have a minimum of glass and they let in little, if any light.
This has two disadvantages:
• It’s not friendly. Larger windows let the staff see out; they let passersby see in. This helps overcome the threshold barrier, which often keeps people from entering a store.
• It doesn’t let in any daylight. Studies have shown that daylight invigorates and cheers us up naturally. It makes us more productive, always good for the bottom line.
Dan Levinson at Ellis Jewelers says, “The extension of our windows has lifted staff morale. We all like it because we can see a lot more on the street and it’s opened-up the store. Light comes in and it’s a lot more open feeling. Customers notice it too.”
“By pushing drywall and windows around a bit, we have gained more space and the openness is great. I’ve really noticed it at our guys’ night and ladies’ night, when we need the room for the crowds of people who come to our events. Plus, on either side of the foyer and entrance, we have beautiful glass boxes on pedestals up against each window pane which allows us to tell four merchandising stories, one in each window.”
That’s another benefit to giving your storefront such a facelift: it creates good community feeling. Dan Levinson can vouch for that advantage. “When we redid the front of our store, GRID/3 suggested something small and surprising—a rich purple awning. It’s made all the difference to us. When people stop to say hello and thanks, they always comment on the purple awning. We stand out as distinctive, even though we fit right into the community.”
Own the look that you create. When you’re bringing attention to your store with an updated storefront, make sure that your store logo is large enough and well enough lit to be clearly seen as part of your new look.
One of the considerations in changing the storefront is your budget. This will help you choose the materials. Materials like stucco, stacked stone and large ceramic tiles are popular these days. By repeating the use of the material inside your store in a fireplace or an accent wall, you develop your store’s distinct branding.
Another trend is toward recycled surfaces like reclaimed barn boards or weathered copper. A word of advice: buy quality materials. Once you make the decision to change your storefront, have it done properly. Don’t let poor quality materials or workmanship compromise your renovations.
Painting the exterior and/or interior of your store is another way to update and refresh the look of your store without breaking the bank. When choosing new colours to repaint your store, do research. Learn about the upcoming color trends at www.swstir.com - Sherwin William’s website has many ideas and pictures to show you some of the newly developed hues and types of paint. Online research is interesting and packed with information. Check out www.benjaminmoore.com for color stories and ideas. The deep purple grey called Shadow is their 2017 color.
Check out fashion magazines, automobile publications and TV shows to see what’s happening in the visual world. What colors are people wearing and choosing as part of their daily lives to inspire and create their personality?
The technology of paint manufacture has changed radically to keep apace with the environmental movement. Today, you can paint your store in the evening and open the next day without worrying about
The key: use low VOC paints. These paints contain a low or non-existent percentage of volatile organic compounds and don’t give off an odor as they dry. Nor is durability an issue. Environmentalism has gone beyond hype to provide green solutions that don’t compromise durability, expense or color palette.
Benjamin Moore’s AURA and Sherwin Williams’ EMERALD paints are two low VOC brand names. We used AURA in our offices and I can vouch for their lack of odor. The morning after the walls were done, we moved in with no problems. Because these paints are stronger, they require fewer coats to give you the finish you want.
The relationships between the colors you use make a place beautiful. It’s not just the color of the walls but the way the color or colors relate to your flooring, showcases and your merchandise display and signage.
If you choose to repaint your store, consider the store in its entirety; every color chosen should relate to every other color in the store. When colors sit side by side in a space, you want them to create a sense of harmony. Attention to detail, including the relationships of color, is the essence of good design.
As paint technology has changed and become more available don’t forget some of the more interesting accent paint types, like chalkboard paint, metallic glazes or Scuffmaster.
Despite the proliferation of online shopping, bricks and mortar continue to offer a fantastic experience, which many of us find invigorating, a wonderful way to spend time with family and friends. Refresh your store with a new storefront or a new coat of paint. Those who have taken the plunge, benefited when they moved from drab to fab.