By Ruth Mellergaard
Let’s imagine that you are a customer walking or driving down the street or you’re
on your phone, looking for somewhere to buy something specific. What catches
your eye? A retailer has 3 seconds to catch your attention. You are the
customer – which would attract you? Using the process called STAR, let’s walk
through a storefront renovation.
S = SITUATION
T = TASK
A = ACTION
R = RESULTS
What was the Situation at Bill le Boeuf Jewellers, in Barrie, Ontario, Canada? This is a great location owned by the tenant. The dated design did nothing to entice customers into the store. The combination of split stone on the main level and brick on the second visually cut the building in half; the signs were overwhelming – to many in a straight line; the pullout awning was dated; the windows a poor proportion. The displays in the windows were old style plus they weren’t well lit. From an environmental point of view, rehabbing an older building is a winning strategy. Initial thoughts? This is an old fashioned, drab building. What do you think customers infer about the merchandise when they think these thoughts? Our Task is to increase customer attention and thereby sales, by improving this presentation. If we can do this using “green” building products, so
much the better. We thought about what a contemporary store looks, feels and exemplifies. We wanted to create a sense of culture and community with the storefront that satisfied the owners, staff and customers. One that belongs in downtown Barrie. We wanted them to instantly fall in love with the final design.
What Actions can we take to improve the visual, interest customers and jump
1. Visually separate the entrance to the 2nd floor apartments from the retail space.
2. Raise the retail building segment to make it a more important building and separate the retail from the residential with a visual border.
3. Install new windows on the 2nd floor, not as wide but double paned, more energy efficient, better frames and easier opening for the tenants.
4. Raise the height of the main floor windows resulting in better displays, more daylight into the store, better energy efficiency due to high quality windows.
5. Add new awnings with lettering which highlights store expertise.
6. Reuse all of the existing signage – the diamond, the store name and the exterior wall plaque – in the design of the new storefront. This contributed less to the landfill plus is a tie to the history of the store. The jeweler’s father started the business and these were his signs.
7. Originally the idea was to emphasize the color blue in the renovation but the owners decided that a more graphic, classic color scheme – black, white and grey would age better. Dryvit improves the insulation of the front of the building, is an easy to clean material and very cost effective. Large, glossy black porcelain tiles resist the sun, rain and snow that this location experiences and is also easy to clean. The existing quarry tile floor at the entrance was power washed, re-grouted and the concrete strip between the sidewalk and the tile replaced.
8. The display fixtures in the windows are internally illuminated with LED light strips. Simple, decorative pendant lights above those displays increase the light in the cases (they have glass tops) and are a handsome decorative element in the windows. Don’t forget that your windows are your in-person social media.
The Result is a new face, not only on the building, but also for the jeweler’s business, inviting existing, new and tourist customers into the store. It is a “green” story you can tell your customers, more and more care about these issues. People love the materiality of the storefront. The interior was also gutted and renovated but that’s another story. Why not try the STAR process on your store?