A retail store is an outlet to sell small quantities of goods directly from the suppliers to the end customers. For example, Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy or any smallest kiosks at your local mall and also, Amazon, eBay, and Netflix are instances of online retailers. These stores are also known as lifestyle partners these days as the retailers identify with them and build strong exchange relationships.
Does the brand reflect about “feminism” or “love your body” phenomena? Many women and young girls will be attracted to the brand. So it is basically what kind of brand identity the company has created and how the customers relate themselves to it. For any retail store, brand identity is very important. According to a survey, 64% of the shoppers form loyalty with a brand because of shared value system. The excessive competition is kept at bay when your brand identity is unique and stands apart from the crowd. It should resonate with the customer and they should be able to associate themselves with the brand. Retailers, these days, are lifestyle partners, institutions with which the customers build relationships and establish trust. Keeping in top of global trends:
- EMPLOYEE TRAINING:
Employees are basically the personification of the brand. They bring the merchandises to life by speaking about them to the end consumers. They are a crucial constituent of retail store branding. Through a proper training, they should develop an understanding and love towards the brand which they can forward to the customers. The employees can also be trained for personal styling for clothing retail stores.
The employee training in every retail store, be it a large chain of retail outlets or smaller shops, is very necessary. The way in which the employees interact with the customer creates an impression on the minds of the store visitors about the image of the brand. Thus, the employees must be given proper training in order to tell the customers about the brand, its merits, its products, its uses, etc. Usually, every store gives a month of training to its employees before joining the activities of the store.
For example, the employees of an electronic retail store can be trained to know all the features of the technological products that the store offers. Hence, when a customer enters and asks about a particular product, the employee must know the features of that and give all the required information to that specific customer. The consumer can make quick decision to purchase the products on the basis of this swift and detailed information given by the employee.
- MEMORABLE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE:
The in-store experience must be perfect for the customers in terms that it should be pleasing to the eye, nose, and ears of the store visitors. The overall store must make a good impression on the customers so that they can spend a good amount of time inside the store.
Perfect lighting can give a wonderful shopping experience to the customers. Children stores may have a more playful lighting while cosmetic stores may have clear bright lights for consumers to see noticeably. Some retailers opt for very bright lights to make their products shine but that might not represent their products accurately to the consumers. Moody lightings can also be chosen for the store to make it look masculine and edgy.
Music adds charm and a calming effect to the shopping experience. The type of music must be accurately selected to avoid any distractions from the products kept at the store. The volume of the music must be appropriate which means that it must not be that loud so that it sounds like a dance club. The retail store must play music that vibes with the customers and reflects its own brand image in a perfect level of volume.
Scent marketing is basically the technique of using aroma to enhance the brand image of the retail store providing a pleasing customer experience. Sales are increased simultaneously because of improved customer disposition. Smell does affect the mood the customers and that is why the yoga studios use nerve-calming lavender aromas in their store to create a relaxing experience.
For example, a fragrance store can have nice pleasing scents with moody lightings and soft music to create the perfect ambiance for customers to come and choose their favorite fragrances to buy. A flawless blend of all these three elements creates a perfect mood for the customers that are visiting the store.
For example, if you are entering a well-known retail coffee chain, the employees can be taught to ask for your name and put it on the coffee cup. In this way, the customers get a personalized experience of the brand which most of them share on social media platforms which passively influences others to come to the retail store.
- WINDOW DISPLAY:
Display with visual art with the best of your products mentioned outside the store. These products are best-selling and exclusive to your store. The color scheme is very important as the brand recognition depends 80% on the color that it shows. The big brands, as well as the smaller ones, can use colors to establish their brand image. This color scheme is crucial as it has a powerful impact on the consumers psychologically. It is proved that different colors invoke different types of emotions in people such as green is associated with health and peace while blue with trust. So the brand must use colors that the customers can identify with.
The display of the store from outside also changes from season to season. The holiday season calls for beautifully decorating the store from outside. Even festivals and public holidays influence the decoration of the retail stores and the setup is changed from time to time in order to be updated with the society. The window display must be outstanding so as to attract the customers to the store instantaneously.
You can even tell a story through your display by choosing a particular theme and the storyline that goes with it. A unique angle can be created two or three weeks before any particular event or festival and the decoration of the store can be done on the same lines.
For example, a pink color can be used for the display of a girlish retail brand store and its best night-suits for women can be kept in the display along with teddy bears so as to attract young girls to the retail outlet.
Everybody must have heard that first impression is definitely the last impression. Similarly, even in the case of retail outlets, the main store name and the signs posted outside are what gets the customers attracted towards you. What they see first in your retail store brand is what the customer will make judgments upon. The consumers mostly decide on the first look whether to go in and purchase or not.
The branding of the retail store must be so strong that the customers must feel like rushing into the store immediately as they spot the store from outside. The signage can be funny, aspirational, impressionable or feminist, basically whatsoever that goes best with your brand. The customer makes the decision to enter the store half the time based on the signage. If it reads everything under $5, people will immediately think that it’s a cheap store with low-cost items and enter immediately. The signage must also speak about the season. Well-conceived signs during the holidays and festivals must be put up to keep up with the events in people’s lives.
For example, in local retail stores, you can even place a chalkboard out at the store-front which is the cheapest and most creative way to create a powerful first impression. When retailers see other people going in by reading the signboards, they immediately get lured to check what the store has to offer.
- VALUES AND SUSTAINABILITY:
The branding of the retail store must be in such a manner that it executes its social responsibility towards the consumers, society, government, etc. When a retail brand is socially responsible, only then it can sustain in the long run. They must actually concentrate on the current social issues and address them from time to time.
Also, sustainability plays an important role in any business. The retail business must make sure that they are working in an environment-friendly manner. The chemicals used must be few and safer in type. Harmful substances must not be used by them and the brand should invest in renewable sources of energy. This will reduce waste in the long run and use less water. Recyclable materials and products can be used that are ethically-sourced. There must be a ban on the use of plastic bags that results in choking of the sewage system. Furthermore, lighting used can be a low-energy alternative to promote sustainability in the long run.
For example, the trend of feminism and gender equality can be focused on by the business. Consumers can immediately relate to such a business model as it reflects their ideologies and the mouth-to-mouth publicity can be maximized.
- SOCIAL MEDIA:
Social media has become a crucial part in retail store brand building. So the social strategy and the brand-building strategies are implemented hand in hand because the brand must communicate to its customers the touchpoints. This creates awareness among the customers about the brand experience, emotional and relatable elements of the brand which creates trustability among them. Through effective and continuous social media interaction, a retail store brand can establish a remarkable relationship with the customers and pave the way for them to become loyal fans as they trust the brand more. It enables the brand to correct a negative image as well as they can make clear any doubts in the minds of the consumers easily through social media platforms as people today are very active on the internet these days.
There are majorly three platforms for social media that a retail store brand must completely consider i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These are ideal for the merchants as they are customer-centric networks. Appropriate and timely payments are required to get more visibility on these platforms without which the reach of the brand will be limited. These platforms also help you to get a bull’s eye on your target audience. So among millions of users breeding every day actively on social media, you can target your specific consumer base and spread brand awareness accordingly. The content marketed for the retail store branding must also be visually pleasing to create an attractive brand aesthetic.
For example, a clothing retail store can display their best clothing items on social media platforms by hiring famous personalities or social influencers to wear their products and the consumers are attracted to the products when they see their favorite icons wearing them. They especially go the stores to purchase the items.
- CONSISTENCY OF BRAND:
There must a synergy among all the channels in your company for making your brand image powerful and relatable. Construct your brand identity in such a way that each and everybody is well aware about your brand image. In this way, the employees are well aware and when anything goes off-brand, they can bring the company’s attention to it. The major companies have teams completely dedicated to this job of ensuring that all the concerned channels are adhering to the guidelines of the brand.
Weekly meetings could be helpful in the company to find ways to keep the consistency of the brand image of the retail store. Ways in which all the facets of the company such as PR, store managers, product managers, and the marketing department are aligned and are on the same page in order to consistently maintain brand image of the retail store. The primary technique in which this can be done is to address the pain points of the customers and show them ways in which the brand can solve and give remedies to these points. In this manner, the consumers directly relate to the brand easily. When there is a consistent system in place, the brand’s image does not get vanished through miscommunications in touchpoints.
For example, a fast-food retail store brand will give the same experience to the customers through email, website, social media, in-store, basically everywhere by evoking the same emotions of hunger and discount offers. The brand identity is unique and same and exactly that is delivered through every platform to the consumers.
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