Thursday, April 21, 2011

Park Your Carcass to Learn a Lot

There’s much you can learn from spending time poking around parking lots or from sitting around watching what happens there:
  • If you want people to perceive you as the convenient place to do their shopping, check that the parking is convenient. As you keep your eyes on the movement of cars and people in the lot, notice how easy or difficult it is to enter the lot from the commonly used access streets. During busy shopping hours, how easy is it to find a space that doesn’t require a cross-country hike to reach the doors to your store?
  • How safe do people feel in your lot? Do their posture, gestures, or facial expressions suggest uncertainty or fear? If convenience for your shoppers means your store staying open at night, how well-lit is the lot? If you’re in a neighborhood associated with crime, are there call boxes throughout the lot, or better yet, an assertive patrol by security guards? For daytime shoppers, how many cracks, buckles, and potholes must the shopper navigate around to avoid tripping?
  • How clean is the lot? Research finds that the initial impressions created as the shopper navigates into and around the lot prime their thoughts for when they enter your store premises. If they see clean in the lot, they’re more likely to notice the clean while shopping with you. The parking lot could be considered the true front entrance to your store.
     You might have limited influence on the condition of the parking lot if you don’t own the center in which your store is located. Achieving changes might require joining forces with other merchants who use the same lot or waiting until it’s time to negotiate your lease.
  • All right. Now it’s time to move your carcass to somebody else’s parking lot. Along with regularly walking through your competition’s aisles, walk or drive around their parking lots. What clarity, cleanliness, and safety benefits does your lot offer that theirs doesn’t? How can you let your target markets know about it?
  • Write down the names and phone numbers of the businesses that are in your competition’s parking lots. Then come back to your store and have your outside sales person, you yourself, or somebody else contact these people to say, “Hey, you know what? You’ve got to come down here to our store. We have an excellent trade program.”
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Walk the Parking Areas
Visit Your Competition to Build Confidence

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