Monday, July 8, 2013

Cool Summertime Shoppers

Most Sundays, The Columbus Dispatch has been publishing a bullet-point “Did You Know?” feature about one or another central Ohio business. Yesterday’s article was about the F&R Lazarus & Company flagship store in Columbus.
     Retail historians know Lazarus as a founding member of Federated Department Stores. Historians of holidays might recall how, in 1939, Lazarus president Fred Lazarus, Jr. spearheaded the successful campaign to have Congress set Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday of November rather than the last Thursday of the month. This made the start of the holiday shopping season a more predictable event and the length of the holiday shopping season sometimes longer.
     But until yesterday’s Dispatch feature, many people might not have known that the Columbus Lazarus was the very first department store in America to have air conditioning. Learning that reminded me of a recollection my wife, Irene, enjoys sharing: She spent her teen years living in a small Garden Grove, California house sans cooling. Many summer days, her mom and the five kids would go shopping at the local J.J. Newberry store. Being a five-and-dime, Newberry was filled with items for all ages to peruse for purchase. And there was always plenty of time to peruse, since the Newberry store was air conditioned.
     Climate control attracts shoppers and keeps them shopping longer. For summertime retail business, cooling is de rigueur. Still, what about the utility bills?
     To improve your profitability, know that there are ways beyond cold air to keep customers cool. Blues and greens instead of reds and oranges. The fragrances of spearmint, peppermint, and holly. Less cluttered aisles.
     And accent lighting. More than twenty years ago, researchers at Texas Tech University reported that shoppers became more likely to handle the bottles in a wine store when the brightness of the interior lighting was increased. Other researchers had been finding that when customers handle a product, they're more likely to buy it. Bright lights build sales.
     Sounds fine for winter, yet how about summer? If we're going to jack up the wattage of the lighting system, profits from added sales could be eaten away by utility bills.
     You don't need to up the wattage and the heat in the whole place. In fact, accent lighting directs attention to particular areas and items if you pull back on the overall brightness of the store lighting. You can end up lowering your costs.
     That’s cool!

Click below for more: 
Spring Your Colors 
Smell Familiar for Purchasing Enhancement 
Clear Up Clutter Ambiguities 
Cycle Through Advantages of Touching 
Use Accent Lighting to Build Shopper Interest

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