Maintaining Store Image

Written by: Nithin Narayanan

Customer communications are necessary for the retailer to convey its philosophy of business, objective and strategy. Creating and maintaining the proper store image, the way the retailer is perceived by its customers; is an essential part of the retail strategy mix. Store image comprises both functional and emotional attributes and it requires a multi-step, ongoing process.

A retailer's image depends heavily on the atmosphere that the store projects. Atmosphere is defined as the physical attributes of the store utilized to develop an image and it is composed of the exterior, general interior, store layout and displays.

The exterior of the store is planned in terms of its storefront, marquee, entrance displays windows, building height and size, visibility, uniqueness, surrounding store and areas and parking and congestion.

The general interior of the store incorporates flooring, colours, lighting, scents, sound, fixtures, wall textures, width of the aisles, dressing facilities, personnel, vertical transportation, merchandise, price-display. The interior of an upscale retailer would be far different from that of the discounter. This is just a reflection of the image desired and the cost of doing business.

Interior – Point-of-Sale displays provide consumer with information, add to store atmosphere and have a promotional role. Interior display possibilities include assortment, theme, ensemble, racks and cases, cut cases, posters and wall decoration.

Also the customer service that a retailer offers affects its image. When the firm outlines its customer services strategy, several decisions must be made.

 What services are primary and ancillary?

What level is necessary to compliment the store's image?

Customer service includes credit, delivery, alteration, packaging, returns, and so on.

Customers are apt to react favorably to retailers that show interest in their individual needs and help them as a community.

So Happy Retailing.