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It’s a secret that many big companies have kept to keep their retail stores attractive and inviting. Apple, McDonald’s, Starbucks, shopping malls all share this in common. Even I didn’t notice it until I read about an interesting article that really got me thinking.
More than a year or two ago, I chanced upon this article that talked about where it was the easiest (or the most successful I can’t remember) to meet someone, romantically speaking. And no it wasn’t in a club, in a bar, or in a restaurant. Rather, the #1 place was Apple! Yes, the Apple store that sells our beloved iPhones and iPads. And immediately an idea struck.
Go to any Apple store in the world and you will notice that their retail stores are constantly busy. You go to a Starbuck’s or a McDonald’s and it is frequently packed as well.
The secret of designing a successful retail store is one that enables customers to feel like they have the opportunity to meet new people. It doesn’t even have to be a place where people actually talk to other people, what’s more important is that the customers feel like there is the potential to do so. In fact, you want customers to feel that they all belong to one group when they are inside the store.
It’s weird, I know. My guess is that as humans, we have a social aspect about us; we are social creatures (read about my Subconscious post here). And as such, we naturally like to be around people, especially in public places.
Think about it. For some odd reason, going to shopping malls or restaurants with people is comforting and a bit thrilling (of course not when it’s super packed though). But it feels natural to be around other people. The absence of people in shopping malls, restaurants, and such causes us to think twice about the reputation of them.
Some places, like clubs and bars are supposed to be for meeting people. The businesses I want to focus on talking about are retail stores, stores that sell products or services. For example, walk into an Apple store and the layout design is structured so that the tables make you feel like you are part of a community; we aren’t isolated by customers and sales, instead we are all sharing the table together like one big group. The salespeople that talk to you are forced to stand next to you rather than behind a table, encouraging intimacy and human interaction. This is one of the genius concepts about Apple.
Too many retail stores instead adopt an “Us vs. Them” feeling. You walk in, and the way the salespeople are positioned and the way the products are placed doesn’t feel like a community at all; it feels like what it is, a store. It feels like two different groups, us the customers and them the salespeople. A business can thrive significantly when it makes the salespeople and the customers merge into one group. Think about it – you feel very close with your own group of friends, but you become more protective and alert around strangers.
And don’t ignore your online store as well! What do you think made Facebook so popular? There’s people we can interact with! What do people like to do after reading an article? They like to see other people’s reactions by reading the comments! It creates a community.
So if you haven’t done so already, turn your store’s physical and online presence from an “Us vs. Them” approach to one that promotes an interactive group experience, one that makes people feel belong, one that makes people feel like there is the potential to meet other people.
What do you think? Do you think your business can succeed more with this idea? Comment below.