CHICAGO — The first impression many potential consumers will have of your company won’t come from your online marketing, social media, advertising or other outreach efforts.
No, these customers will decide whether to trust you or not largely based on your store’s physical appearance. We’re cautioned not to judge books by their covers, but customers will absolutely judge a business based on its curb appeal.
THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION
Charlie Jones, the owner of 24/7 Dry Cleaners of Frisco, Texas, understands how important the issue of curb appeal is for his store.
“Anytime you hire a real estate agent to sell your house, the first thing that they advise the seller to do is to improve the curb appeal,” he says. “Why? Well, to attract more buyers and to get a higher price, of course. This idea should be applied to our businesses 365 days a year.”
Jones, who has been in the cleaning business for 26 years and ran franchise plants until opening his own store in 2016, believes that the external condition of a business communicates many messages to customers who need its services.
“The appearance of your business is the only thing that advertises who you are and what you offer 24 hours a day,” he says. “A clean, well-lit and well-maintained store tells the world what kind of operator you are. It offers both your current and potential customers a glimpse into the quality of the service you offer.”
Since customers are trusting dry cleaners with their own outer appearance, they have every right to take notice of the care cleaners take of their store. “Everyone knows the value and importance of a first impression in our personal lives,” Jones says. “The same is true for our stores. A customer is much more likely to visit a business for the first time when they deem it attractive and orderly.”
SAFE, NEAT AND VISIBLE
Jones offers drive-thru lanes as well as locker drop-off and pickup. And, as the name suggests, his service never closes. Because he conducts much of his business at night, curb appeal means more than just a nice paint job or neatly trimmed shrubs. Proper lighting provides both visibility for the company and a sense of security for the customer.
“My store has a double lane drive-thru,” Jones says. “It stays lit from sundown to sunrise. I want every person driving by to see that we offer the convenience of drive-thru service. I also have a separate room attached to my store, which is lined with lockers. This area not only has an LED sign designating it as our locker room, but the room also stays lit 24 hours a day. I want my customers to feel totally safe when they use it after hours.”
Jones also knows that if customers get a favorable attitude about his store, they’re more liable to take a closer look — something he uses to his advantage.
“My call office never remains completely dark after business hours,” he says. “We run a video in our lobby featuring the services we offer on a constant loop that is visible from the street. I also want customers who use our night drop to feel the safety that comes from a well-lit store.”
Check back Thursday for Part 2, where we'll look at alternative signage and the power of LED!