Posted: February 27, 2019 By Kieran Darmody

How does a store’s visual appeal affect consumer purchasing?

2018 was the year shops, both big and small, made a conscious effort to overhaul the way heir establishments were presented. In the same year, Liberis provided UK businesses with a whopping £19 million to give their premises a new look and feel - making up 20% of all Liberis' funding last year for refurbishment.

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Have you ever walked into a store and noticed its wallpaper hanging off as you filter through the endless clothing rails in the hope of finding some inspiration? Having spent precious time trying to work out whether the shirt you’ve picked up is navy blue or black thanks to the poor choice in lighting, you find yourself walking out empty handed.

Does the way a store looks and feels really affect whether we choose to make a purchase? Does its choice in décor determine whether we return in the future?

2018 was the year shops, both big and small, made a conscious effort to overhaul the way heir establishments were presented. In the same year, Liberis provided UK businesses with a whopping £19 million to give their premises a new look and feel – making up 20% of all Liberis’ funding last year for refurbishment.

So, what do consumers care about the most?

No matter what type of building you are in, whether its shiny and modern or traditional and steeped in history, staying on top of your business aesthetics is important. Having the right look and feel will ensure your customers continue to return to your store.

We recently ran a customer insight survey, which asked a variety of questions around what aesthetics are most important when choosing where to shop, revealing that most consumers want to shop in a unit that is in a modern building with good clear signage.

Our research also found that lighting, temperature and decoration are the three most important factors for consumers when shopping in-store.

Consumers want natural daylight where possible to be able to see products easier. Shopping in a store with low light, where it is difficult to determine colour, quality and sometimes sizing, was by far the least popular.

The climate of a store came in second, with most shoppers preferring a comfortable room temperature for their visit. Interestingly, more than a third said they would prefer a business unit to be on the warmer side! This was favoured by those in Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow and Southampton.

Completing the top three must-haves for stores was decoration. If applicable, cultural references in décor were favoured the most by shoppers, followed by retro decoration, quirky features and neon feature lights.

Surprisingly, at the bottom of the list was wall colour and music. Despite a firm overall favourite of clean crisp white, those in Belfast, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich and Sheffield yearned after a store with more personality and colour.

Situated in a fully-refurbished basement space in an iconic Grade II-listed building in Leeds, we visited Assembly Underground (a hub for craft beer and independent street food) to talk all things refurbishments. Check out what Richard Sweet (Assembly Owner) and James Tabor (General Manager and Owner of Slap and Pickle) had to say.

The social media effect

Have you ever searched for a store on Instagram and wanted to visit purely because of how aesthetically pleasing it is?

With the rise in the “Instagrammable shop front” trend – especially with establishments in London like The Ivy Chelsea Garden and Peggy Porschen Cakes, which make up part of the top ten – it’s easy to believe that our research found almost 10 million Brits would visit a business purely to get pictures for social media.

The most popular age group taking part in this are the 25-34-year-olds, followed by 35-44-year-olds and finally the 18-24-year-olds. In addition, our research show that , men are more likely to do this than women.

“We usually associate cafes with good memories of times with people who make us feel good, so eye-catching pics of cafes fire off endorphins (those feel-good hormones) in us and we want to share the endorphin hit around… We also love to be told how great our photos are!” – Julia Bramble, Founder of social media consultancy Bramble Buzz.

Give your business a new lease of life with a refurb

Our research found that a whopping 83% of consumers would return to a store if it has been recently refurbished and is aesthetically pleasing – and from those people, 41% admitted they would be more likely to repeat their custom too.

When it comes to refurbishments, there are plenty of aspects to consider. Overall our research showed that the benefits of giving your store a makeover could do your business the world of good, improving customer retention and potentially boosting your social media presence!

With that in mind, maybe it’s time to give your business a new lease of life? Keeping on top of your décor can be a huge benefit to your business – even simply refreshing your paint can add a fresh new look to your store. Want to go further? Why not look into a complete refurb of your establishment? We have an array of small business finance options available to help you get started.

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