Generating store traffic and maintaining it

by Karen Kritzer

With options such as pick up points and online retailing, customers today can “run the world” from their computers or phones, never having to leave the comfort of their home. Need a new dress for that upcoming event? It can be at your doorstep within 24 hours.  Out of milk and eggs? No problem! Groceries are on the way. So why do customers still make the trek to “real stores” amidst all of this convenience?

A store’s atmospheric conditions when paired with great customer service are a sure way to attract customers and ultimately keep them coming back.  It’s very important to start at the beginning and remember the key target audience of your store. That way all of the decisions you make regarding the store interior and buying conditions will relate back to that demographic.

Ask yourself or even them directly – what is truly important when it comes to enhancing their shopping experience? For instance adequate lighting and helpful sales associates are two factors that baby boomers would list as some of their top shopping priorities. Millennials are said to care the most about helpful and knowledgeable sales associates. Across the board numerous demographics listed store signage as being an essential part of their shopping experience.*

A simple technique is to complete a daily “store tour” or walkthrough. Look at the store through the customers’ eyes and keep the following essential elements top of mind:


  • Double check spot lights and the lighting conditions. Change any burnt out bulbs and readjust lights that are not on products.
  • Signage should be legible and in good condition. A common mistake – signs are not directly connected to products or even blocked by merchandise.
  • Ease of shopping is always essential. Test actually picking up products. Do multiple items tumble down when reaching for another? Are products at the optimal buying height (approximately 5 feet 9 inches)?
  • In general, is the store full, neat and clean? When displays and shelves start to get picked over it is time to rethink the product placement. Make a statement and tell a clear story.


In this display we see the highs and lows that lighting can create.  It helps to identify what the customer should be looking at.  Spotlights and other accent lights are in good working condition.
The story, or overall theme in this display is clear and the amount, or volume, of merchandise is perfect.  Also, everything is easy to shop – customers can test, try and buy! Great use of highs and lows carry the viewer’s eye around the entire display.

Being a retailer means having endless daily tasks and shifting priorities. It is impossible to touch each corner of the store and to take care of every shopping need on a daily basis. However, keeping a few key factors in mind is a sure way to not only maintain current customers but to attract new ones!


*King Retail Solutions 2016 in collaboration with ARE/POPAI


Karen Kritzeris from Organized & Stylish a freelance visual merchandiser with over 12 years of retail experience.

As a small business owner and freelance visual merchandiser, Karen can relate to the everyday challenges that retailers are faced with. The 12 years of experience she has with various top name brands and small independent retailers allow Karen to create unique action plans that achieve results for her clients.

The Toronto Gift Fair welcomes Karen as a Retail Solutions Seminar speaker for its fall 2016 program.