Walk The Consumers Journey – Part 2 By John Stanley Step Two: Journey of Inspiration In the last article in this series we looked at the Journey of Discovery. Consumers need to discover you exist. If you are innovative in your marketing and external promotions they may just get in their car and journey to your business. Your next challenge is you have thirty seconds to inspire them, yes, thatï¿½s right, thirty seconds! Researchers tell us that the majority of potential customers will judge your business based on three, thirty second zones. Seventy percent of that decision will be based on what they see; therefore you need to create a visually inspiring view of your business. Within such a limited time frame you need to create a focal point that is simple and different. Easy to put into words, but difficult to put into practice, so lets look at the three zones and at some easy methods of being visually inspirational: 1. Start in the parking lot ï¿½ the first 10 seconds The image zone starts outside your business. Your adverts, external landscaping, paint work and shop window displays are all going to play an integral part in creating a mental picture of what the customer is going to expect from the whole experience he will have within your business. For example, I recently worked with a public library. All the team members came to work via the ï¿½backï¿½ door. As a consultant, I entered via the front door. My visit was ten days after a national holiday on which all businesses were closed. As I entered, there was a large sign across the front door informing everyone that the library would be closed next Thursday for the holiday. When I pointed out that the holiday was the previous week, it became clear that nobody in the library was walking the building as a customer. They were all entering by the wrong door! Image can change by the moment. Litter on the floor or dirty fingerprints on windows can change your image in just seconds. Itï¿½s essential that all your team members are aware of how important the ï¿½image zoneï¿½ is and that they are empowered to take appropriate action to correct any flaw in the image immediately. All progressive retailers must do a walk ï¿½in the customerï¿½s shoesï¿½ every day to check their external image. In Think For Your Customer, Lizard Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-9750118-1-2 there is a daily checklist to keep your business looking sharp. 2. What does your entrance say? ï¿½ the second 10 seconds The ï¿½transition zoneï¿½ in an establishment is usually the first three steps that a potential visitor takes once he or she has crossed the threshold. They donï¿½t concentrate on products or signs in this zone; they take in the whole environment. Keep this zone uncluttered, clean and inviting. 3. Displays that Dare to be Different Finally, customers focus on what I call the power position, which is the excitement/product zone. This is a focal point directly in front of them as they pass through the transition zone. This point should clearly state what you do and it should stimulate the visitorï¿½s interest. Keep it simple; create circular, conical displays that promote key issues about your business. Dare to be different in how you get this message across! If the team brainstorms ahead of a topical and seasonal event, they have an opportunity to think through adventurous props that will catch the consumerï¿½s eye. Remember, you have to play ï¿½unsafeï¿½ you have to ï¿½dare to be different in order to inspire. In todayï¿½s retail world ï¿½safeï¿½ displays will not be registered by the consumerï¿½s eye. So Where can you get inspiration from? To be visually inspirational means you need to be one step ahead of other businesses within your catchment area. Consider the following: 1. Check out other retailers displays in your area, but outside your industry sector and adapt them to your sector. 2. Read ï¿½lifestyleï¿½ magazines that consumers are reading to enable you to interpret consumer trends and adapt them to your business. 3. Subscribe to merchandising and display magazines from around the world, to enable you to obtain inspirational ideas. 4. Encourage the team to be observant wherever they go. The world is full of inspirational ideas, all you need to do is adapt them to your store. These three zones are the most memorable part of the customerï¿½s journey! A customer may spend 20 minutes, or more, in your business, but take home a picture based on a maximum of (the initial) 30 seconds spent in your establishment. Continue the journey in your customerï¿½s shoes in our next article and learn how to provide a rewarding experience that will have your customers promoting your business for you ï¿½ for FREE!.