300 Seconds: The Front Door Test

As we approach the holiday shopping season, it’s a good time to look at our store with fresh eyes. This might be a first-time visit for some of your customers, so it’s smart to try to gain their perspective. Grab a notebook and a pen and walk through your front door as if you are the customer discovering your store for the very first time. What do you see?

  • Start in the street/parking area. Is your store signage obvious? Can it be seen in both the daylight and at night? Even when you’re not open, your signage should be working for you.
  • While you’re in the parking area, is it obvious where customers should enter the store? Is your “open” sign visible? The act of approaching a door only to find it locked can be a source of embarrassment for some, especially if they think they’re being watched. A clearly marked entrance can alleviate that fear.
  • Are your hours clearly marked? Are the hours posted accurate? Do you have special holiday hours?
  • When you walk through the door, do you see dirt, cobwebs, leaves, or other obstructions? It’s amazing how I don’t notice a cobweb on a light fixture until I have a guest sitting at the table. Your guests are arriving today.
  • Does anything look tired? Are you still promoting your summer reading program? Now is a good time to remove old posters.
  • Do you offer events? Is that clear to your customer? If a customer is charmed by your store, they’ll want to return often.

As you make notes about issues you’d like to address, don’t become daunted. It’s not practical to think you can stop everything to fix problems. But you are well on your way because you’ve identified them. Now you can create a plan of action to execute a little each day as you have the time.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay