Commercial Retail Entranceways And First Impressions

image007-300x200Have you ever walked into a place of business and, as soon as you set foot through the front door, you feel uncomfortable? It might be that the general appearance of the entry vestibule is ramshackle, it might be that the décor as you walk in is off-putting or it may be that after stepping inside, you simply have no idea where you’re supposed to go – and no one seems to be eager or even present to welcome and guide you. Whatever the reason, you get that sense of uneasiness that predisposes you to having an unhappy interaction with that establishment.

As a business owner, you certainly do not want your prospective clients or customers to have an immediate negative reaction when they visit your place of business. First impressions truly do mean everything, and the main entranceway to your building is your chance to make the first impression a positive, welcoming one. Think of times when you’ve walked into a building and right away felt at home, felt comfortable in your surroundings and felt as if you were a welcome guest.

There are a few simple factors that go a long way to toward creating that feeling with your entranceway. As an experienced commercial retail store builder, we keep in mind the following important considerations when designing a retail entranceway.

It may seem to be obvious, but it’s worth stating: The physical structure of the entrance should be clean, in good repair and easy to use. The type of business you’re in and the architecture of the building itself will help you determine the most appropriate choice from among the many options available to you. Most retail establishments opt for aluminum-framed glass entranceways, often with sliding glass doors; office buildings may find a more standard double door or single door with nine-section windows to offer a more professional appearance. Warehouse or storage buildings often favor a more utilitarian solid aluminum door.

Will a foyer or vestibule be a part of your entranceway construction? Does your doorway open into a lobby or waiting area? Or will customers step through the doorway and immediately be immersed on a main sales floor? Most people have a certain expectation of what they will find on the inside when they step through the door of a commercial building, based on the type of business. When the structure of the entranceway doesn’t match that expectation, folks can be put off.

Again, the type of business will often dictate the décor, but some outside factors play a part as well. If your building is part of a business park, for example, there may be some common themes that are expected to be reflected in your decoration choices. Geographic location should be considered as well: a southwestern motif is wonderful if your business is located in Arizona; it might seem a little more out of place in Minnesota.

Consider, too, the people who make up the community around your business. If your building is on a block where the people embrace shops with bright, wild colors and whimsical decoration, feel free to be more creative and more risky in your décor choices; if your community is more conservative and geared toward historical preservation, stick with more traditional decoration and basic colors.

Nothing feels more awkward than walking into a building for the first time and having no idea where you’re supposed to go. Whether you’re visiting the office of a local utility to pay your bill or the local supermarket, you want there to be a clear indication of which direction to go upon entering the building. This may be made clear by ropes and poles marking where lines should form, or by those sometimes tough to interpret “you are here” maps, but much can be done in the design of the entranceway itself to guide people naturally in the right direction.

The “right” direction is accurately named. Studies have shown that most people’s natural tendency upon entering a building – especially in the case of retail buildings – is to immediately go to their right and work their way to the left. If you can lay out your building to match that natural movement you’re better off, but when that cannot be done for whatever reason, building an entranceway that ensures your customers are correctly oriented upon reaching the main area goes a long way toward making them feel more comfortable.

Choosing the right combination of physical structure, décor and layout for your building’s entranceway can give you a huge head start in creating that welcoming atmosphere that ensures a positive first impression, whatever your field of business might be. At the same time, poor choices in these areas can put you behind the eight ball before you’ve even said “hello.” The experts at Conestoga can show you the different options and designs available to you as you plan your retail or commercial building, and will help you make the best choices. Why not talk with one today? Contact us to get started!

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