We left off our Customer Journey series at Touchpoint 5: Private Consultation Spaces. Your own dispensary may not have need for private consultation areas, but I will bet you $420 your dispensary does have a retail space, and thus we’ve arrived at Touchpoint 6: The Showroom.
The Showroom is the confluence of your store’s design. Space planning, branding, visual merchandising, and customer service come together to sculpt the retail experience in the showroom. There is so much to think about in this area, in this moment of the customer journey.
- Is it easy for customers and your employees to navigate the space?
- Can they find the products they are looking for?
- Are your product displays enticing?
- Is product information and pricing well marked and easy to read?
- Are there opportunities to educate or entertain the customers?
- Is staff attentive and helpful?
The height of the excitement and heart of the experience is in this moment. Here are five ways to make this a memorable and profitable touchpoint.
Brand, brand, brand
We can’t emphasize the importance of your brand enough. It is the common thread from one touchpoint to the next. It is critical for your brand to be communicated consistently across touchpoints to reinforce your message and your mission. In the Showroom, everything from lighting and music to wayfinding, visual presentation, and the checkout process are opportunities to reinforce your brand.
Just like the lobby/check-in, you need to create a decompression zone in the showroom. A lot has been happening along the journey so far, and customers are finally arriving in the long-awaited destination. Give them a minute to take it all in. Let them breathe in your brand. Wow them by setting the stage and creating a mood. No product just yet, let them take a breath, get engrossed and orient themselves. Use lighting, music, and customer service to make every customer feel like they’ve truly “arrived.”
The showroom space plan is critical to the success of the shopping experience. Ample space needs to be provided between fixtures to allow customers to walk around, explore, and bend over if needed. You don’t want to have to overcome the “butt-brush” effect described by Why We Buy guru Paco Underhill. People don’t like to be accidentally touched from behind, and if it happens, your sales will suffer. So, can customers flow easily through the space? And can your staff too? You need to consider the traffic patterns of shoppers and employees. Make sure to plan in plenty of space to move, stand, consult, look, absorb, browse, and buy.
Speaking of traffic control, where do your customers go when they are ready to check-out? Is it well-marked or intuitively planned into the wayfinding strategy? And, if a line develops, where does it go and does it or does it not feel like the DMV line? Really think about the check-out process and how customers queue. You don’t want people waiting in line to disrupt the browsing and active shopping process.
Your people matter
While a well-designed showroom is essential for successful shopping, it also is important for employee satisfaction. You want to create a desirable work environment. Design can support employee attraction and retention. It can play a key role in employee happiness. And happy employees create a more positive and memorable customer journey. But most importantly, good design makes them better salespeople and consultants. When products are properly organized along the customer journey, when the displays and fixtures are easy to access and operate, when information is placed in all the right places, your good salespeople are given the tools they need to be exceptional.
Planned for change
A successful showroom is a flexible and adaptable showroom. Can you adapt your store layout to support new products, featured displays, or promotions? You need to react to fluctuations in your market, seasonal and holiday updates, as well as changing regulations. Your fixtures and your staff should be flexible and adaptable. With a strategic space plan, carefully considered fixture designs, and modular visual merchandising components, your team can quickly and efficiently rearrange the showroom without unnecessary downtime and interrupted sales.
If you have created a well-branded and choreographed showroom experience, then you have your customers exactly where you want them…ready to make a purchase. You have educated and entertained them and guided them on their shopping journey—they are engaged and ready to buy. Stay tuned for Touchpoint:7: Point of Sale and Touchpoint 8: Order Fulfillment, when we tell you how to make sure you seal the deal.
Got a design question for Megan? Submit it and she’ll answer in a future column.
A disruptor, innovator, and entrepreneur, Megan Stone is the grand dame of dispensary design. As founder and owner of The High Road Design Studio, she has helped arm cannabis retailers with the power of design to combat stigma, overcome stereotypes, and reinvent people’s perceptions of cannabis and its users. Her unprecedented work has helped usher dispensaries onto Main Street and into the mainstream and has forever changed the international conversation about the retailing of “vice.” Her work has been lauded for altering thoughts, feelings and behaviors worldwide, blazing a trail and earning awards and commendations for design excellence along the way. She is a frequent speaker and contributing editor in both the cannabis and retail design industries. In the fall of 2018, she will add “dispensary owner” to her growing list of credentials as she embarks on a partnership to open a cannabis boutique in Palm Desert, California.