How to Build an In-Store Business Community?
Doing business in our day and age is all about building relationships with your customers. Relationships lead to trust, and that’s what is driving sales and ensuring customer retention.
As a brick-and-mortar store or a hospitality establishment, you have the opportunity to build a physical community of loyal customers, who think of you first and are eager to recommend you to their friends.
Here is how to start building your business community.
Brand identity = Community identity
It all starts with having a brand identity. Knowing who you are, what products you sell, and who your target audience is will help you establish your community values. Perhaps you want to market your business as more sustainable or are invested in giving back to disadvantaged communities? That’s what makes your brand identity.
As long as you love your brand and are authentic, you will be able to shape the conversations around the common interests between you and your customers. That’s how you start building your community identity.
Design your in-store community space
In order to build an in-store community, you need to design the right space for it.
First of all, it needs to match your brand identity. This will create coherence between your brand and your business community. To do so, use the same colour scheme as in your branding and make sure that who you are as a brand is translated through your community space.
Business signs and internal graphics are great for visually communicating your brand identity. They will help your community associate events with your brand whenever they see your logo and motto, which will increase your brand awareness significantly. Using graphics can transform a blank community space into an attractive storefront that encourages customers and visitors to engage with your brand.
In terms of the interior and surface design, create a cosy and inspirational space by going for an interior design that best suits your brand identity. A minimalist design that features modern marble and steel effect surfaces, comfy but stylish plush chairs, and accent wall art or murals is ideal for an apparel store.
If you’re designing a community space for a hotel, go for a trendy interior design concept, such as biophilia. It fuses sustainability with natural materials and incorporates wood effect tiles, bamboo, textures, and lots of greenery.
It’s important that there is lots of space in your communal area to accommodate all sorts of community activities. Private spaces are also important, as you can hold meetings and private talks there. Use partitions and dividers to make the most of your space.
In order to attract a crowd of like-minded people and build your community, it’s essential to hold community events in your space. This is a great way to boost foot traffic and get to know your customers.
The purpose of events doesn’t have to be to promote and sell your products. You don’t even have to base the event around your own products. A prime example of that is the series of events that Anthropologie, a women’s apparel and home goods retailer, regularly holds across the UK and worldwide. They range from plant pot painting and basket weaving to crafting a card and book launches.
You don’t have to go super overboard with organising an event and spending loads on props and decorations. You can achieve effortless results by using custom surfaces that communicate your brand identity, and business signage can help you create a cohesive design.
Promote and strengthen your community
Your business community doesn’t have to be limited to your physical space, and there is a multitude of communication channels you can use to strengthen your relationship with your customers.
You can use social media, your website, and niche websites for local communities to promote your community and events and spark conversations about relevant topics. A newsletter is also a great way to keep everyone in your community updated about your latest activities and spread the love.
Building your own business community is not just a marketing tool. It’s a way to connect with like-minded people and gain recognition as a hub of products and services that adds extra value to the lives of your customers. That’s what a business with a purpose is.