7 Ways to Boost the Curb Appeal of Your Small Business

Curb appeal — or lack thereof — can help make or break your store or restaurant.
Maintain an inviting storefront to make an impact on passersby. (Photo: Ko Backpacko/Shutterstock)

First impressions matter. A quick glance at your retail establishment or restaurant from the street can lure potential customers in — or turn them away.

“A warm, inviting storefront can be the first step in attracting customers and encouraging more people to walk through the door,” said Cresta Lewis, vice president of client services at The Eisen Agency, a customer acquisition and engagement firm.

On your spring cleaning list this year, be sure to include projects that improve the “curb appeal” of your small business. From flower pots and new signage to creative window displays, here are some easy, inexpensive tips for making your storefront or restaurant irresistible to passersby. After all, said Lewis, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Related: 6 Ways Your Small Business Is Making a Bad First Impression

Apply a fresh coat of paint

One of the easiest ways to increase your curb appeal is by giving your facade a fresh coat of paint, said Lewis.

“Even if you use a similar color, new paint will instantly brighten the exterior and make it look clean.” -Cresta Lewis

Seeing your own storefront day in and day out can cause you miss details that might stand out to passersby. Look at your exterior from a customer’s perspective, Lewis suggested. “Is it dingy and drab? Does it blend in with the other neighboring stores?” If so, something as simple as adding a pop of color to the trim or painting your front door a bold color can create a more enticing first impression.

Refresh your signage

Another way to freshen up your exterior is by updating your signage. “Great signage should be highly visible and easy to read. It should also be clear about what you sell,” said Lewis. Looks at your signs anew and evaluate whether they accurately reflect your brand. And make sure the signs are clean and placed for maximize exposure.

Also try a clever sidewalk sign to grab the attention of strolling pedestrians.

Related: How to Choose the Perfect Sign for your Small Business

Embrace the seasons


Celebrate the seasons by decorating your storefront with flowers and colorful window boxes.
(Photo: Ideya/Shutterstock)

Regardless of your industry, spring is a wonderful time to embrace the use of flowers and plants, said Lewis. To get extra bang for your decorating dollars, she suggested using large flower pots or colorful window boxes that can be updated with different flowers and plants as the seasons change.

And of course, update your windows to reflect the current season and any current holiday.

Use moving displays

According to Ali Newton, strategy and marketing manager of The Display Centre, which provides shop fittings and displays, retailers have only two to five seconds to capture the attention of a passerby. She suggested using moving displays to catch their eye.

“Movement can be so captivating,” she said. “Many find that even if they try not to look, their attention is still caught.”

You can use a revolving turntable to show off a 360-degree view of a product in your window, or use a lightweight, motion-activated display just outside the door that can be brought in after hours.

Related: 6 Retail Store Design Tweaks to Boost Sales

Tell a story

Another creative way to boost your curb appeal: Integrate stories into your displays. How? By creating a relevant scene. A jewelry store could show a couple on a park bench getting engaged. A gourmet cupcake shop could show a little girl’s birthday party with balloons and beautifully decorated cupcakes.

A great window display can get people to stop in their tracks, said Lewis, but “a well-designed display that tells a story can compel people to walk inside.”

Keep it seasonal. For instance, said Lewis, a kitchen store “could feature an Easter brunch display in the spring, a picnic scene in the summer and a festive dinner display around the holidays.”

In nice weather, consider outdoor racks


Use outdoor racks on a sunny day to entice customers. (Photo: goldmotifs/Shutterstock)

Someone who might not otherwise come into your shop may well stop if an item on an outdoor rack catches her eye. A bonus: Customers are more likely to buy something if they touch it, and outdoor racks put merchandise in easy reach.

Change things up regularly

Updating your store’s exterior and window displays on a regular basis can keep customers more engaged.

“People quickly become de-sensitised to displays when they do not change,” said Newton. “Ideally, a window display should be changed every two weeks to keep things fresh.”

“Whatever you do, stay true to your brand,” said Lewis. Understand your customer base and create displays that will appeal to them.

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