Atmospherics and Its Impact on Customers and Employees

atmospherics in retail

Atmospherics in marketing comes from notions of what makes customers walk into a retail store, spend time shopping in the store, make a purchase, and recommend the store to others. Retail atmospherics includes everything from lighting to inventory to parking to sensory input such as scent. But, we can extend the notion of atmospherics beyond the retail space to include factors impacting both customers and employees in a variety of customer-facing businesses, including online retail. Below, you can see an image of various atmospheric factors that apply specifically to physical retail spaces.

atmospherics in retail
Image courtesy of UK POS

Extending the notion of atmospherics beyond retail, we can easily identify some of the same factors that impact your business. For instance, whether you run a beauty salon, a medical clinic, or a consulting business, you see some of these factors apply, such as parking, lighting, cleanliness, etc. Of course, some aspects of the retail atmosphere don’t apply in other contexts, for instance, mannequins, samples, uniforms, and queuing strategies. We also add digital elements such as shopping carts and checkout procedures, images and descriptions, virtual applications such as testing, and customer service in online retail. In an online retail environment, purchase intentions are mediated by atmospherics and website satisfaction, including load speed and search/ filter operations.

How atmospherics impacts success

Atmospherics affect who you attract to your business, how long they stay, and how much they spend. Your physical space also impacts their intentions to recommend your business to others.

Think about it; I’m sure you have a kitschy little boutique you love to shop at or a store you really hate because you can never find a parking space or it’s hard to get into the parking lot for all the traffic. We don’t often think about these external aspects of a business, but they have a big impact on whether we shop at a particular store or not. Obviously, if the prices are great or have an incredible selection of products we can’t find elsewhere, we still shop there, but what costs to the business in terms of revenue? Remember, marketing isn’t just about getting folks to shop at your store, but getting them to choose your store frequently over other options, even when you don’t have a sale going on.

Here are some ways atmospherics impact your business:

  • How the establishment arranges its offices and retail spaces impacts how well it can do its job and how easy it is for customers to find what they want or navigate through the space. Cluttered shelves and too much chaos don’t invite customers to browse like organized merchandise that’s displayed attractively.
  • Lighting impacts customers’ ability to see your merchandise or fill out paperwork in your office. Poor lighting also changes colors to make them more or less appealing.
  • Cleanliness is next to godliness, and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to your office or retail space. No one wants to have dinner in a restaurant that’s dirty or visit an office with dust everywhere.
  • Noxious smells also impact your business. We all have options and choose to frequent less smelly options, even in businesses where it’s challenging to avoid odors, such as repair shops.

Atmospherics also sets the mood in your business. Bright lights, energetic music, and lots of color work to attract younger customers, while a more muted palette, subdued lighting, and classical music tend to attract wealthy customers. Colors impact purchases, as well. For instance, blue denotes trust while red shows energy.

The same is true when it comes to your employees. Employees not only experience the mood of your operation from atmospherics, but their productivity is a function of those same elements. Lighting is important for working well, while quickly finding needed materials improves productivity.

Today, we’ll focus our discussion on the maintenance of your operation, as it’s an important part of your atmospherics.

The issue of maintenance

One of the biggest challenges of working from a commercial property is the cost that comes with it. The mortgage or rent is usually one of the largest expenses for supporting activities, but you also have to worry about paying for utilities and any maintenance fees or repair costs.

Maintenance costs time and money and can even shut down your office for a short time, making it impossible to deal with customers. This can make it tempting to leave the maintenance to the last minute, only doing repair work when you absolutely need to. However, this is a mistake.

Putting off needed maintenance commonly results in higher costs when a machine breaks because you didn’t take the time to do regular maintenance. Software programs now help manage your maintenance to ensure you do regular maintenance. The use of AI and external monitoring, such as beacons, helps monitor your machines to ensure you take care of repairs before they break, requiring replacement or higher costs. Also, shutdowns represent opportunity costs as you lose revenue when customers can’t buy from you.

Improving your image

The first reason to keep on top of your building maintenance is how it looks. Simply put, a worn-down and shabby building that’s been neglected doesn’t look good. It can represent a danger to your employees or visitors (customers), or simply create an unpleasant environment that makes it hard to recruit employees and customers.

Employees won’t enjoy working in a dangerous or unsightly place, which may also affect their morale. If the property is dangerous, then it could be illegal to expect them to work in such an environment, resulting in fines, lawsuits, or even criminal liability.

However, your employees are the least of your problems. Your customers and clients are sure to notice your property’s state, which can put across a bad impression. They could easily reason that a company that doesn’t care about its office or storefront doesn’t care about its product or service either. This can make customers lose trust. Customers may be driven away by a poorly maintained property at a storefront or restaurant location.

For example, if your parking lot is looking worse for the wear, it can irritate visitors. However, making sure that the asphalt is properly sealed can prolong its life and slow down any damage. You can learn more about how this can improve how your business comes across to your employees and customers.

Reducing costs

As well as making your business look unsightly, neglecting your maintenance can also cost more money. It’s usually far easier and cheaper to repair a minor issue than to have to deal with a major one, which sometimes results in a complete replacement.

Regular maintenance also potentially reduces utility costs as your business will waste less energy and water. This is better for your wallet and for the environment.

Need marketing help to support business growth?

We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can make your marketing SIZZLE with our data-driven, results-oriented marketing strategies.  Sign up for our FREE newsletter, get our FREE guide to creating an awesome website, or contact us for more information on hiring us.

Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.