A bright, welcoming retail storefront can encourage shoppers to come into your business even on the coldest of days.

Keeping Your Retail Storefront Welcoming in the Winter Months

Customer Experience Brand & Image

Making your retail storefront ready to welcome customers on cold winter days can be easier — and more fun — than you think.

How can you keep your retail storefront welcoming to customers during the cold, blustery winter months? It’s likely there’s going to be less foot traffic in inclement weather, so doing all you can to increase retail storefront curb appeal will help with winter sales. Here are some tips to help you maintain a welcoming image despite winter conditions.

Refresh Your Look With a New Coat of Paint

All the elements that can make winter so unpleasant — sleet and snow, rain and hail — can damage the look of your storefront. Before winter gets bad, it’s a good idea to get caulking done where necessary, but even more importantly, repaint the front door and all the trim around the door and windows. Bright colors, like red or blue, are more eye-catching to shoppers, and an attractive doormat may help, too.

Put Up an Attractive Awning

Shoppers just trying to get from one place to another on foot during a snowstorm will greatly appreciate the protection an awning provides over your storefront. You’ll want to keep the awning clean and dry as much as possible, to make it more enticing to those who brave the bad weather.

Keep in mind that while customers stand under your awning, they are likely to look at your window display. Spend extra time arranging your window display in an appealing manner, with plenty of overhead lighting to feature your newest merchandise. Signs promoting winter sales should also appear prominently in the window.

Use Mats to Collect Dirt and Debris

Once you’ve encouraged customers to walk into your store, be sure to keep up the welcoming appearance inside. Floors that are covered in salt, dirt, and water can be a turn-off, as well as a hazard. To maintain a clean image throughout the winter, consider placing mats around your entryways or in any areas that seem to collect debris. A scraper mat can also help capture dirt and moisture and keep your floors spotless.

Maintain a Cleaning Schedule

While mats can help prevent excess dirt and debris, it’s important to implement a cleaning schedule to make sure your floors are kept clean. Invest in extra cleaning supplies, such as mops and dusters, and maintain a regular schedule to keep up with foot traffic. Be sure you communicate to your staff where they can find supplies and how to properly clean your floors. You may also want to consider scheduling a deep cleaning halfway through the winter to further protect your floors and keep them looking new.

Update Blinds and Ceiling Fans

Do you have a ceiling fan in your place of business? Ceiling fans keep warm air moving, drawing it away from the ceiling. Just remember to alter rotation of the fan, so it’s the opposite of summer use, and to clean your ceiling fan periodically to keep dust at bay. If you have window blinds, keeping them open can help you maintain a bright, welcoming appearance. It can also help warm the store with direct sunlight and reduce heating costs. This is often referred to as daylighting — keeping blinds and shades open on south-facing windows to gain maximum light and heat during sunny winter days.

Conduct a Comprehensive Energy Audit

Speaking of warmth, are you doing everything you can to keep customers warm without wasting precious energy? Part of having a welcoming appeal is making sure that your customers feel comfortable the minute they step into your business—otherwise, they may not stick around for long. One way to keep them warm is to conduct an energy audit. Many utility companies offer free or low-cost energy audits, an effective way to assess your building’s baseline energy use and determine energy-saving solutions. If you choose to do the audit yourself, Constellation Energy Resources offers these suggestions:

  • Seek out any places where heat can escape (especially windows and doors).
  • Look outside the building for cracks or broken mortar.
  • Look again at where customers enter your retail store, and consider different options that may help reduce the amount of energy that escapes through your entryway.

While you’re at it, this may also be a good time to check for insufficient caulking and weatherstripping. As part of your audit, also examine heating duct insulation to make sure ducts are properly sealed. If not, your customers may get chilly and you might rack up a significant expense in unnecessary heating costs.

No retail business can afford a steep loss in customers during the winter months. Maintaining a welcoming image to draw people in and then keeping them comfortable while they shop paves the way to increased sales, despite the bad weather.

Lee Polevoi
Lee Polevoi

Lee Polevoi is an award-winning business writer who specializes in the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses in the U.S.A former senior writer at Vistage International (a global membership organization of CEOs), Lee regularly contributes articles, white papers and blog posts to a variety of small business websites, including Paychex, Intuit Small Business, ADP, Hewlett Packard's™ The Pulse of IT, Catapult Groups, Avalara TrustFile and many others.