Mom & pop type stores had a different “feel” to them.  When we entered we came knowing that the products were going to be a little different from what you’d get down the road. You’d be welcomed by name (or at least find a very friendly smile and hello). Service was top-notch because every customer mattered. It was simple. It had real soul to it.

countrystoreThen came the retail chains.  The convenience has always been one of the major draws to these big box retailers and let’s not forget the real low prices. Service, however, wasn’t the same. Employees were stressed. You felt stressed. There wasn’t much charm but profit margins sure were up.

Taking a note from those corporate practices many mom & pop shops began to emulate. They decided to thrive than merely surviving until their impending closure due to the big box competition.

But subscribing to the modern times doesn’t necessarily require a mom & pop to give up their charm.  In fact – there are many different ways these shops can add to their business while keeping that feeling of community and individualism.

Here are a few of those ways they can modernize:

·  The Web & Social. The physical location and layout may be a little kooky but a sleek, modern design of a Website is sure to draw in those interested in the goods. Small shops have plenty of access to great designs, templates, and developers so there isn’t a reason to have the site looking incredibly outdated and uninviting. The same can be said about the social media efforts. There’s no corporate hierarchy so the shop can do as they please with their social media without having to “tip toe” around what they say. This edginess keeps the shop unique and entertaining for its followers.

·  Organization & Eye-Catchers. Many Mom & Pop stores are very busy in terms of organization. Some of them feel like a flea market where everything was just thrown around on shelves. If you want a store to have a modern look (while keeping the charm) then it’s worth the effort to organize shop, clean it all up, and add some space between the areas. Another item to consider is to add eye-catching retail aisle signs like ones you can find through CreativeDisplayNow. The company provides for big time retailers but a small business can get the same benefits. Having these signs scattered around the shop will draw attention to your sellers.

·  Fresh Coat & New Lights. Do you know there is the concept of color psychology? It’s essentially how colors change our moods and it’s often used in business, too. Perhaps it’s time to give the shop a modern make-over like you see on those home renovation shows. A fresh coat of paint that matches your mood and brand could breathe new life into the place. Likewise, lighting can do many wonders for your business. Our bodies reactive different between natural and artificial lighting. Natural looking light can help your employees stay focused and energized. This, too, could be said about your customers. All the extra energy in the room could lead to a lot of excitement and decisions to purchase those items.

When it comes down to it all – it’s the little tweaks that have significant effects.

If a Mom & Pop shop pushes their modernization too far then they may alienate their customers and lose the charm that the community sought. By making incremental changes such as being edgy with the Web, adding retail signage and proper organization, and a fresh look and feel then these shops will have no issue thriving in this ever-changing business landscape.

You can take all of these thoughts into consideration for your online, small or home based business too even if you do not have a brick and mortar storefront. Make sure your website that has a warm and welcoming design and layout and your products or services are displayed in an appealing and easy to understand manner. With your social media presence be sure to focus on building trust and relationships with your customers just like the Mom & Pop shops you remember did.

*This is a post by Sara Stringer

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