What is the User Experience for Your Retail or Business Property?
Whether your property is a retail center attracting patrons or an industrial park populated by business professionals, your image affects the kind of traffic it receives. With more and more transactions and interactions occurring online, the customer experience your property provides is more important than ever.
Your tenants are certainly a part of this image – their business services or retail products will draw a particular market. However, the communal areas and general condition of the grounds and building(s) also have a huge impact on a property’s image. How can you use your property’s image to compete with the online experience?
TWS Facility Services has been professionally cleaning and maintaining properties for decades and understands the impact of our services on our clients’ success. Combining our facility maintenance experience with marketing awareness, TWS is here to share our industry expertise with you (also: see last year’s article for tips on incorporating the mobile experience with your physical property).
“User experience” is a common phrase for web and app designers, but the very same principles apply to “real world” customer experience. From a longtime web designer and marketing professional, here are some tips to enhance the user experience that are also applicable to a physical space:
Is the Property Easy to Navigate?
• Feature Clear & Attractive Wayfinding – Not being able to find what you want on a website is annoying. It’s just as annoying in person to not easily find the business you’re seeking or to be able to tell where to exit or enter, etc. People should be able to easily determine what businesses are located on the property and within a building, both from a distance (i.e. signs off freeways) and once they are on the property (i.e. signage directing people on foot). In addition to being functional, wayfinding signage can enhance the image of your property. Take advantage of this highly functional feature to add personality and distinguish your property from others. Need more or new signs? TWS can handle some signage needs.
Is the Property Clean?
• Use Cleanliness to Create a “Feeling” – Online, there is no “dirt” in a physical sense, but a site can be “cluttered”. This can frustrate or simply turn-off the user. This may be a given for physical properties, but even a beautiful site can easily be spoiled if it is unkept. This is even more important when your property is older – cleanliness can be the line between it looking rundown vs. “established”. Regular cleaning maintains a consistent impression which forms your overall image, and by extension, your reputation. This affects the future success of your property. TWS services many high end properties, and so we know what it takes to maintain and boost their user experience (check out our client roster). We know that good cleaning is not something that can be faked, and so our client retention rate is extremely high. Taking short cuts with cleaning means you have just downgraded your property’s experience, which in time will affect its image and lead to a loss in traffic. On the other hand, a well-maintained and clean property can boost traffic.
TIP: A BIG factor in producing a clean feeling is maintaining the pavement and sidewalks. If these are grimy feeling or littered with trash, then it leaves a poor impression on people visiting the property. Especially in the summer time when there may be little rain in the Southwest states, properties can get dusty and hot, and dirty parking lots and sidewalks can be unappealing to people in sandals and shorts. On the other hand, very clean properties can be pleasant to visit, and this in itself can draw traffic as much as having popular tenants. TWS offers parking lot sweeping, power washing and steam cleaning (wonder what the difference is?), and we can guide you in creating a cleaning schedule that results in a higher quality image for your property.
Is the Property’s Landscape Appealing?
• Landscaping with Human Appeal – Online, SEO is not the end-all be-all to getting traffic, as users are ultimately not automated robots. Some elements are mainly there for visual appeal, not to gain ranking. This is an organic approach that cannot be underestimated, although its impact is not easily measured. On a physical property, having natural elements will always appeal to people on a basic human level. It can add color and perhaps shade but also affects people psychologically in very positive ways. On older properties, mature, well-maintained foliage can make its age a plus.
Nonetheless, plants come with additional maintenance needs. There is irrigation and even bugs to think about. Dead plants, muddy spots, or irritating insects can end up detracting from a property’s image and make the experience less appealing than if it hardly had any plants. Therefore, landscape maintenance is definitely an important factor in the success of your property (get landscape tips here).
Is the Property Well-Arranged?
• Keep Extra Features Advantageous – Online, elements that can be a plus can suddenly drive people away when used poorly (see image sliders or lightbox pop-ups offering a deal). Similarly, on a property, the placing of things like seating or trash receptacles should be done with some thought. These shouldn’t block traffic, but they should be easy to access. If there is any area with a view or near pleasant landscaping, then that may be a good area for seating. Avoid placing seating near parking lot areas with lots of exhaust fumes. Trash receptacles can help keep your property clean, but if they are too hidden or hard to access, then they may be useless. Also, if they are not maintained, then they can become an eyesore. How often are your trash receptacles and seating areas being cleaned? What is the ideal amount? TWS can help you determine the most effective maintenance schedule for your property and budget.
This article isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start when it comes to considering how to enhance your property’s image through user experience and compete with the online market.
TWS Facility Services prides itself on being highly adaptable to the changing needs of our industry and clients. What is special about your property? What image do you wish to convey? What concerns do you have? We can put you at ease with both our expertise and our work order system which confirms when services are completed.
Give us call to discuss your concerns and how our facility services can go beyond basic cleaning and maintenance needs and enhance your property’s very image, taking it to the next level: (888) 883-1915