A few years ago I was working in a part of town that had significant amounts of road construction. Traffic slowed everywhere and some businesses were extremely difficult to access.
As a driver, it was an area that you wanted to avoid at all costs.
But this caused a problem for the local retail stores that thrived on visitors to their brick and mortar stores.
The Problem That Was Created
I had gotten used to the traffic but often became frustrated with a few stores that seemed impossible to enter.
One of those stores was Fazoli’s. For whatever reason, it looked like they had made great strides to have an exit right by their store. They had signage and it looked like the construction crew had even built them a special path for the exit. It was easy to get out of their parking lot.
The only problem was that it was extremely difficult to get into the store off of the busy temporary road.
You had to literally drive past the restaurant about fifty yards, turn into the strip mall down the way and navigate through a congested parking lot.
An Alternative Strategy
When I finally made it into Fazoli’s, I realized that the General Manager was on-site that day and we struck up a conversation. She explained that they had to work hard to get an exit out to the main road.
This left me perplexed as you could only make a right hand turn to get out of the parking lot and it was even more difficult to get into the store. So I asked why they were concerned about the exit more than the entrance?
You could almost see the lightbulb go off in the GM’s head when she realized how difficult they had inadvertently made it difficult to pull into the restaurant.
I explained my situation as a regular customer and shared how I used to come every week for their Tuesday special but had actually been avoiding them because it was too difficult to get into the store. I felt like I had gone out of my way that day and made an extra effort to come in.
Why This Strategy Matters
If you think about this logically, what is more important to a potential customer - how they get into your store or how they get out?
How they get into your store sets their perception and actually begins the start of their customer experience. When they are leaving your store, their customer experience is actually over with you and any frustrations they experience in getting out are often not associated with your store because their experience was already over.
A Better Way
The very next day, I noticed that Fazoli’s had new signs out in front of their store. Signs that were pointing to their new entrance - which made it easy for customers to quickly turn into their parking lot and eat at their restaurant.
The old wise saying explains this best: “location. location. location."
And its not just where you are located, but how easily your customers access your business
A Question For You
When have you found yourself avoiding a store because of its location?