Does your commercial property lack curb-appeal? Do you hope to attract new, potential customers into your premises?
A customer builds their first impression of a business from its external appearance.
And first impressions count.
If they’re faced with a breeze-block prefab – grey, drab, austere – they might not consider stepping foot over the threshold at all.
Do you want to appear municipal, run-down, and functional?
Make sure that your customers feel welcome and warm. Read on for our seven tips for enhancing your commercial property’s outdoor space.
1. Entrance Canopies and Walkways
You want your customers to find you as quickly as possible, and a canopy over the front of a building draws the eye towards the entrance. Moreover, a canopy or an erected pod provides some welcome shelter from the weather.
Pre-erected or constructed pods bring a little extra versatility to your commercial property’s outdoor space – making outdoors more accessible all year round.
Canopies offer protection from direct sun during warm days and shelter from the rain when the weather is predictably inclement.
If your building has multiple entrances, make getting from one door to another as accessible and straightforward as possible with a walkway canopy, and sturdy, effective paths.
Consider the accessibility of wheelchair users as much as for those on foot: neatly tarmacked pathways provide clear paths for everyone, clear of mud.
Walkways lined with shrubs, while requiring some maintenance, make particularly attractive, and clearly demarcated paths.
When you’re furnishing an environment that’s entirely man-made, the more nature you can return to the space the better.
2. Choice of doors
Do your customers squeeze through a single door round the back of the building, alongside the bins? Or are they welcomed by a wide opening with a good view of the inside from the pavement, and an appealing glimpse of the pathway once you get inside?
A wide, open door is psychologically welcoming. Whether it is bi-fold, sliding or French doors, they open up your premises’ frontage, providing an instant welcome. For restaurants, cafes, delis, and shops, you want your customers to feel at ease – not trapped.
Your path and doorstep also say a lot about you as a business: a cracked concrete footpath hardly screams “enter”, does it.
Consider paving your path with attractive slabs. Go for interesting tessellations and eye-catching patterns. Inset LED lights in your path will really lift your entrance.
Healthy plants add colour and life-energy to outdoor spaces – with the emphasis on healthy.
Go for plants that are simple to maintain – shrubs generally require less watering than individual potted plants, for example.
Heather and lavender are easy to maintain and give off an attractive scent. Ivy requires literally no maintenance at all and gives your building a homely, noble feel.
Displaying your logo and company name on plant and shrub-pots helps you to claim the space outside of your building.
If you’re hoping that your café customers might brave the elements, give them a little comfort. After all, a busy outdoor space is an excellent advertisement for a catering establishment.
If you’re likely to experience inclement weather (we are in the UK, after all), perhaps consider outdoor heaters.
Provide somewhere secluded for your smoking patrons or workers: it’s not particularly welcoming for non-smokers to glide through a cloud of cigarette smoke as they enter your premises.
Comfortable outdoor furniture can make all the difference.
4. Decorative Features
While the outside of your building may look like it’s in need of pillars or statues, it’s advisable to go down the more tasteful route: you don’t want to stand out for the wrong reasons.
Water features contribute an earthly salutation to your visitors. Water features are commonly found in shopping malls because they introduce a touch of nature into an artificial environment.
Customers are perceivably relaxed, and vendors claim that being close to a water fountain in a mall increases sales by creating a calming ambience for shoppers.
Having a well-lit entrance is essential. Light pouring through glass draws the eye towards the door, and a warm light feels welcoming.
If your business deals with the chemical side of things (pharmacies, doctors surgeries, dental surgeries, etc.) a cold white light adds a reassuring clinical aesthetic.
A lit building looks more welcoming and attractive by night and improves the security of your premises and your patrons.
Line walkways with LED up-lighters to help guide your visitors to your door during winter months when daylight fades early in the afternoon.
Bright, cheerful, attractive colour attracts attention. Used at the entrance, colour acts as a signifier – literally drawing your patrons towards the doors.
Of course, the colour scheme is essential and represents your brand. A combination of contrasting and complementary colours are preferable over clashing and dizzying combinations, however eye-catching.
Colours have subliminal associations:
• Red – associated with energy, war, danger, strength, passion
• Orange – combines the vitality of red and the happiness of yellow. Associated with joy, enthusiasm, creativity, happiness, strength, endurance
• Yellow – warming, cheerful. Bright, pure yellow grabs attention (babies cry more in yellow rooms!)
• Green – the colour of nature. Symbolises harmony, freshness, growth, fertility
• Blue – the sky and sea. Associated with depth, stability, trust, wisdom, confidence, tranquillity.
• Purple – combines the energy of red, and stability of blue. Associated with regality, power, nobility, luxury, ambition, wealth, creativity, mystery and magic.
• White – light, goodness, purity, cleanliness, positivity, faith.
The exterior of your commercial property is the first impression your customers will have of your business. Draw them inside with welcome, style, and a little touch of grandeur.