Today we’re looking at the retail sector. It’s far from a secret that HVAC systems are important in maximising sales and customer satisfaction, but how, and why? It’s big business, after all; estimates on the commercial refrigeration equipment market alone show it to be worth nearly fifty billion Dollars by 2025.
So, let’s see what the fuss is all about. Specifically, how does air-conditioning affect customer behaviour, and how practical is it as an investment from a business owner’s perspective?
Point one: Buyer behaviour
There’s more than a little to this subject; thousands of studies are released every year on how retail stores can influence their shoppers and make them more inclined to spend.
Much of it is subconscious. When we enter a retail store, some of the first things we recognise are factors such as ambient temperature, smell and visual presentation. This split-second first impression has a drastic effect on how inclined we are to spend time in the store – and to buy products within it.
Temperature and humidity go hand-in-hand to influence buyer behaviour drastically – and they’re two elements an air-conditioning system can directly address. Just like Goldilocks and the three bears, it needs to be just right; temperature and humidity both being too high or low will immediately provide a poor experience, lowering time spent in-store and the inclination to buy. Humans being humans, such a small detail can even affect their view of an entire brand or franchise.
Neglecting air-conditioning systems places a genuine barrier between the potential customer and their final purchase. For retail stores that by nature deal in numbers and thrive off footfall, that quickly becomes a big deal indeed!
Point two: Investment misconceptions
It’s well and good for us to talk about how a buyer can be influenced by better temperature control, but there remain a few points that are high on the list of business priorities when the subject of investment arises. Fortunately, there are sound answers we’ve found after decades in the industry.
Disruption: Retail stores are the final part in a long, complicated chain of supply and management. They don’t exist in isolation, instead being fuelled by different parties and businesses – parties that can be challenging to ‘turn off’ if a store needs to be closed for the refitting of an HVAC system.
Fortunately, this isn’t always the case for air-conditioning. While some jobs do require absolute access and attention – Royale’s worked on more than a few! – it’s possible for the installation of air-conditioning systems to occur alongside normal business.
Better still, teams like Royale’s make a point of providing their work and skill outside of core hours. No disruption is the best disruption and its par for the course for our engineers to work their magic through the evenings and nights and on weekends as needed.
Cost: While the total cost of air-conditioning systems varies, the depth and breadth of technology available in the industry nowadays are in favour of the customer. Split systems and small units can provide cost-effective cooling and heating solutions for retail stores, making an important upgrade to the buyer experience feasible.
Even better, upfront costs can be mitigated via the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme. Across the UK, businesses can claim as much as the entire cost of their investment in air-conditioning or HVAC equipment – as long as it’s a piece of kit that’s on the Government’s approved list of energy-saving technology.
We wrote more on this in a recent article. Take a look at it here - there’s a serious cash-flow benefit available for UK businesses via the ECA.
Point three: Visibility and PR
Or lack thereof. Retail stores are all about public image, and it’s a fair misconception that an investment in an air-conditioning system is something that, when working well, will go entirely unnoticed.
Not the case. The importance of any company to demonstrate its ‘green credentials’ in 2019 is huge, and buyers across many industries – including retail – are aligning their purchases with businesses and brands that are socially responsible.
This is relevant to small stores as much as larger franchises. For smaller businesses, advertising and highlighting an investment that is both environmentally conscious and beneficial to customers is quite appealing!
For a larger business, it’s an effective boost to wider PR strategies that make a massive difference in how people perceive the brand. Even better, getting the details isn’t a chore; companies like Royale can easily procure lists from manufacturers we work with, such as Daikin, on how energy-efficient the hardware we install is.
Learn more - Speak to our team
If you’re in need of advice and information on our products or services, we’re right here to chat. Drop us a line at [email protected] or give the team a ring right away at 01635 551446. Speak soon!