You may want to rethink those cool-yet-uncomfortable futuristic chairs in your agency’s waiting area and its stark overall décor. They might be hurting your business.
According to a study called Place Attachment in Commercial Settings: A Gift Economy Perspective, creating a more homey vibe will help consumers or clients feel more attached to your space and more secure in it. And that translates into client loyalty, the study’s authors say.
Commercial settings that can create a sense of domesticity are seen as atypical—and highly valued. Part of creating this type of office means making clients feel welcomed “in a space where social interaction is dominated by genuineness, spontaneity, sincerity, and personalization.” It’s also about clients feeling as though they’re connected to a “supportive place that triggers feelings of trust and well-being.”
The study, based on consumer interviews and internal business reports in France, explores how people develop, experience and act upon place attachment in commercial settings. The three marketing professors behind the study discovered that “place attachment develops through perceptions of familiarity, authenticity and security and evolves into experiences of homeyness.”
The study was authored by Alain Debenedetti (assistant professor of marketing at the Université Paris-Est – Institut de Recherche en Gestion), Harmen Oppewal (marketing professor at Australia’s Monash University) and Zeynep Arsel (associate professor of marketing at Montreal’s John Molson School of Business at Concordia University).
So how do you get that comfortable, homey vibe? The décor is a good starting point, but creating “homeyness” in an office goes beyond its physical features. It also encompasses “the way the proprietors, employees and other people engage with the place and its inhabitants.”