It's no secret that the longer customers hang in your store, the more money they spend. So creating "being spaces"--settings where customers are encouraged to linger--is a big movement within the retail sector, according to trend site Trendwatching.com.
"We're seeing new-style independent retailers reclaiming this space from the many Starbucks-like independent coffeehouses in every major city in the world," says Reinier Evers, Trendwatching.com's founder.
The Blues Jean Bar, a men's and women's boutique that specializes in blue jeans, is an example of how to do it right. Customers belly up to the bar and, instead of crying in their beers, spill details about body size and shape. Bartenders then serve up several pairs of jeans that are likely to fit the bill. Stores are located in Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Santa Monica, California.
The comfortable décor includes a long, antiqued bar, overstuffed leather chairs and even bar stools in one location. During Friday happy hours, customers get vino with their jeans, and behind-the-bar TVs show the ballgame or a bit of news.
"Our customers love to be here, so they come back more often," says founder Lady Reiss, 30. "Many of them say that it's like being in their own living room."
Gwen Moran is co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans.