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the 5 most important principles of retail store design

The 5 Most Important Principles of Retail Store Design

The goal of retail store design is to entice customers over the threshold of your shop and influencing them to make a purchase. Online shopping has seen a consistent increase in popularity since it began but has boomed in the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, with 35.2% of purchases being made via the internet in January 2021.

Physical shops have to be destinations that customers really enjoy visiting, and that all starts with excellent store design. Here are five important principles that every retailer should apply.

Creating Eye-Catching Window Displays

Retail window design is incredibly powerful and shouldn’t be underestimated or neglected, as it is what attracts the attention of potential customers and gets them over the threshold. The most important part of the window is the merchandise that is selected to be displayed, and all other elements should play a supporting role to it. However, it is also vital that the window display gives people walking past a good sense of the look and feel of the shop within, so it must reflect the interior design of the store.

As well as foregrounding the merchandise, window displays should follow general principles of good design, such as composition, balance, rhythm, dominance and repetition, as well as artistic elements like complementary colours, varied textures and well-considered proportions.

Carefully Consider Design and Layout

The interior design of your store must be attractive to the customers you are trying to tempt in. Be bold, creative and innovative with your design and focus on the physical experience shoppers will have. This is one area where e-commerce simply can’t compete, so it’s crucial to ensure people in your shop have an experience that is immersive, interactive and memorable.

The key to making this a success is knowing who your customers are: do they want bright colours and bold patterns or muted tones and gentle lighting? By matching the design of your shop to the people you wish to entice in, you’ll have a far greater chance of increasing footfall.

The layout of your store should slow down the customer’s journey through it, and tempt them to dwell and browse rather than allow them to get in and out as quickly as possible. However, the layout must be well organised and easy for the customer to navigate, as a chaotic experience will not entice them to make a purchase or return. By directing them through the store using flooring, the position and direction of merchandise stands and lighting they can find the area they are looking for whilst viewing as much of your other merchandise as possible.

Optimise Every Area

Renting a retail space is expensive, so you have to make sure that every single centimetre of the store is working as hard as it possibly can. Any dead areas are simply wasting potential profit, so ensure every area of your shop is geared towards selling products.

However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that optimising space means cramming in as many products as possible, as customers need to feel a sense of space and flow. A good example of optimising all areas without having products stuffed in every available place are the Apple stores. By offering a clean, uncluttered and appealing space, Apple has created an experience that people want to participate in. Optimising every area means thinking about how your shop works as a whole as well as separate areas.

Think About Categories and Adjacencies

Managing categories and adjacencies means getting the right product in front of the customer at the right time and at the right price. One example of this is putting offers for unhealthy foods such as sweets and chocolate in prominent locations like supermarket checkouts. This has been such a successful method of category management that it will be restricted by the government from April 2022 in an attempt to help people make healthier choices. Thinking carefully about categories and adjacencies makes shopping easier for customers and promotes cross-selling and upselling, resulting in better sales. If you put the socks right next to the shoes, people are much more likely to make this related purchase than if they have to walk to another area of the store to find them.

It’s important to utilise all the possible space when making decisions about categories and adjacencies. Retail consulting expert Paco Underhill developed a theory called the ‘butt-brush factor’, which says that shoppers - especially women - are much less likely to purchase something if they are brushed from behind by another person, a piece of merchandise or a display table while examining products in a store. If arranging by category and adjacency is creating cluttered displays, use wall space to showcase products as well as design.

Maximise Retail Sightlines and Focus Points

Sightlines are the natural point that a customer’s eyes are drawn to when they enter and navigate a store. They need to be able to identify where they should browse, where they should interact and where they can make a transaction, all while they are still on the threshold. Relevant and attractive products should also be in their sightlines, so their attention remains focussed throughout their journey through the store. Focal points are the locations at the end of the sightlines, which should draw the shopper by being interesting or relevant to their shopping experience, for example a special offer or the customer help desk.

Good sightlines and focal points allow the customer to participate actively in their shopping experience, for example by ensuring staff members are clearly visible and easy to approach for help and advice. By making your sightlines as long and clear as possible you create a calm and accessible shopping environment that they want to spend time in.

Designing your store using these principles will influence a customer’s experience and behaviour in ways that result in more engagement, higher spending and repeat visits. At Mobius Works we can design an interior for your retail space that is both beautiful and cost effective. Get in touch today for more information.


Source: Unsplash


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