Many retailers were hard hit by the pandemic. Restrictions meant that shops selling goods deemed to be non-essential had to close their doors for prolonged periods. Some bills continued despite the lack of sales. It is so sad to see some stores faced with no option but to shut their doors forever. On the other hand, people who were furloughed or made redundant have had time on their hands to consider new options for making money. Some are opening shops perhaps pursuing a long-held passion. It is vital to get things right and in this post I am answering the common question shopkeepers ask about why is retail design important?
Why is retail design important?
It goes without saying that you want to attract footfall to your store. The more attractive your shop appears to customers the better. Remember as in all areas of business it is more about what the customer likes than what you might like. Market research can help you so much in this regard to work out what potential customers consider beautiful and functional. Don’t forget to reflect your brand’s core values in your retail design too. For example, a cheap and cheerful brand will look very different to a luxury brand in retail.
The decompression zone
They say first impressions count so ensure you put a lot of thought into the first area customers see when entering your retail outlet. I am sure you have had the experience of walking into a shop only to feel uncomfortable leaving just a few seconds later. This is not an area to put a lot of signage or large amounts of merchandise as this can lead to overwhelm for shoppers. The vast majority of customers head right when entering a store so ensure your shop layout allows this to be done easily. In fact, ensuring there is a natural flow throughout the store always pays dividends. Fundamentally customer comfort is why retail design is important as an uncomfortable customer will vote with their feet and leave your store.
Visual speed bumps
Grabbing your customer’s attention by creating visual speed bumps is a great idea. Consider how pop-up shops are so effective at creating hype around a brand. Hype gets people talking which is great for your word of mouth and social media marketing efforts. You can also use them to inform and educate your market. Although pop-up shops might mean promoting yourself in a new location, pop-up installations can also be created in your own location. Pop-up shop design when done well is almost like a form of art in its own right.
At the checkout
When considering why retail design is important we have to mention the checkout area, Ultimately you are in business to make money so you have to make it as comfortable as possible for your customer to actually pay you. Make sure the customer can access the checkout easily and if they have to queue can do so comfortably. Think about apparently small but important points like ensuring the counter can hold their purchases and any personal items they carry with them such as a handbag or phone. It should go without saying that the checkout is a great place to encourage last minute additional purchases. Tempt them with marketing displays on the wall behind the counter and have products presented attractively here.
What aspects of retail design make you feel comfortable when out shopping?