Lay It All Out There

5 Tips for Improving Retail Store Design

For many small stores, retail store design and merchandising retail space can be overwhelming. Below we have some tips to make it a bit less daunting and more focused on your brand and target customer.

Many retailers still rely way too much on a hand sell experience. A salesperson can make or break the sale and that is a lot of pressure. Some customers don’t want to talk to a salesperson, but just want to grab what they need and get on their way. Or, what if store is busy and there isn’t a salesperson available, and they can’t find the item (Amazon app anyone?)?

Having strategic store design to properly feature products, combined with brand-appropriate attribute signage, can be the key to the actual store doing some of the selling for you.

Customers are increasingly doing research online and coming into stores expecting info to be available to them and not having to rely completely on a salesperson. Great store design can give your customers the best of both worlds: a friendly and available staff member, as well as strategic store design that will sell products on its own.

Below are several strategies to consider in your store design and layout:

  • From a design perspective, your windows are the key to drawing people into your store. Using an interruptive approach to windows is super important because it is difficult to see the intricacy of merchandise in a store window, so really playing up windows using a theme helps draw people’s attention. Window displays should be big and bold so people can easily read and see items from a distance. Small displays are too difficult for a person in a hurry to stop and notice.
  • In terms of sparking people to buy, make the store experience as pleasant, intuitive, and comfortable as possible once they walk through the doors. There are tons of strategies stores can employ, such as using labeled dressing room hooks (definitely/no way or yes, no, maybe) to make things easier for the customers to organize in the fitting room, but also makes it more efficient for staff to put items away (and prevents them from ending up on the floor).
  • Use a spotlight approach that is integrated into the design. This bold display is interruptive and can call attention to new items, dresses or key styles (but again, done in an on-brand way for the store). You can also easily paint or hang picture frames on the wall, or use a chalkboard or magnetic background and position products within to highlight them and call out details.
  • Customers tend to go to the right when they enter stores, so using this key real estate strategically is super important. Don’t put sale items here but instead new and exciting products that you want to make sure your customers notice.
  • Use the area around the cash wrap to showcase impulse items, and lower price-pointed goods. Make sure the area is clear of clutter and employee related items (all office supplies and notes should be hidden where customers can not see them).

Let your store do some of the selling for you. For small store owners, there are many ways to implement inexpensive and simple solutions. Scour Pinterest. It’s the secret weapon to smart and innovative store design. There are tons of great design examples (and how-tos) for boutiques, and many of them are DIY. Remember, a cool display isn’t enough. It must also fit the needs and expectations of your customer.

A common mistake when implementing retail store design is that it may look great, but is not functional for your customer. Before you design (or redesign) your store, think like a customer and what their needs will be when shopping your store. The look and feel and layout need to work for this person and the way they want to shop, or else this can have a negative effect on sales.

If you are hiring a store designer or architect, make sure all of the strategic guidelines are outlined for them in advance so they truly understand what you want the store design to accomplish.

We would love to see any changes you have made, send us pictures and we will give you feedback and post them on FB to show them off!