Retail Therapy

Tips on designing an effective yet alluring retail space. How do some retailers manage to create enticing shopping destinations while managing to address the consumer's specific needs? The right blend of materials, colo

April 6, 2018

Retail Therapy

Tips on designing an effective yet alluring retail space.

How do some retailers manage to create enticing shopping destinations while managing to address the consumer's specific needs? The right blend of materials, color scheme, visual merchandising, and graphics coupled with fixture design and store layout can make all the difference. "Consumers form their brand opinions based on their impressions of retail stores, " says Troy Schwehr, retail sales consultant for fixture manufacturer F.C. Dadson.

Since consumer recognition and response are crucial to a brand's success, Schwehr suggests retailers keep things consistent. "If a retailer has multiple locations, it should use similar designs and layouts to provide familiarity," advises Schwehr. "Color is also another trigger. If there's a recognizable color scheme in a retailer's logo and advertising, similar colors should be used within the store to tie those elements together."

Balance is another element to consider when designing a retail space. A store design that is too functional may result in

an atmosphere that lacks stimulation, but a store design that is too creative can be difficult to navigate. "Finding a balance between the two is key to making it work," says Schwehr. The color palette, materials, visual merchandising, fixture design, and graphics can enhance creativity, but the store layout and fixture designs are key to a store's functionality.

A functional design also can aid in the selling process enabling salespeople and customers to easily locate products. Easy-to-navigate floor plans and directional signage let consumers know where they are and where they need to be. "When my company began working with tobacco retailer Custom Blends, one of the first things we noticed was that the existing stores were cluttered with products," reveals Schwehr. "By creating fixtures and spacing them in a way that accommodated the natural flow of traffic, we freed up aisles." Sales increased as a result of more merchandise being made visible.

Failing to plan a retail space that is friendly to its selling process is one of the biggest mistakes Schwehr sees storeowners make. "Your layout is the function of this flow and your sales process," says Schwehr.

Which retailers have created retail environments that are stimulating and easy to shop? Schwehr notes that the design magazines are abuzz about the high-tech, yet equally engaging Apple store. Apple successfully tied the unexpected into a logical layout, which transformed the act of shopping into an enjoyable and efficient experience. He also mentions Anne Geddes' flagship store in Anaheim, Calif. "With her now-famous baby photos on display, the creative element is certainly there," says Schwehr, who believes the store's round floor fixtures make is easy for moms with strollers to navigate the store.

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