There are all kinds of retail spaces out there. From labyrinthine department stores and follow-the-arrows furniture warehouses to bare-bones fashion retailers. And if one thing’s certain, it’s that there’s more than one way to do it right.

There are, however, certain time-tested models and approaches that can be used as a foundation to build from when crafting a retail space. In this post we’re going to look at some of those approaches, and talk about the key considerations that need to be made with this unique form of interior design. 

Get your signage right

First things first. You can’t get people inside if the outside isn’t enticing. And to get the signage right, you need to think about the nature of your space and brand. 

Don’t be loud and bright for the sake of standing out. Be true to your brand. Consider the type of customers who are likely to walk through your doors and imagine what they would like to see. Bold lettering? Rustic? Minimal? It’s all about your target audience. 

Just remember that people do judge books by their covers, so make sure yours is a good  one!

Utilise window displays

Take a leaf out of Fenwick’s book and make a stellar promotional window. Granted, Fenwick’s does have an enormous window. But you can get the job done with a much smaller space.

Take Cole Hardware in San Fransisco, for example, who made clever use of some of their more colourful items by creating a mock farmers market window display

If possible, try to tell a story with your window. Play on a theme or topic. Do something quirky or funny or just aesthetically beautiful. If you really pay attention when you’re walking down the high street, you’ll notice that most shops really don’t do anything out of the ordinary with their window displays. This means there’s a lot of potential to make yours stand out. 

Be surprising. Consider the Cole Hardware example. If you’re walking past a hardware store, the last thing you’d expect to see in the window is fresh produce. The confusion alone will make you stop and look. Think about how your products can be displayed in a creative and unusual way.

But don’t forget to keep it clean. A cluttered window display will most likely confuse and repel passersby. And remember that people are busy. Many will be bustling and rushing down the street. So it needs to be simple enough that they can understand what they’re looking at without needing to stop. 

Go vertical

Incorporating the full height of your shop’s interior can help to maximise space and increase aesthetic quality. 

To make the most of your store’s vertical dimension, try adding shelves at varying levels. You can also install floor-to-ceiling curtains, or other unobtrusive tall object to draw customers’ eyes upwards. By making people look up you’re forcing them to perceive more space, which gives the impression of greater size. 

Embrace minimalism 

According to studies, shoppers respond more favourably to minimal retail interiors. 

Essentially, the quality of our shopping experience is affected by how crowded we perceive a store to be. This includes other customers and the layout of the store itself. Feelings of overcrowding can often be so imposing and confusing that they cause shoppers to leave the store entirely. And believe it or not, perceived store crowding can even effect customer loyalty. So retail interiors need to work hard to create the impression of space and freedom.     

For a bit of inspiration, take a look at these minimalist-inspired retail spaces

Make the most of your colour palette 

Whatever the design endeavour, colour always plays a vital role. Luckily, there’s an entire psychology behind colour palettes that we can use to our advantage. 

With retail space in particular, it seems that lighter colours are often associated with feelings of spaciousness and calm. So a neutral colour scheme could be the way to go if your aim is to put shoppers at their ease. 

Also bear in mind that neutral colour palettes don’t age as quickly as others. So not only will you be providing customers with a more calming and peaceful in-store experience, but you’ll be potentially saving yourself the job of redecorating further down the line.

Of course, not every store suits a light colour scheme. Depending on the nature of your brand it may be more appropriate to go with a darker or more vibrant palette. In this case, aim for a subtle approach. And as long as it makes sense aesthetically and the colours compliment each other without overwhelming the space, it’ll work nicely. 

Take your customers on a journey with the proper layout

Layout matters. There’s a reason why so many studies have been conducted into shopping habits and behaviours, and why so much money has been invested in perfecting the in-store experience.

For example, did you know that 90% of shoppers turn right when they enter a store? Armed with that level of insight, retailers can make subtle and savvy changes to enhance their customers’ shopping experience. 

Of course, the perfect layout should guide customers seamlessly through the store. Taking them past all the major points of sale, and encouraging purchasing behaviour along the way. But it’s important to choose a layout that’s best suited to the products you sell.

The four main store layouts to consider are:

  • Grid.  
  • Herringbone. 
  • Loop.
  • Free-flow.

If you’d like to learn more about each of these, and figure out which best suits your store, take a look at this interesting article. In short, you’re choosing between a guided or free-form interior. So it’s important to understand your customers and what they’ll want from their experience. Will they want to be left to their own devices, or guided along the way?  

Nail the point of sale

Point of sale displays are an important component of many retail stores. They provide a final chance for customers to grab a bargain, and for sellers to snatch a sale.  

Many point of sale products could be described as “impulse buys”. And it’s important to bear this label in mind, because impulse buying can often be nurtured by an enticing aesthetic. Cluttered till points, littered with disorganised piles of reduced goods, are visually unappealing, and so probably won’t generate many sales. A well thought-out, creative, and tidy display, on the other hand, has far more chance of encouraging that final purchase. 

All under one roof

For more on interior spaces, take a look atFeng Shui In The Workplace: How To Spruce Up Your Office For Productivity And Job Satisfaction, and The Wonderfully Inspiring Workspaces Of Famous Creatives