When customers enter a sales environment, it is often assumed that their sole motivation is the product. Without doubt, this will be the main reason for visiting the store but it’s not necessarily what makes them decide to enter in the first place or stay there. Positive and negative signalling begins before we even enter a retail space and takes us on a journey of different feelings, senses and emotions that will determine whether we enter, engage, purchase or leave.

With the rise of online shopping, it has never been more important for physical retail environments to raise their standards and apply a more consumer focused strategy that will give customers a reason to come out from behind their computers, and visit their store.

In order to build positive perceptions beyond advertising and marketing, good design needs to be at the centre of your retail strategy.  Successfully enhancing customer experiences, controlling how people perceive your brand and engaging your staff in the sales process, all depends on what type of retail space you create.

With over 30 years’ experience in designing, manufacturing and installing retail spaces, we thought we would highlight some key areas of how we think good design will enhance your business:

Stand out

Use the design of your space to stand out. Think about how customers will approach your space and how to entice them in. Also, think about the competition and retail environments around you and make a realistic comparison.

Colours, materials and visual displays, whether this is a window display, graphic or signage, are all key in attracting attention. The design of the entrance is critical to either inviting people in or turning them away, so you must consider what type of customer you want to attract, understand their needs and apply this to the design of your shop front.

First impressions are everything, so don’t waste the one opportunity you have to attract people into your store and don’t be afraid to stand out.  If you have a successful, relevant and attractive brand, use it.

Purposeful Design

Successful design must stem from a clear goal and sense of purpose, otherwise it will underachieve. Creating an environment that will appeal to a broad range of people with the common purpose of encouraging them to spend time and money, must be based on an in-depth understanding of the needs and desires of the target consumer.

You should encourage easy access and movement around the space to allow people to browse and make their own decisions, while subliminally guiding them through the sales journey.

The flow should be easy, flexible, interesting and have clever features to navigate customers without asking them to think for themselves. This can be achieved by designing and creating a layout and structure using smaller design details, music systems and lighting designed to trigger certain actions, emotions and decisions.

Essentially, you must always keep the function of your retail space at the forefront of your mind, as you can easily get caught up in the fun and excitement of the design process lose sight of your core objectives.

Turn emotion into action

Effective sales is all about evoking emotions. You should create an environment which makes people feel happy, confident, safe, engaged, excited, intrigued, inspired, comfortable and rewarded. Your product and audience will determine what emotions you want to evoke but whatever the outcome, the space must embrace and enhance these desired emotions to either attract people back or lead to a sale. That’s why good design is integral to a successful sales environment. The colours, patterns, and textures you select can have a huge impact, as well as graphics, signs, product displays, space layout and much more. So, if you know your audience and you embrace good design, you are giving yourself the very best chance of success.

Know your audience

You will no doubt have hundreds of ideas running through your mind about how to design your retail space but it is important not to let your own perceptions and opinions come before those of your customers.

You must put the consumer at the heart of this process. By understand them, their wants, desires, needs and motivations, you are able to make a connection. Do some customer research, analyse competitors and always make decisions based on how you want to engage your target audience. Otherwise, you may not engage the people you are trying to attract.

Be consistent

Being consistent in the design of your retail space will prevent confused messages and build trust and confidence in the consumer. A consistent environment will ensure the customer knows where he/she is, what to expect and breaks down any barriers of uncertainty or mistrust. It is even proven to boost sales, as people like to spend money within what they know to be a genuine and professional environment.

Being consistent right down to the last detail will transform your space from just average to amazing, and will fully immerse customers in your brand experience. This will no doubt have a positive influence on your business and gain customer loyalty.

Adaptable design equals flexible business

To get the most return on your money and increase the longevity of your retail space, you should make it adaptable to future change. Although you can’t always foresee specific changes, you should be mindful of this throughout your design process. Things like technology, processes and even the products or services you sell could evolve at a rapid pace, so it is important to avoid your product display being restricted because of limited or inflexible space.

Save your business money and think ahead to creating a space that is truly adaptable and can accommodate future change, without major upheaval.

For more information, inspiration or advice on retail architecture, interior design or space planning, please contact us by emailing  or calling us today on 01577 89 80 10 and we will be delighted to assist.