There’s a lot of planning that goes into designing the look of a retail store. While you definitely want to add style elements that are expressive of your brand, you also need to consider your target customers. A well-designed store will not only attract more customers, but can also lead to higher sales. To help you figure out the most important aspects to consider when designing your retail store, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) answered the following question:
“When it comes to designing the look of your retail store, what’s one thing you need to consider before making any final plans? Why?”
Here’s what they think needs to be in the front of your mind during the design process.
1. Your Target Audience’s Preferences
“Consider how your target audience prefers to use physical stores before finalizing plans. Think about how it should look and be laid out to suit them. For example, millennials like polished open-plan spaces and interactive elements. Deck the place out in an on-brand color scheme that appeals to your audience and include all the modern conveniences they expect, like coffee machines and self-service payment options.” ~ Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.
2. Ease of Navigation
“Make sure customers can navigate the space comfortably. Arrange your store so areas with more popular items have plenty of room. You could place them in a wider aisle or in an open space. In this time of social distancing, it’s extra important that customers don’t feel closed in. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different layouts.” ~ Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
3. Levels of Occupancy
“Ensure that the store is functional at 110 percent capacity, appealing at 50 percent capacity and also able to look inviting at 10 percent or less capacity. It’s important to consider all of these levels of occupancy because a retail store must always be inviting to those walking by.” ~ Salvador Ordorica, The Spanish Group LLC
4. The Brand Experience
“Your brand experience must come to life in your retail store. Always consider how the physical retail environment you create has the brand experience you want your customers to feel. Do not follow the herd when creating a retail store. Craft something unique and worthy of talking about and sharing with a friend. Design an experience that fits your brand, products and customer base.” ~ Jeff Cayley, Worldwide Cyclery
5. Usable Space
“White space is of critical importance. Similar to a webpage, your store needs to utilize each bit of space effectively for your audience. Pay attention to areas that could be usable for products, advertising and even your purpose for being in business.” ~ Marjorie Adams, Fourlane
“Now that retail stores are back in the game, we should be smarter in designing them. Make the experience worthwhile. Add comfortable chairs and make the store Instagrammable and spacious enough for people to appreciate and see what you have to offer. At the counter area, add big signs with hashtags where customers can post their stuff online and create an experience to make the store a plus to the online world.” ~ Daisy Jing, Banish
“As retail is our largest source of revenue, even as a nonprofit, we take it very seriously. Our major concern when designing our space is customer accessibility. We want to ensure our store is easy to spot, easy to access and easy to come back to multiple times. Parking and signage are of the utmost importance; this is the first access point to your space, but can also be a huge barrier to entry.” ~ Ashley Sharp, Dwell with Dignity
8. The Outside
“It might sound antiquated, but the storefront really is the most important part of attracting customers. Assume people who are window shopping are out to buy, and make sure that your store looks great from the outside before you furnish the inside. Also, consider changing up your windows to align with marketing and social media campaigns. This is one of the most important extensions of your brand.” ~ Matthew Capala, Alphametic
9. Natural Light
“I think that the best retail experiences are ones that have just the right lighting. It’s critical to design your retail space so that it makes the best use of natural light. Also, plan for energy-saving light sources that don’t look unpleasant or create a dull shopping space. When people associate your shopping location with good experiences, they’ll prefer it over your competitors’.” ~ Blair Williams, MemberPress
10. The Flow of Products
“Optimize the flow of products in the store. When it comes to brick-and-mortar shopping, engage the customers with the right products and as many as possible. Consider layouts like Target, where the must-have products are in the back half of the store. To get there, customers will first experience other items along their shopping journey, thus increasing sales per customer.” ~ Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.