How a store redesign could save your retail business

The dominance of online shopping has left many retailers struggling to attract customers to their high street branches, and even MPs are now expressing the fear that city centres ‘could become ghost towns’ as a result. Though you may be feeling the threat towards your own store, there is still hope for physical retail.

The first half of 2018 saw a “resurgence among traditional bricks and mortar stores”, with many dominating OC&C Strategy Consultants’ list of the UK’s top 30 retailers. The study cites “new innovations [that] improve customer journey offerings” as a major reason for this push, with more brick and mortar stores harnessing their real life presence to entice customers back. A physical location for shoppers to visit is something that online retailers can’t match—so much so that online brands are going on to open physical stores as part of their brand strategy.

Store design in particular impacts brand engagement and is becoming increasingly crucial for retailers. In fact, 53% of retailers want to spend more on retail design in order to boost customer engagement. But why exactly is store design so important, and how can a redesign save your business?

Personalised retail design can set your business apart

A store redesign can help your customers get the most out of your store in a way which is unique to each individual. Personalisation is becoming increasingly sought-after by shoppers, with research from Infosys finding that 31% of consumers want a more personalised retail experience. Yet, only 22% of shoppers are happy with the level of personalisation they presently receive, so providing this in your own store will both appeal to your audience and set you apart from competitors.

A shining example of a brand creating a personalised experience through their retail design comes from Australian luxury bag retailer Mon Purse. Teaming up with FormRoom, an agency who specialise in retail design, they incorporated touchscreens and iPads into their Selfridges concession, so that customers could digitally customise their own Mon Purse bags. Staff then used embossing stations to create these personalised purses for shoppers to take home, in a move that was sure to appeal to the preferences of shoppers.

Alluring window displays entice customers into your store

Enticing window displays are equally essential for retail businesses, and can increase sales by a staggering 540%. Window displays can encourage footfall and sales by not only exhibiting a brand’s stock, but its personality as well. However, a drab, lifeless window display could drive customers away, so it is imperative that you spruce up what’s in your windows, if they are currently lacking.

Perhaps the best way to do this is by using your windows to create a narrative. Scientific studies show that storytelling releases oxytocin—the ‘feel-good’ hormone—and helps us build connections with others. Consequently, stories are a highly effective marketing strategy and have been utilised by brands not just for advertisements, but to create engaging window displays that attract customers into their stores.

Take Patrón Spirits, whose 60 Hands window display at Selfridges on Oxford Street store shared the story of how their Tequila Patrón is made. Cast models represented the 60 hands needed to craft a Tequila Patrón bottle, from harvesting the agave to physically making the bottle. The display was an innovative way for Patrón to depict their brand story and thereby resonate and connect with potential customers. Indeed, it was so well-received that it won the award for Best Window at the Independent at the Visual Merchandising and Display Awards.

Appealing and functional interior design can reinforce your brand

Attractive in-store interior design and visual merchandising can further emphasise your brand’s personality and encourage sales. Gucci’s Wooster store in SoHo, New York, is a great example of this. Firstly, the store’s use of restored wooden floors and brickwork creates a vintage aesthetic that nods to the brand’s endurance, having been founded almost a century ago. However, as one of the biggest names in modern fashion, this classic feel is juxtaposed with various contemporary features, such as an interactive LED wall to emphasise Gucci’s blending of traditional and modern styles. By thinking about what your brand represents, and reflecting this in your interior design, you can communicate its identity and deliver your brand experience to customers. This will help you forge a connection with them, which can lead to long-lasting relationships that drive your success.

It is also important that your interior design is functional. Your store’s layout can enhance the possibility of sales by guiding your customers through the shop, so that they see as many of your wares as possible. One common tactic is to put your most desirable products at the back of your store, compelling shoppers to pass by other items on the way, and increasing the possibility of impulse purchases. Another useful approach is to locate some products at the point-of-purchase, as this will force customers to consider spending money on these items too.

Claire James
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