I’d like to talk about retail design for the jewellery sector in this month’s blog post, especially as one of our clients – Green+Benz – has been shortlisted for ‘Best Store Environment’ at the UK Jewellery Awards 2016. We are very proud to have worked with Green+Benz on the retail design of their Chesterfield store, and thrilled that they were shortlisted for both Best Store Environment and Retailer of the Year.
A common retail design challenge for many jewellers today is how best to balance the display of multiple jewellery brands with the need to express the brand identity of their own jewellery store.
Below are some key steps we recommend when undertaking jewellery retail design projects:
- Plan your brief
To get the best out of your designers, it’s really critical to start by taking time to define your brief. You need to clarify your business goals, budgets, the timeline you’d like to keep to, as well as your preferred contractor (if you have one). Such projects can be very time consuming so you also need to think carefully about who will manage the project from the client side too.
- Be clear about your brand identity
In a competitive market place it is essential to be clear about your brand identity. Who are you? What makes you different to your competition? What are your aspirations? The first thing we do as retail design consultants is help you to find your point of difference so that you can ‘own’ your store environment – both inside and out. We want to clearly express your own brand story and balance this with the needs of the numerous brands you represent.
- Research your customers
What do you know about your customers? What are their needs? How do they shop in store now and how will they shop in the future? Consider if any future plans you have will change the make-up of your customer base and how you might service them in store? You need to compile a detailed description of your customers and their current and predicted future behaviour.
- Find out what your brand partners need
If you represent other brands then its obviously critical to work closely with them on any new store design. Think also about which brand partners you would like to retain or attract in the future. Talk to them right at the start of the process and discover their needs. Are there likely to be any brand adjacency issues that should be considered at the design planning stage?
- First impressions count
Your shop front is the first point of physical contact with your customers so you need to make a strong first impression. It needs to be clearly branded with a tempting ‘taste’ of what is inside. Your window should aim to excite and entice, with views through to ‘more inside’ in order to get customers over the threshold and into your store.
- Keep your customers engaged
Once customers are inside your store, your brand should continue to ‘shine’ through. It’s all too easy for the big brands you represent to dominate your space. During the design planning stage, your retail design consultant can help you consider how you can ‘curate’ the brands in order to take ownership of your store environment.
- Optimise your space for customer flow
Your design should make it as easy as possible for your customers to shop the entire store. Design elements based on customer flow will depend on the size of your store and will be based on your particular service deliverables – general customer service, cash desk, gift wrap, private consultation, repairs, design workshop, pre-owned, click & collect, seasonal promotions, etc. And don’t forget your staff’s back office requirements too – training, rest and relaxation space, WCs and offices. All of this must be planned into the design to make the most of your retail space and encourage a natural and comfortable customer flow.
- Make the best use of lighting
Remember, your window is the first thing that people see when they walk by. Your shop window has to be lit so that it draws people in to the store and doesn’t generate an uncomfortable glare on people browsing from the street.
Inside, jewellery stores require lighting schemes that accommodate and compliment the brands they sell. Many jewellery brands come with their own predefined lighting and display unitary so finding the right lighting scheme to work elsewhere in store can be a challenge. But it’s one we love to solve as design consultants.
A good lighting scheme will create the right balance of atmosphere, luxury and focus – from shop front and throughout the store interior. This is critically important because lighting levels will directly influence the store environment as well as the mood of your staff and customers. The perfect lighting design will generate the right highs and lows, creating a comfortable space to encourage your customers to linger.
- Consider your customers’ shopping journey
Customers obviously visit your shop both online and in store. So your branded in store communications and visual merchandising must be in line with your online strategy. Your store design should ensure that your customers have a seamless shopping experience. It’s important to avoid thinking in ‘channels’ – your customers don’t shop like that. So think carefully about your customers’ shopping journeys – from online to in store and vice versa – and ensure you engage with them appropriately.
- Brand your packaging
Finally, don’t forget your packaging – well designed, branded packaging is an additional advertising tool. And if you slip in a beautifully produced publicity piece too, the chances are that your customers’ friends and families will also notice your brand!
To round up, I’d just like to wish Green+Benz the best of luck in the UK Jewellery Awards. If you’re considering a redesign of your jewellery store, we hope these tips will help you get started. If you need any further help, do get in touch with us for some friendly advice.