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Retail Store Design: steps to success

We’ve banned the ‘B-word’ in the studio this week! But as the economic uncertainty persists in the UK and consumer confidence remains shakey, it can be challenging for businesses to stay focussed.

However, rather than dwelling on the problems that are outside of our control, we’ve been helping our clients to stay focussed on the future success of their retail businesses.

One such client – trading in Europe – is Dublin based Rocks Jewellers who started their ‘future retail’ journey with us at the beginning of last year.

Firmly established as one of Ireland’s leading independent jewellers, Rocks is a family business renowned for its quality of service and excellent craftsmanship. Their flagship store in Grafton Street – Dublin city’s premier shopping district – draws customers from across Ireland and beyond, while their nearby Stillorgan store, has been serving a loyal fan base for over 40 years.

Rocks is a well-established and successful business that wants to remain competitive in the current challenging retail climate. So Rocks’ MD Robert Rock approached us to help them explore the opportunities for their stores and to re-focus their overall brand development.

You can read about this particular project in more detail here but what I wanted to share today are some of the key steps to success that we recommend to clients like Robert Rock. And whether you are a multi-brand or mono-brand retailer the following guidelines should help you get the most from your next retail design investment.

“Innovare Design have helped us to reassert our brand authority over the store space. It’s now become a great platform to display and tell our own stories. Our new approach to visual merchandising provides customers with a clearer focus on our categories and collections. Together with some new strong graphic displays it also creates a real brand impact in store and has given us the perfect platform to launch our bespoke Michael Rock collection.” Helen Carr, Marketing Manager, Rocks Jewellers

Retail store design: steps to success:

1. Carefully consider your brief It might seem obvious but to ensure your design investment is effective, it’s really critical to start with some target setting to help inform your brief.  Clarify your business goals, budgets and timelines but also consider how you will measure the success of your design project.

2. 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 any brands you represent.

3. Understand 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? Might any future plans you have change the make-up of your customer footfall and how you might service them in store?

4. Find out what your brand partners need If you represent other brands in your store then it’s critical to work closely with them on any new store design. Think also about which brand partners you would like to 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?

5. 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.

6. Keep your customers engaged Once customers are inside your store, your brand should continue to ‘shine’ through. It’s all too easy for any 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 you represent in order to take ownership of your store environment.

7. 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 and must be planned into the design to make the most of your retail space and encourage a natural and comfortable customer flow.

8. Make the best use of lighting 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.

9. Consider your customers’ shopping journey Your customers want a seamless shopping experience so avoid thinking in ‘channels’ – customers don’t shop like that. Think carefully about your customers’ shopping journeys – from online to in store and vice versa – and ensure you engage with them appropriately and consistently.

10. Brand your packaging Finally, don’t forget your packaging – well designed, branded packaging is an additional advertising tool. And if you slip in an attractive publicity piece too, the chances are that your customers’ friends and families will also notice your brand!


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