Retail is a highly competitive sector and, as external challenges also become more abundant, it becomes essential for brick and mortar stores to ensure they are doing everything they can to succeed. Following the UK’s international health crisis response, notably its extended and numerous lockdowns, retailers have been forced to not only refine their operations but also adapt their store designs to a new culture of customer demands.
While the difficult circumstances have prompted many high street businesses to ultimately make better design decisions, a number are still falling into common pitfalls that prevent their spaces from achieving success of comfort or aesthetic. This is why making these mistakes is no longer solely about an opinion of design quality but can also lead to loss of sales through lack of efficiency and safety.
To help, we’ve put together the most common errors that continue to occur in retail design, discussing why they’re problematic, and what retailers can do instead to better improve their store’s experience.
Failure To Lead
When designing a store, you must have a sense of authority. Shoppers should effortlessly know exactly where they’re supposed to go, whether this is achieved through stand offs and displays or focal lighting and signs, Retailers must lead customers through their stores with design, ensuring that, at no point, is it possible for confusion. Despite this importance, many retailers fail to view their shop from a fresh perspective, designing it instead from a familiar point of view.
To identify and remedy this potential problem, closely watch the flow of your shop’s footfall. Or, alternatively, invite newcomers into your space and ask them for feedback.
Inefficiency of Space
Overwhelming a space, especially for the sake of merchandising, continues to be one of the most pervasive errors in retail design. Retailers forget that space is an essential part of the shopping experience. Thankfully, the essential social distance of COVID has prompted most retailers to give shoppers better room to browse but, despite this, some stores continue to overload their floorplans with furniture.
If compromises to a shopfloor and its merchandise cannot be made, it is vital that retailers also consider vertical space too, identifying useful, modular design features, such as slatwall, that can help to alleviate the pressure from horizontal space.
Style Over Comfort
As stores try to better present their brand’s personality, showcasing the lifestyle associations of their products in-store, retail spaces are becoming more commonly unique. Displays and aesthetics are bold and confident, wowing customers with alternative designs that make for interesting shopping experiences.
There is a problem, however, when these stylistic choices encroach on the comfort of shoppers. If browsing becomes difficult or a checkout experience becomes confusing, a shopper’s positive impression will deteriorate.
Creating Excess Noise
While minimalist design isn’t appropriate for every shopping experience, retailers seem generally and consistently prone to favour displaying as much information as possible. It remains common for checkout counters to be overloaded with posters, offers, and pamphlets as retailers seek to inform customers about every ongoing sale and service.
Ensure displays are succinct and essential or risk them becoming noise that customers inevitably phase out of their peripherals.