5 Store Design Tips

Learn how to keep your customers interested in shopping.



A consumer’s first “28 seconds” starts as soon as your store is in sight. Making sure your customers are exposed to a positive impression of curb appeal sets the tone for the rest of the buying experience. Once a shopper enters the store, their senses kick in and begin to experience your retail presentation. First impressions are lasting, and having some kind of “Wow” factor in the first 10 feet of the entry door in crucial.

So, what do you have in your “Wow” area to woo your customers’ interest? It needs to change at least once every three to four weeks and must feature either a new product or service with a clear value price point.

The next design tip is that creating traffic flow is the life blood of sales. The further a customer walks into your store, the more products they can see. Create a defined “drive aisle” to your highest foot-trafficked items or department. Allow a secondary path of travel back to the store’s front checkout so customers see other products and not take the same path in and out.

Customers are typically very linear in their buying habits and use the same paths in and out of a store. The challenge is to create a circular traffic flow with different patterns. This is created through light, space, color and a defined drive aisle we like to call the “Yellow Brick Road Effect.” Stores like Target use red aisle tape to achieve this goal by simply defining the main drive aisles.

Effective lighting in a store can be a real game changer when it comes to impulse sales. Lighting has been proven to produce up to 15 percent in increased sales on a retail floor application. The three A’s of lighting—atmosphere, attraction and appraisal—are accomplished through setting the mood, and then adding in interesting products and services followed by items customers want to pick up to appraise. This is done by using layers of light: general, accent and task. The newest fourth layer of light now in play in retail design is décor lighting, such as chandeliers or unique art design signature pieces.

Visual merchandising and display are often overlooked in most retail applications. Department stores allocate up to 15 percent of their total budget for creating effective window displays, focal points, end cap displays and feature displays. Using visual merchandising in your store helps tell a story to your customers by creating interest and showing how different products can be used together. Whether it’s a simple doggy mannequin or an elaborate visual display, you have created interest in a sea of merchandise.

Lifestyle graphics can also play a role in creating a story by putting people and their companion animals in a real-world application. What is your visual plan for 2020?

The final tip for this article is dare to be different! Try something new, keep it fresh and build the moral of staff. Store culture and energy is very contagious.

Chris Miller is the president of Pacific Store Designs, Inc.


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