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When it comes to retail design, no store is the same. Whether it’s the layout, colour scheme, furniture or shelving, each aspect of retail design is crucial in creating an inspiring space for both a business and consumer. Due to the competition of the virtual world, making a space engaging and stimulating is pivotal for retail engagement, sales and profitability and is an aspect which can help keep this industry afloat. In this article, we’ll discuss why retail design is so important from both a business and customer perspective and all the key essentials involved in successful retail design.

Christian wiediger i8 t4lmca6k unsplash from aci

Why is retail design so important?

Effective store design can have a tangible impact on businesses, helping to differentiate from competitors, showcase work, boost sales and create a more enjoyable working environment. The design solution can also offer benefits to the customer by increasing engagement and offering an enjoyable shopping experience. The store environment is ultimately a reflection of the company so needs to not only fit into its ethos and identity but also work in favour of profitability and success. Here are the main reasons why retail design is so important

  • Enhances customer experience
  • Differentiating your brand
  • Maximising sales and profits
  • Creates a consistent brand image
  • Improved customer service
  • Improves operational efficiency
  • Employee satisfaction and recruitment

6 Essentials for successful retail design

To create a successful, compelling retail space, you need to understand aspects such as the target audience, the business aims, what you’re selling and how best to sell them. These can be done through a number of techniques and come together to create an area which is effective and usable.

Understanding your target audience

Customers are one of the most important parts of any business. Without a customer, there would be no sales, so understanding what they want is crucial in the design process. It is important to understand your target audience’s lifestyle and preferences as you can then incorporate these into interior design and marketing materials. For example, if you’re designing a children’s toy store, you’ll want to make the space fun and energetic, focusing on bold colours and trending themes.

Effective storefront design

The storefront is the first point of contact with potential customers and is there to entice and invite them. If a customer isn’t pleased or interested in the front of the store, the chances of them coming inside are slim. Unless you are a well-known, household name, the first impression counts and the storefront is the ideal way to grab customers’ attention whilst also promoting the best products or services. Effective storefront design will include visual merchandising, marketing such as offers and promotions and a touch of branding.

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Store layout and space utilisation

Modern-day customers are typically in a rush and are no longer taking a leisurely stroll through stores, meaning a lot of the time, they might miss out on a chunk of the shop or not see all that’s on offer. That’s why store layout and space are so important. To create a successful retail design, the main objective is to slow down the customer journey and encourage customers to browse, try things and enjoy their experience. This can be done through an effective layout where paths and navigation are provided, using a grid, herringbone, loop or free-flow layout.

For more on customer experience, have a look through our blog on how store design can affect customer experience.


An organised store can make a shop experience much more enjoyable and successful in terms of sales. No matter how big a store is, a disorganised space is off-putting and can impact a customer’s decision-making and time inside. This not only looks unattractive but will also deter customers from finding what they need and could cause stress and irritation. When planning store design, incorporating retail shelving, backstock and visual organisers will help keep the space clean, tidy and easy to buy from.

Creating a consistent brand identity

Your store should be a reflection of the business, with everything tied together to create an innovative and unique place which is recognisable and memorable. Keeping branding consistent across retail and online is crucial for brand reputation and success and will help to set you apart from any competitors. Adding branding into the retail design can be as small as printed shopping bags or as large as a giant logo wall, but the branding involved must be consistent.

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Successful retail design does more than just invite customers and make sales, it creates an experience. As mentioned previously, customers are now flooded with a constant stream of technology and entertainment and aren’t always satisfied with the simple things. That’s why businesses are adding innovative features to their stores in order to retain customer attention and loyalty and make a space like no other. Many big retailers are adding interactive features into their stores to allow customers to try products and get the full adventure. For example, sports shops are installing running machines, mini-games and self-assessment stations to offer not only a final product but knowledge too.

Retail fit-outs by ACI

Choosing a Retail Fit Out contractor for your new premises is a very important decision and is something that should not be rushed into! Let our experienced team here at aci™ guide you through the process!

Dealing with us could not be simpler, our service includes a free site survey and CAD plans for your fit-out, free compliance checks for Building Control and Fire Compliance, and we offer a full turn-key service from start to finish to make your store fit-out exactly how you want it!

So, if you are looking for a company to take on the commercial interior design process for your retail fit-out, give us a call today at 0115 939 7572 and let’s get started!