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Customers are influenced by shop spaces, with their browsing and purchasing habits changing depending on the environment around them. This can work to the benefit of high street brands or to the disadvantage. Retailers who take into consideration their shop design, and how the layout and aesthetic of their shop space may affect their customers mood and comfort, are assured to find greater long-term success on the high street.

A great deal of positive design, that which works toward success, is subjective. Well-known examples of so-called rule-breaking designs include Hollister’s dark shop spaces, leading people to browse in low light but favouring the mystery, as well as Lush’s crowded shop spaces that can easily feel congested but mimic bustling markets. While these examples are useful to recognise as unique successes, the fundamentals of what retail designs make for a positive browsing experience must be understood.

To help, here are four ways retailers can potentially improve their shop design.

Space For Individuals

There is a well-evidenced experience within shop spaces that customers generally feel more comfortable with a greater amount of space. This means that the inclination for brands to fill a shop space with products and displays must be measured to ensure that customers are able to browse without coming into too near a proximity of others; a concept known as the butt brush effect.

This is because if a customer has to make physical contact with another customer due to limitations of physical space, their comfort levels sharply drop and they are more likely to leave. While there are notable exceptions, such as Lush’s aforementioned bustle, this consideration is an important one for shop design.

Direction And Orientation

Navigation is an essential quality of browsing. While some shops may present themselves as encouraging aimless browsing, giving the impression that customers can meander without direction, there will still be a clearly defined structure for navigation. This is crucial because customers need to orient themselves to feel comfortable, placing a great importance on sign fittings and horizontal visibility. There is also value to be found in key displays, which can help customers to navigate through a shop space without the need for detailed signage.

Expertise Of Staff

Customers appreciate expertise. Sales representatives that can offer such insight into products are, as such, invaluable. They are able to ensure that customers are making informed decisions about their purchases, which is a quality that is increasingly difficult to find, especially during a period of online shopping where reviews are regarded with less integrity. As such, there remains a place for informed and passionate staff who can support browsing experiences and give customers a reason to visit a shop space

Ease Of Checkout

Purchasing an item should have as few challenges as possible. Every detail, from queuing to accepting a receipt, is a small detail that can accumulate into a complicated experience. Retailers who eliminate unnecessary issues, allowing customers to checkout easily and without the need to manage packaging and receipts (i.e. potential waste) will find their customers favouring the ease of translation.

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