3 Steps to Use Design to Boost Your Retail Business

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Many people have a misconception that design is purely for aesthetic, an added cost to the business that does not benefit them much other than visual appearance. Design is actually much more than that. A well thought out design comprises of analyzing human behavior, psychology, market trends, and strategic planning to create a multi-dimensional design that is able to connect with users on a personal level. Moreover, with so many other competitions out there in the market today, people are placing more emphasis on design as it is the first item that draws customers towards a business. Thus, having a well thought out design can actually help you generate more income with proper communication and strategic planning. Here are the 3 steps you need to take to make use of design to boost your retail business:  

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Step 1: Creating a strong concept design
A design concept is the foundation for which your entire business will be built upon. It sets the tone of your business, be it, fun, serious, playful, etc. and serves as a great storyteller for your business, conveying to your customers what your business is essentially about. Besides, it is also your first line of communication with your clients. The first time a customer sees a new store, he or she determines if the business appeals to them based on their first impression, and this is the best time to draw them in because it is still fresh and are further driven by curiosity from their first encounter. Once this moment has passed, the impact from the next encounter may no longer be as strong. So it is essential to have a solid concept to begin with to attract your target customers.

People also tend to associate a store’s concept and design with the value of its merchandise. Imagine walking into a Louis Vuitton store and purchasing a bag for $10,000. Now picture that same exact bag sold at a regular fashion boutique. Would you still pay the $10,000 price tag? It is all about perception, and by creating a concept that corresponds to your prices will help convince the consumers that your products are indeed worth its value.

Take your time to figure out what is your business is essentially about. Look at the key essence of your business and see how you can translate them into your concept, to convey a message to your consumers and tell them a story, setting the tone for your business and appealing to the right target market.  

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Step 2: Design your space effectively
To do this, you have to first know your numbers. By determining your budget, targeted crowd and amount of space needed to achieve your targeted revenue, it will give you a clearer picture on how to work out a design to help you meet your objective. Having an effective space planning helps save resources as it is able to utilize the space to its full extent and ensuring that every inch is taken into consideration to contribute to your business.

Bigger does not necessarily mean better. Most people have a misconception that bigger space equals more money, because if you have a larger selling floor it would seem that it means you have more space to sell more products. But what many do not realize is that their business may not need that amount of space. Rather, having a well-planned out space is actually more beneficial to your business. Take into consideration the amount of products you have, the revenue you would most likely generate from it and the size of your store, how much are your returns psf (per square feet)? Opt for a size that is suitable for your volume of products and compliment it with a design that is effective for the space to ensure that you are able to utilize your resources to its full extend.

Place emphasis to guide customers towards your products. Strategic product placement, lighting, space planning, all plays a role in determining how effective your space is and how well your products are visible to your customers. For instance, adding a spotlight to highlight your key product or designing an eye-catching display to feature your best sellers can help draw customers towards your key selling point, increasing your chances for a sale.

A well thought out space also determines your customers’ comfort level in your store. Plan your space accordingly to encourage certain behavior from your customers to help achieve you desired sales volume. For instance, it is more likely for a customer to browse around longer in a well-lit, spacious store as compared to a dim and narrow store, hence, improving your chances of a customer leaving with a purchase. However, if you were to open a fast paced F&B store where you want customers to just have their meals and leave, you may want to relook into their comfort level to ensure that you are able to achieve your sales volume.

Always cross-reference with your type of business to determine what type of interaction would you want your customers to have with your store. Are the spaces in your outlet suitable to your needs? What is it that you would like to emphasize on? Do you want them to purchase and leave? Or perhaps to stay and browse through your offerings? Consider all these aspects to work out a design that would benefit your type of business.  

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Step 3: Retail is detail
Pay attention to every aspect of detail in your store, from your material selection to finishes to colour choices, etc. All these helps determine the mood that you would like to set in your store. The difference of even using a light coloured wood to a medium one can bring a completely different outcome to your space. Analyze your target market and the type of ambiance you would want them to experience in your store, and make a selection that would appeal most to them. Another aspect that one should not underestimate is visual merchandising. Most people tend to overlook this part as it may seem like an added cost and are perhaps not the most necessary or important aspect of the outlet, as most retailers can still run their business without it. However, by adding just a few simple additions into a space can actually increase the overall outcome of your store and increase your customer’s appeal. Moreover, with social media on the rise and apps like Instagram and Pinterest which are heavily picture driven, having a store that is picture worthy may offer you more value than you think. Visual merchandising increases your aesthetic appeal, encouraging customers to take pictures and share it on social media, indirectly offering you ‘free’ publicity for your business, and what better way to promote your business than by having real life clients’ testimonials?   Incorporating design into your retail business is actually quite essential to ensure that your business is able to reach out to its audience effectively. Many retailers these days have noticed the importance of it and has integrated it as part of their business. Design not only increases the immediate appeal of your store, but it is also able to offer experience, solutions, strategy and increases the overall customer satisfaction, boosting your sales and giving you an effective outlet space for your business.  


At Visata Creative, we work together with our clients to Design Profitable Spaces. We work strategically as partners to our clients to ensure that they are equipped with the with the necessary insights and guidance for their businesses based on our years of experience in the retail industry through our interior design, graphic design & strategic marketing services.

To us, bigger space is not always better, what matters most in retail is the profitability of the space. We believe in winning the award that really matters in our industry – Helping our clients achieve the highest profitability possible within their retail business.

View our case studies to see how we have helped our clients achieve their goals and helped improve their businesses.

If you have any inquiries, email us at tim@viscreative.com and we will get in touch with you very soon!