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An ideal retail design should attract, retain and convert visitors into customers. With online shopping experiences evolving, foot traffic and customer loyalty are at stake in many retail stores.
How can a physical store maintain its identity over online experiences? Can a store's interior design influence customers' purchasing decisions? What is the role of interior design in retail spaces?
Implementing effective designs has far-fetching tangible benefits for retail stores and anchors their brand quotient. Incorporating marketing elements such as visual merchandising can boost visitors' engagement and drive conversion.
But before we assume the results, let's do a thorough analysis!
What are Retail Spaces?
Retail spaces are physical spaces that sell products, services, and experiences to influence the customer's buying decision. A strategic interior design reflecting the brand values can capture a positive relationship between the brand and the customer.
What is Retail Interior Designing?
Retail Interior designing is the practice of organizing and designing retail spaces. The prime objective of retail designing is to build a positive relationship with customers using spatial experience and brand narrative.
What Does a Retail Interior Designer Do?
The retail interior designer creates and designs interior layouts, product displays, and other visual elements. They ensure functional, organized, and aesthetically appealing spaces for an elevated customer experience.
What is Visual Merchandising?
Visual merchandising is the practice of strategically arranging product displays and other visual elements to attract customers. The main goal of visual merchandising is to provide a positive and impactful customer experience to drive sales.
What Does a Visual Merchandiser Do?
A visual merchandiser is responsible for planning, arranging, and displaying products. It is critical to deploy marketing agendas and opt for strategic displays that attract visitors and convert them into customers.
5 Critical Differences Between Interior Designing (ID) and Visual Merchandising (VM)
Interior designs and visual merchandising have a similar workflow but accomplish different purposes. Identifying your desired goal can help you decide which aspect to focus more on.
ZARA Stores Emphasizing on Experiential Design
ID: Image represents the Zara showroom interior design layout and circulation. It has products in the center and customers walking around them along long aisles.
VM: Image of Zara showroom showcasing complementary attires together to create a complete outfit. It focuses on arranging products in mannequins and interactive clothing displays. This attracts customers' interest as they get a complete outfit on a single counter.
Simply said, the principles of retail store design are to enhance functionality and spatial experience, while visual merchandising involves marketing strategies involving strategic visual displays to drive sales.
The Evolving Role of Visual Merchandising from the 1800s to 2023
Visual merchandising was always there. Traders display their products to attract customers. However, over the years, the concept evolved. Right now, it entails a much larger scope and higher benefits.
The highest forms of visual merchandising were signage boards with large typefaces and storefront displays of staked products on a table.
Industrialization allowed retail stores to introduce skylights, enclosed arcades, and huge display windows. It improved visual connectivity, higher footfall, and better customer experiences.
But, unfortunately, there were more window shoppers rather than actual customers. Most visitors only strolled outside and refrained from stepping inside store thresholds.
The store interiors became lavish and had extensive products as unorganized piles to claim their stocking capacity. In the late 90s flourished the mall and shopping center culture in India, which surged new consumer buying behavior.
The retailers began exploring themed displays, scenes, or setups using pedestals, shelves, and mannequins. The display spaces became a promotional platform for offers, deals, stock collection, and sales.
Retailers are embracing technological upgrades to engage visitors. Some popular trends include interactive video displays, endless aisles, mobile integration, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and many more.
How do Interior Design and Visual Merchandising Impact Retail Business?
Despite appealing products, attractive deals, and inviting staff, retail design significantly impacts business outcomes. The role of retail interior design impacts businesses by positioning brands, engaging shoppers, and increasing sales.
IKEA Gaining Sales Through Spatial Experience
IKEA employs ID and VM to leverage its customer experience into sales.
ID aspect: The floor layout follows a fixed path design; thus compelling customers to view all the exhibits and increasing the chances of impulsive buying.
VM aspect: It showcases complete setups of products, props, and aesthetical items. The cohesive display of merchandise evokes a desirable lifestyle setup and improves the purchasing possibilities.
7 Ways Interior Design and Visual Merchandise Impact Retail Business
Eye-catching visual merchandising can invite customers. Flaunt your best-selling and exclusive product to persuade customers into your stores. The more you attract, the higher the possibility of sales.
Store layout gives the luxury to control what your customers see and when they see them to persuade their buying interests. Placing discounted products in the front can attract customers, and positioning popular items, in the end, can help them keep going.
Engaging visual merchandise and interior elements can slow your customers' journey inside your store. The longer the dwelling time, the better the chances of buying.
Retail designs opt for real-life setups to intrigue customers to desire the products. Ideal showcase of products can invite the customers to interact with the products and influence their purchasing decision. Some examples include mannequins wearing complete outfits, interior setups with holistic themes, etc.
Retail interior design is vital in showcasing brand elements like logos, color, and visuals. And the resulting customer experience infuses brand credibility, authority, and reputation. For example, Nike showrooms have vibrant interiors, logos, and energetic music emphasizing its brand principles.
Retail interior designs allow customers to engage with products and convert them into sales. VM provides a platform for marketing offers and deals. Seasonal makeovers like Christmas celebrations are ideal examples of strategies to infuse deals and offers to boost sales.
The impactful design retains customers through experience. Let’s admit people enjoy Starbucks cafes more than just for their coffee. We appreciate the way it smells, feels, and looks inside. Similarly, poor experiences may discourage shoppers from re-visiting your stores.
5 Ways to Create an Effective Retail Interior Design
Floor layout decides customer navigation inside the store. Some layout options include loop, angular, grid, forced path, free-flowing, etc. Choose the design that suits your needs.
For instance, a fixed layout (IKEA) can compel your customer to view all your products, while grid layouts (departmental stores) can allow them to explore products as per their needs.
Have a focal point inside the store to capture customer attention. The focal spot can be near high-traffic spaces as an effective spot to display new products. Customers love it!
Ensure the interior reflects the brand objective in all visual and sensory aspects. Use color, light, textures, patterns, music, and smell to enhance customer experience.
For instance, donut brands like Dunkin Donuts might use a warm, colorful palette with soft music. Whereas sports brands like Nike might use vibrant colors and energetic music.
Make the most of the front display windows. Use it to showcase your new arrivals, exclusive products, and attractive displays to entice customers.
For instance, Louis Vuitton showroom exteriors excel in positioning the brand’s luxury quotient. These showrooms' attractive outside displays are nothing less than that of art museums or hotels.
Customers make impulsive purchases with certain products. Capture the best of it by strategically placing them along your customer’s circulation path.
For instance, the checkout stations have a final display of simple and inexpensive products. It is to urge customers to make small hasty purchases before they check out.
Career Scope and Opportunities for Interior Design Aspirants
With trending design techniques and knowledgeable clientele, the need for interior designers is escalating. As per sources, the interior design market is going to flourish in the upcoming years with an expected growth rate of 13%
To excel in interior design, you need both technical and creative skills. As an interior designer, you also explore other specializations like residential, corporate, healthcare, exhibition, etc. Its career scope also expands beyond spatial designing. You can specialize as a product designer, textile designer, journalist, or stylist.
To Wrap Things Up
In summary, interior design helps you enjoy the space and gains customer experience, while visual merchandising focuses on converting the experiences into sales. In other words, interior designing is a great strategy to join the retail business, but regular visual merchandising can help you stay and excel.
Interior Design FAQs
Visual merchandisers often work closely with inventory managers, retail buyers, and suppliers. They might also have to coordinate with the marketing and design team to deploy selling strategies.
Yes. Interior designing has good potential for growth in the future. Interiorrior design is a good career choice if you like designing, planning, and problem-solving.
Yes. It is possible to become an interior designer without a degree. The most critical aspects are knowledge and experience.
Yes. Mathematics is an essential subject in interior design. The use of geometry and technical expertise requires maths knowledge.
An Architect turned Writer, Saili has worked as an Architectural Writer, Marketer, & Curator. For the past 3 years, she has collaborated with multimedia publication houses, firms, studios, organisations, luxury brands, & educational instit ...
utions; both national and international to communicate and market the AEC industry as an Architect in Marketing. She is a commentator on the design industry’s upkeep through her social handles while also being an avid reader and traveller
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