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Mike Roberts, Chief Creative Officer

A retail store has one goal and one goal only: to get consumers over the threshold of a store, and influence them to part with their cash.

And while it is nothing new – retailers have tried everything from playing music to filling their stores with alluring scents – there is a real art to getting it right.

With years of experience in delivering award-winning commercial interior designs, here at Green Room we are masters of this art. From initial planning through to implementation and delivery, the trick to getting retail interior design right is understanding the consumer.

Here, we’re going to look at seven retail design techniques that will transform any retail environment:

1. Eye-catching visual merchandising

The power of retail window design is something that shouldn’t be underestimated. A striking piece of visual merchandising can capture shoppers’ attention, and encourage them to cross the threshold of a store.

Shop windows are the eyes of a retail store or shop, and should tell a story that is carried through into a physical space. The trick is to explore creative interpretations, while always placing the product at the heart of the display. This should grab attention, while communicating a message and telling a story.

To learn more about how to best take advantage of visual merchandising to maximise your sales, read our article on the principles of visual merchandising.

Timberland FlyRoam window, Regent Street, London

2. Slow down the customer journey in the store

Modern consumers are extremely busy and have a tendency to shop in a hurry. It is the job of retail interior design to slow down this journey and increase dwell time in the store. One technique to do this is by placing a large, eye-catching display at the entrance.

Customers will decide very quickly whether they like what they see, and placing key products at the front of the store can help them make this decision. By stopping the customer at the store entrance, retailers can encourage them to travel further into the space.

Nike CR7 campaign activation Pro-Direct - Green Room

Nike CR7 campaign activation at Pro:Direct, London

3. Mark out the customer pathway around the store

Retailers will know the path they want customers to take around their store. They will have a clear idea of which products should lead where, and how they want customers to end up at the till. Stores need to make this journey clearly apparent to shoppers.

Some retailers fail to guide consumers around the store effectively; leading them up aisles without thinking where in the store it takes them. Instead, brands should lead customers around a path that increases dwell time and leverages sales. We were tasked with the challenge of dealing with sudden high influxes of customers at Southampton FC’s Stadium Store, learn how we devised the ideal customer journey in our case study.

Southampton FC stadium

4. Steer customers to the right of the store

Research into retail interior design has shown that customers naturally veer towards the right when they enter a retail space. To capitalise on this, retailers should place visually arresting signs and POS displays on the right-hand side of a store.

This will then naturally guide customers anti-clockwise around a space which has been shown to be a preferred route. By factoring this into the pathway outlined previously, brands can transform their retail space and leverage sales.

5. Be bold, creative and innovative with store design

With an increasing number of shoppers turning to e-commerce to purchase products, brands need to make their retail spaces enticing and interactive. Retail interior design allows brands the opportunity to be bold with their spaces and attract customers in an entirely new way.

Through clever colour choices, bold signage, and innovative designs, stores have the potential to create an immersive environment that reinforces brand advocacy and keeps customers coming back to the store.

6. Aerate the store design and layout

While innovative and creative interior design can pack a punch, it is vital that retailers give their consumers some breathing space.

Busy, over-crowded retail environments can give the impression that products are of a lesser quality. Instead, it is vital that there are gaps in the store design to allow customers the space to think and move freely around the store. Our collaboration with SEAT successfully achieved this in the form of the olive tree at the centre of their retail concept store at Lakeside, inviting tired customers to take a seat beneath it’s branches.

Retailers should take inspiration from luxury flagships, such as The North Face Flagship store in London, to keep customers interested, and ensure that they don’t lose interest in the shopping experience.

seat lakeside greenroom interior design1

SEAT intu Lakeside retail concept store

7. Make the most of any shop space

For brands looking to enter a new market or boost their profile, it is often preferable to open a retail concession or pop-up store. But just because there are restrictions, it doesn’t mean the design of the store should suffer.

In fact, the design of these smaller, more temporary retail spaces needs to be even more eye-catching. The principals remain the same, but retailers need to learn to adapt their offering. Customers will expect an experience in these spaces, and the retail interior design will need to reflect this. Our Nike Flatspot Pop-Up is a fantastic example of how to utilise a smaller space to your advantage.

Nike Flatspot Pop-Up


Have a look at our latest projects to find out how we have applied these retail store interior design to help our clients maximise their sales, and get in touch with our team to discuss how we can help you.


* This article was originally published in November 2013, but we have updated the content to keep it in-line with the latest Retail Design thinking *