Store front design: the five golden rules for maximum impact

03.02.12

The best store front designs create maximum visual impact, setting you apart from your competitors and increasing customer footfall.
Shopworks' Head of Research and Category Management, Hugues Audouard, lists his five golden rules for implementing an effective store front design that gets you noticed.

Create recognition

Start by drawing attention to yourself from a distance.  From between 100 and 20 metres away from your store front there should be immediate recognition of your branding through use of colour, design or other brand identifiers.  This has the purpose of:

  • Confirming store location for planned visits by customers - "Ah, there you are!"
  • Asserting brand identity and prompting impulse visits by existing customers - "Oh, there's a *** store over there. I'll pop in and take a look."
  • Creating a point of difference and enabling you to stand out to potential customers - "That store looks interesting. I'd like to take a look."

Attract, impress and inspire

As the customer gets closer to your store front (20 to 5 metres away) more detail becomes visible and the customer starts to assess the façade.  Attract, impress and inspire him with a stunning window display, a wide, open entrance and a clear view into a well lit store.

Reinforce brand identity

Within 5 metres of your store, overhead signage is no longer in view; eye level branding clues become the only point of reference. Brand reinforcement is critical at this stage, as customers start to engage with your window display.
Branding clues can be explicit or subtle, outside or inside the store, and can take the form of:

  • Brand colours
  • Large format graphics
  • Words
  • Logos
  • Products
  • Materials
  • General store design look and feel

Understand the importance of store front width

The faster people walk, the narrower their field of vision becomes.  Below a minimum width of store front, customers will either fail to notice the store altogether, or they may notice but too late, requiring them to back-track if they wish to take a closer look.

Optimum store front width will depend on location (high street, shopping centre, retail park, proximity to food courts or shopping centre exits) and window display requirements.  There should also be enough space for a wide entrance that enables a clear view into store.

Five metres is probably the minimum requirement to be effective; optimum width approaches eight to nine metres.  If the width of your store is less than five metres, concentrate your efforts on attracting attention in other ways.  For example, create a truly eye-catching window display or design an interior that looks immediately inviting from the outside, compelling people to step inside.

Convert to entry

Maximise conversion to entry by following the following 3 window display principles:

1. Use large format posters to attract customers from a distance.

In terms of design, stick to bold colours,simple imagery and limited text.

2. Create a window display that is bold, interesting or intriguing.

A well thought out display of products will achieve the most stops and the highest conversion to entry.  When creating your window display, think about:

  • Impact: 1 or 2 product displays is usually sufficient; too many displays reduce visual impact and starts to obstruct the view into store.
  • Story telling: Focus your window display on a new collection, a price offer, a particular range, or link various elements of a category.
  • Framing and context: Display products in such a way that gives focus to individual products and allows customers to quickly associate key messages.
  • Seasonal relevance of window display: Valentine's Day, Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, Easter, Christmas etc.

3. Ensure customers have a clear view into store.

Customers like to assess the store from the outside, e.g. "How busy is it?"  "Does this store look interesting?"  "Can I get what I want in here?"   Importantly, a fantastic looking in-store display, visible from outside the store, can play a significant role in encouraging customers inside. 

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