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Design a Better Retail Store Layout

Your store design has a powerful impact on the success of your store. Store designs are fundamental to any store's success. And yet with that said, I walk into stores all the time where it seems that very little thought has been given to this element of successful retail.

Let's start on the outside. The outside appearance of your store is one of the first connections you make with your customer. It sets the tone for a shopper's experience. This effect may be tempered over time as other aspects of your store's environment take over and leave longer lasting impressions than does your store's exterior. But remember the exterior of your store design serves as a billboard during those initial visits. When I am consulting with retailers I often tell them that their exterior store design is one of the first elements that communicates to their customers that their operation is successful. People like to deal with successful merchants. We all look around to see who's doing well. We take the mental leap that if a retailer is successful the products and deals that they offer must be acceptable. In this way, by trusting the judgment of others, we free ourselves from the burden of further research. With these thoughts in mind you can begin to get a feel for the importance of store design.

Of course store designs don't stop on the outside, but neither does communication. When I speak with retailers about communicating with their customers often they are surprised that I include interior store design in that conversation. But when they stop and consider the way a good interior store design creates atmosphere, helps to establish store branding, guides people through their shopping experiences as well as just creating part of the ambiance of their stores they begin to get the feel for how store designs are indeed part of a total communication process.

There was a time I believe when a merchant could simply rent a building, put product in that store and be successful. That is not true today--today the choices are many. It is a more competitive retail environment than it has ever been before. Store design is a distinguishing factor for a merchant. Distinguish your store and your store becomes more relevant.

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