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Why store design matters in 2017

With online shopping on the rise, the design of physical stores is more important than ever before.

New head of retail and interiors at Context Architects Murray Jervis says smart design encourages customers away from their keyboards and into bricks and mortar, deepening customer connections and increasing sales.
“Give your customers a reason to come into the store and stay. An experience that can’t be replicated online,” Jervis says. “This includes great personal service, product solutions based on customer’s
specific needs and the retailer’s detailed knowledge. It also means making the experience special and giving customers the ability to touch, feel and try the products.”
Context Architects’ head of creative – retail and interiors Natalie Snowden says as time goes on, the easier it is to become blind to your store’s clutter and wear and tear. She says design decisions like lighting, ease of access and shopfronts all have a direct impact on sales, so it’s vital to keep them up to date.
While Context Architects make the most out of every metre in a store, she says it’s important retailers looking at doing a re-fit think about where their investment would create the biggest impact.
“Instead of spreading that budget thinly and doing some things only half-well, you can do half the things really well and have a bigger impact,” Snowden says.
Context Architects have consistently been recognised as experts in retail design year after year, most recently scooping two 2016 Red Awards for their redesigns of the Westpac NorthWest store and the 277 Life Pharmacy store in Newmarket.
Taking a closer look: Redesigning Life Pharmacy
Newmarket’s 277 Life Pharmacy was almost 20 years old, with years of accumulated clutter. Snowden says Life Pharmacy owner Green Cross Health wanted to reduce the visual noise and increase sightlines. Previously, posters and stock had been so tightly jammed in, the dispensary couldn’t be seen from outside, while unrelated items like multivitamins in bargain bins were placed next to fragrances.
Snowden says de-cluttering isn’t easy, and outside advice is often useful.
“If you can get to simple, you know you’ve done your job well.”
The retailer also wanted to ramp up the glamour with its cosmetics brands and the new direction the 277 mall was taking.
“We needed to balance that prestige, high-end cosmetic experience with the needs of dispensary and medicines customers,” Snowden says.
To solve this, cosmetic brands were given their own ‘houses’ to give them a store-within-a-store feel and keep them clearly delineated from the medical products.
This separated the feel good, aspirational products from the health products and crafted a more dramatic retail experience, Snowden says.
“Customers feel like they’re being pampered, not sitting in among the band aids.”
Posters were removed, shelf heights were reduced to create visibility through the store and a clearer layout. Stock levels were reduced for easier access and circulation.
Despite this, Snowden says less really is more, as the redesign has resulted in a 10 percent increase in sales.
“That’s a tangible measure of good design,” Jervis adds. Snowden says the fit-out is intended to be timeless and true to its brand.
“Customers and staff are delighted about the new look pharmacy.”
Call Murray Jervis on 09 358 0140 to find out how design can improve your retail performance.
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