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Five Design Considerations for Your New Retail Space

There are as many ways to design a retail space as there are retail stores. Whether it’s a big box store where high traffic and high volume is the driving force, a space inside a strip mall with medium foot traffic, or even a small standalone store near the beach that’s extra busy on weekends, your retail space should reflect your personality and your store’s brand.

It needs to be inviting enough to bring people in, give them time to look around, and make things easy to find. You can create all this with some basic layouts, lighting, and decor ideas. Whether you’re opening another store in a large chain, or are designing your very own small retail space, there are a few things you should consider when you’re making your design decisions.

1. Use plenty of color

The retail space at Envisions Style & Health. This was one of our projects here in Rehoboth Beach, DE.

The retail space at Envisions Style & Health. This was one of our projects here in Rehoboth Beach, DE.

Don’t just settle for white or beige walls for your decor. Consider painting accent walls or using rich vibrant colors throughout the entire store. If you want to create a certain atmosphere, you would be amazed at how much you can do with a few coats of paint. Your interior decorations will go much further just with this one simple step, rather than displaying a lot of tchotchkes and collectibles.

If you really want to go all out, consider using a photographic mural on one of your walls. Some sign companies have wide format printers that can print large scale photos, big enough to cover an 8 foot wall on rolls of wallpaper-like material. You can get a mural of your favorite beach scene, cityscape, or whatever best suits your store.

2. You don’t always need interior walls

Sometimes you want to create divisions in your store to give a sense of different rooms, but you don’t necessarily want to build solid walls to get that effect. Consider using half walls, walls with windows, or even open shelves to divide the room without cutting it completely off.

You can also create the effect with psychogeographic boundaries: You know how some streets are considered “dividing lines” in a city? One type of neighborhood is on one side, and another type is on the other? That’s a psychogeographic boundary. Large retail stores accomplish the same effect by carpeting different zones in a store, but using tiled walkways to separate the areas and create a sense of rooms. Consider using different flooring materials to create that same sense of boundaries, but without building an interior structure.

3. Go beyond fluorescent lighting

For one thing, fluorescent lighting just isn’t warm and inviting. It’s bright, cold, and takes away any intimacy you might be trying to create in your store.

It’s also not energy efficient: LED tubes are just as bright as fluorescents, but they use much less energy. You can also get dimmable and warm LED lights to further enhance the atmosphere you’re trying to create.

Also, consider track lighting, sconces, and picture lights to highlight different areas and pieces of merchandise. Lighting is more than just general ambient lighting that lets everyone see: it sets a mood and creates a sense of atmosphere.

4. Remember the technology

In a modern retail store, you’re going to want a few things: a computer, Internet hookup, telephone landlines, and plenty of electrical outlets. If you use a credit card reader, those often need a hard-wired phone line, although some of them can connect to a router, while still others can use wifi. It depends on what you need and what you have available. Talk to your credit card service provider to see what kinds of options are available, and then plan around that.

And don’t forget, you’re going to need a place for your wifi modem and router. You’ll want to store it out of the way so it’s not visible to customers; under the cashier’s counter is probably a good place for it, but you want to make sure the counter is appropriately wired for cable, Ethernet, and power.

Talk to your commercial contractor for ideas on how to do this. If you want your counter in the middle of your space, you’ll need to figure out all of your cabling issues well in advance. If it’s against a wall, you’ll want to have all those outlets fairly close to each other. And consider having a few outlets like that stationed around the store, in case you ever move things around.

5. Make sure there’s plenty of workspace and storage

Two spaces you can’t neglect: your cashier’s counter and your back storage room. Depending on how much storage you need, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of shelving, space to move around, and any workspace you may need for things like unpacking or boxing up items for shipping.

Behind the cashier’s counter is also going to be a high-traffic area, so you want it to be comfortable, easy to use, and with plenty of under-counter storage as well. This is where you’re going to keep store supplies, bags and boxes, and other necessary items to run the store. Make sure you have drawer and cabinet space, plus a nice comfortable seat to perch on during the slow times.

Whether you put your office up front at the cashier’s station or in a back room, make sure you have a place to keep all your administrative tools and supplies as well: a place for your laptop, printer, folders for paperwork, and so on. There are plenty of small retail stores that run the entire operation from up front, and still others that have a manager’s office in the back.

If you want to design your own retail space that’s more than just an empty room with a lot of shelves and racks, Broadpoint has got you covered. You can visit our website and let us help you design and build your new retail store.