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Five Must-Have Features for Retail Stores

There’s a certain formula that most retail stores follow for new store design and build out: large departments and merchandise areas, cash register up front, and mirrors where appropriate. While you’ll find that general formula throughout every store, from small mom-and-pop shops to large department stores, there are a few design considerations you can use to make your retail store stand out and keep up with the latest developments in retail store construction.

1. Store layout that lets you feature bigger, more important merchandise areas.

The interior of a large retail clothing store.Not everything needs equal space or equal impact. If you sell a lot of winter goods from September through March, there’s no need for that section of the store to be equal to everything else. Set up more prominent “featured merchandise” areas with aisle-and-carpet layouts, pillars, and so on.

Create movable counters and display tables so you can shuffle store merchandise throughout the year. Use signage that’s easily changeable and movable, such as hanging signs from the ceiling, or even digital signage, so you can update the locations of new merchandise.

2. Areas for display and demonstration

Depending on what you sell, there may be a need to show your products in use. It could be a demonstration unit sitting on a table, a TV-and-DVD player showing various products at work, or even digital signage playing videos streamed from a laptop in the office..

You can plan for these display areas by making sure you have the appropriate wiring — electric and Ethernet — in place so you’re not dropping cables down from the ceiling. Consider placing electrical sockets and Ethernet jacks in nearly every pillar structure throughout the store, as well as along interior and outside walls. This will allow plenty of flexibility where you place your display stations.

3. Embrace Digital Features

Digital signage — which is basically flat-panel TVs and a digital signage program on a laptop — can let you share different pieces of content throughout your stores. Use them for your display and demonstration stations. Keep them updated with daily specials and sales. Use them to show user reviews of specific products. Or play YouTube videos of people using that product or just your favorite music videos.

Also, encourage digital usage by offering coupons that can only be digitally accessed, such as QR codes on a particular product that offers a coupon or links to a demonstration video. This can help discourage “showrooming,” a practice where people search online for a product they find in stores.

4. Embrace energy-saving technology

Utilities are often some of the highest costs in a retail store’s budget. Keeping a large space well-lit and maintaining the optimal air temperature can be a big portion of your operations budget. But you can reduce those costs if you use energy-saving technology in your retail space. Some of these technologies can include:

  • LED Lights These are extremely energy-efficient, but they give off as much or more light than incandescents, fluorescents, and compact fluorescents. For example, a 12 watt LED gives off as much light as a 60 watt incandescent, but uses 80% less energy.
  • Green roof and white exterior walls You can cut down on summer cooling costs if you paint your exterior walls and your roof white to reflect summer sunlight. You could also turn your roof into a green roof, planting plenty of greenery, which will absorb the summer sun and keep the inside of your retail space cool.
  • Replace old AC and heating units: If you’re retrofitting an old commercial space, replace any HVAC units that are more than 10 years old. The technology has improved enough that these older units are inefficient and will waste money.
  • Shade your exterior windows: If you have a lot of windows that get blasted by morning or afternoon sunlight, you can cut down on the incoming heat with either low-E films on your windows, or by using shades and canopies to cut down on a lot of sunlight, which cuts down on your AC costs. You can also use perforated window vinyl that will let you display marketing messages on the film, but still let you see outside.

5. Make sure you maximize the store’s brand

When walking into an empty retail space, you’re presented with a blank canvas onto which you can paint your store’s brand. Unfortunately, many retailers aren’t willing to do more than recoat the walls an off-white and put up a few posters around the store.

This is your chance to build out the space to really reflect your store’s brand and personality. Use vibrant colors that match your store’s brand. Put murals up on the walls that reflect your store’s brand by working with a sign making company and reproducing photos that best represent what you sell. Create in-store signage to catch people’s attention and direct them to the places they want to be. Give it some character by embracing the trend of reusing and recycling certain products, like barn wood and pallet wood

To learn more about other design features and options for retail stores, Broadpoint can show you what’s possible in your own retail space. For more information, please visit our website and let us help you design your new neighborhood party space.

Photo credit: General Marketing Service (, Creative Commons 0)