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5 Retail Design Myths Debunked

Mills Display Retail Trends and Tips


Retail store design is an advanced area that continues to improve and innovate, particularly with the development of new POS and shelving products. Changes in consumer behaviour also influence retail design trends. That said, there are some myths about retail design that continue to persist. We debunk five of the most common below.

  1. More Square Metres Equals More Display Space

Not quite. There are many reasons why a simple square metre calculation doesn’t tell you exactly how much more display space you will have. The shape of the store is one of those reasons, as are the features that exist in the space.

For example, a retail unit that is square with one wall that is mostly windows will have less display space than a rectangle store with windows running along one of its shorter ends, even when both spaces offer the same number of square metres.

  1. Serving Customers as Quickly as Possible is the Key to Retail Design Success

Again, not exactly. The assumption with this myth is that because everyone is so busy, they just need to get in and out of your store as quickly as possible, having bought the item they need. There are some areas where work on improving the efficiency of your store is beneficial, including speeding up the time it takes to complete the purchase once the customer has decided what they want.

However, customers who are not in your store are not buying from you. So, instead of thinking of ways to make their experience fast, focus on improving the overall experience. The ideal situation is that customers spend a suitable amount of time in your store because they find it enjoyable and interesting.

  1. All Fixtures and Shelving Should Be Flexible

The idea behind this myth is that flexible fixtures and shelving can be easily changed according to the requirements of your business. For example, if you bring in a new product, you can easily make the adjustments you need to put that product on display.

The problem when this is taken to the extreme is it can create a shop that looks temporary, uncommitted, and even unfinished. So, don’t be afraid of more permanent shelving or fixtures where appropriate.

  1. Adding a Mirror Will Make the Store Look Bigger

Only sometimes with this one. The key is to use the right mirror and to put it in the right place. Just adding a mirror to your store without getting it right could have negative consequences, including making the shop look cluttered. The interior design principle of mirrors creating the illusion of space is sound, albeit with the caveat of proper placement.

  1. You Will Know Immediately if Your New Design is a Success

Unfortunately, this is generally not the case as there are a lot of other factors at play. For example, your new retail design could coincide with the introduction of new products, POS materials, or even a new location. All of these things will contribute to performance too. There is even a novelty factor, where there will be an initial reaction from customers that will change when the new design becomes more familiar.

Optimising Retail Design for Success

The design of your shop will contribute to its success. Good design encourages customer flow, increases sales, and can even build customer loyalty. Take care to avoid the myths above, however, when designing your store.


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