does my bottom line look big in this fitout?

But there’s one excellent reason for going through the pain and cost – and that’s the bottom line.

These days, shoppers are going online to do their research, but almost two thirds of people still want to go in store, “to see, touch, feel and try out items.”[1] The trick is to give them a shopping experience that they enjoy, where they feel valued and where their loyalty is rewarded.[2] Importantly, the look and feel of the store plays a major role too. An “exciting store design and atmosphere” and the way it contributes to the Brand Experience is one of just five factors that contribute to a “Great Shopping Experience”.[3] And a great shopping experience usually ends in a satisfying spend-up.

So the bottom line is – a great store fitout can make you more money.

Planning makes all the difference

A successful fitout isn’t just about bright colours or interesting furnishings – although they can play a part. It’s first and foremost about planning to make best use of the space, managing traffic flows, creating a focal point that will draw customers into your store, and, yes, generating that all-important first impression.

The best design in the world won’t save a dud location, but a smart design can make an average location sing. There are simple things you can do, like:

  • Ensure the entrance is wide and inviting. If customers have to squeeze past each other to get in or out, they probably won’t bother.
  • Consider how your range is organised. Is there a logical flow? In most cases, customers should be able to walk through the shop and intuitively know where the product or range they’re looking for will be.
  • Give them generous signposts for all the categories.
  • If you have limited floor space, try floating shelves or other creative ways to display products.
  • If you are lucky enough to have a corner store, make the most of your space by placing the entry on the corner to encourage walk-through traffic from both directions.
  • Use the exterior of the premises as a big, beautiful brand billboard, to create an irresistible first impression.

Look into your customer’s minds

Base the design, the colours, perhaps even the scents you’re using, on the psychology of your shoppers. Are they looking for a logical progression, as they would in a hardware store, or would it be more fun for them to visit a store that’s laid out for “pinball” shopping?[4]

Colour is important too, as it’s well established that colour can influence our emotions. “Customers want to emotionally engage and connect with a brand and the simplest way to do this is through colour, as it’s colour that triggers our emotional responses.”[5] Everyone recognises the big food outlets because they use red – a well known “hunger” colour that’s also useful in creating a sense of urgency, and so is often used for “Sale” signs. Blue is calming but also instils trust and security and is common with bank interiors, while purple is often associated with luxury and premium products.

If possible, you should integrate your online presence with your in-store experience too. Consider things that your customers might not expect but will appreciate, like connectivity in-store, on site screens or even in-store tablets, self-pay points and other things that mirror their online experience with your brand.[6]

Don’t just guess, though. Talk to store planners and designers who understand all the elements you’re trying to bring together – shopping centre presence, traffic and display flow, and shopper psychology and expectations.

Investing in a fitout is an expensive and sometimes challenging process, but if you get it right you won’t have to do it again for some time, and it will improve your bottom line.