Retail businesses offer much more than the products lining their shelves; they offer experiences. From the moment a customer steps into your shop, boutique, or market, their purchasing decisions have as much to do with what they’re seeking as it does with how you offer it. It should come as no surprise, then, that the way you design your retail space and the environment you offer your customers is critical to meeting your sales goals.
Understanding the Buyer’s Path in Retail Space Design
Human behavior is predictable; psychologists and marketers have been studying customers in retail spaces for decades and can nail down the factors influencing a customer’s purchasing decisions. Believe it or not, the environment and store layout mark high on the list of influencing factors.
Smart business owners are putting this knowledge to work and designing spaces acclimated to customers’ psyches and leveraging the predictability of buying habits with spaces optimized for sales. A customer’s journey through a retail space is commonly referred to as “buyer’s path.” The successful path from storefront to cash register includes several crucial stops.
1) The Decompression Zone
This spot is right past the threshold in a retail store and is where the customer takes stock of his or her environment, making several formative judgements of the brand’s relevance and usefulness. This area should be fairly spacious and minimal compared to the rest of the store.
2) Get It RIGHT with a Power Wall
One of the little-known-facts proven to be true in consumer behavior studies is that humans are overwhelmingly more likely to turn their attention to the right side of your retail space upon entering and evaluating the scene. This means you’ll need to make an amazing first impression in the front right corner of your store. This area is often known as the “power wall,” and contains the most enticing displays. There are plenty of ways to show off your most popular products in this important part of the buyer’s path. You could build permanent shelving and lighting features into your store, change the flooring in this section, and/or use distinct furnishings that boldly draw attention without feeling intrusive. Depending on your staffing set up and sales strategy, you may have an employee greeting customers here.
3) Blaze the trail
Give your customers some structure with a clear path through your store. Having a designated footway or trail will make it easier for people to continue the path into the store and allow them to engage with your offerings without having to make too many choices or get confused. You could even differentiate this path with special features like attractive flooring, walls, shelving, and other structures. Be sure to captivate your customers with on-brand lighting and color accents, as well as interesting product displays along the pathway. It’s common to make your retail trail counterclockwise, with a clear stop at the purchasing counter, through several more product displays, and then eventually back to the Decompression Zone.
This is the basic formula for creating a harmonious retail environment that is welcoming, pleasant, and optimized for sales. Asheville is home to a growing roster of impressive retail spaces; make sure that you work with a trusted and knowledgeable builder to design or redesign a retail space that stands out and offers the best ROI on your construction expenses. With the right guidance and planning, your retail store will attract new customers and provide just the right conditions to encourage them to make a purchase and become a repeat shopper.
Steel Root Builders is a local partner to Asheville-area businesses, offering comprehensive services for new buildings, remodels, and upfits for retail spaces. Get in touch today and tell us about the space you’re envisioning.