Guide

How can I use design in my business?

How you can use retail design

Retail design involves creating a space for selling your goods. This could be in a high street shop, shopping centre or department store concession, but increasingly is means selling online too.

Retail design principles

Retail businesses have one primary goal – to get the customer over the doorstep and influence them to buy their products. The layout of your retail space is arguably the most powerful tool in retail design. It can improve the shopping experience if you follow principles of good design, including:

  • define the space clearly - know what are you selling and to whom
  • keep things consistent in terms of style and function in your shop
  • organise the space so it's intuitive and easy to navigate
  • plan the layout for optimal customer experience, from entry to purchasing
  • give customers visual cues, such as signage and branding

As well as retail space, other areas of your business could benefit from following basic retail design principles. These areas could include:

  • store frontage
  • fascia
  • signage
  • lighting
  • packaging
  • merchandising
  • furniture
  • point of sale displays
  • decorations

Benefits of retail design

Retail design can improve your customers' perception of your business and your brand. It should represent your customer base and the message you are trying to get across.

For example, if a retail store sells luxury, high-end clothing, the store design should reflect the same message. However, a store that sells contemporary clothes to teenagers will often benefit from a young and 'edgy' look. Read more about visual merchandising for retailers.

Retail design in ecommerce

If you are an online retailer, you can also use design to your benefit. However, your focus will be on the graphics and interactive tools on your website that enable customers to buy your products.

You can still deliver a unique shopping experience online. Designers can help you ensure that the way you deliver your goods not only works, but also communicates your company brand and delivers an enjoyable experience. This will help build customer loyalty. See more on best practice in web design.

You can also read our practical tips on retailing: 5 ways to improve your business.

You can complete our Get design ready tool to improve your understanding of design and its role in developing successful products, services and businesses.