Store design: a hard path to a selling relail space

A design of an apartment or a house and a design of a store requires completely different approaches. Store's owners begin to think about the design of a space (more specifically about a general “picture") as soon as they get keys to it on their hands. They come to a design studio that has a beautiful portfolio and many good reviews, and together they begin to create... This approach is fundamentally wrong. So where does the design of the store begin?
It doesn't begin with an identity, a name or a logo. Like any other business, a store should start with a USP (a Unique Trade Offer) and a brand mission. In the apartment, the designer tries to reflect the character (and a good designer — the soul) of the customer. In the store, the character is its mission.
Store design is not a beautiful designer furniture with artistic composition of goods. A retail specialist must have knowledge and practice (!) in creating a technology for organizing a retail facility. Store design begins with the technology of organizing the retail space.

We can divide the technology of launching a store into several stages:

· a brand book that includes the brand platform;
· category management;
· style concept;
· design project;
· project support by a retail specialist.
Design thinking for Retail Design

Retail Design Process

As you can see, it’s not enough to have only design education to develop this kind of project. You’ll need at least 3 specialists with different competencies: designer-architect, brand designer and merchandiser. The project will be successful and quickly implemented when a group of people from different spheres, where everyone has their own area of responsibility, is engaged in creating a store.

  1. A brand book that includes the brand platform

You will need brand-designer and marketing specialist to develop a brand book. The creation of brand platform needs months of work. Sometimes we can simplify the process using new analytics collection technologies. This helps to shorten the project implementation time.
Brand book should consist mission and USP, naming, logo, identity (elements of corporate identity). These positions are needed for designer to start his work at the next stage.

2. Category management

You will need trade marketer or merchandiser to work at this stage. Store format influences further development of retail space and even its style.
There are generally accepted standards of a trading company. We usually intuitively know these gradations, but each of them has its own requirements and rules. The format of the store depends not only on external and technical characteristics, but also on the value of the point of sale for the buyer.

There are few main parameters for evaluating the store format:

• TA (mass market, medium, premium);
• Price (low, medium, medium plus, high, luxury);
• The area of the trading floor (from a kiosk to a hypermarket, from 10 sq. m. to 1000 sq. m.);
• Location (not only on the city map, but also iconic nearby city-forming objects);
• The number of SKUs (the number of goods on the retail facility. 100 SKU and 5000 SKU can be placed on 50 sq. m.);
• Services offered (service level, service, additional services, etc.);
• Marketing (advertising, promotion, PR)

The format of the store influences the development of the planogram of the shopping facility, the layout of the goods, stylistic techniques.
For example, if the format of the store is a boutique, the cash register will be in the center of the trading hall. In this case, the sales consultant can immediately meet the buyer. The boutique has an open plan for the movement of the buyer. The color scheme is “expensive", etc.
In the case of mass market, the cash register will be on the left. Trade and exhibition equipment will be arranged much more densely to use every square meter of the floor. The color scheme includes the brightest and boldest combinations.
Clothing Store Layout by NZR

3. The concept of style

The concept of style should be created in tandem of a brand specialist and a visual designer. The style of the store should match the brandbook and the format of the store.
Style concept for a clothing & cosmetics "Minimalism" store, by NZR

4. Design project

The customer (business owner, LPR, etc.) should coordinate and transfer the materials to the architect-designer who specializes in retail and design of shops, salons and other public spaces:
· the concept, including a proposal for positioning (visual component);
· merchandising component, including the functional scheme of the trading premise (general planogram): focus zones, DMP, seasonal zone, cash register and cash register zones.
Based on these data, the designer-architect proceeds to 3D visualization. At this stage, there may be adjustments to the location of the shop equipment: somewhere the architectural features of the room, sewerage, ventilation, radiators, etc. were not taken into account.
Also, the architect can offer several options for the color execution of the concept.
3D-visualization of "ZOOBAZAR" store. Eco style concept by NZR
The standard design project of the store consists of a set of drawings collected in a catalog for the customer and for the construction team:

- Measurement plan;
- Explanatory note;
- Room plan after redevelopment with dimensions;
- A plan of floor types with docking nodes;
- A plan of ceiling types;
- A plan with the binding of fixtures;
- Electrical fittings placement plan;
- Plan for connecting the audio and video communications system.
After approval of the 3D visualization, the retail specialist begins the detail development of trading equipment. Ideally, an architect works in conjunction with a furniture designer.
This is the design stage of the trade and exhibition equipment. At this stage, when the detailed development of furniture and decorative elements is over, the general catalog of drawings is supplemented:
- Room plan with bindings and dimensions of trade equipment ;
- front views and sections with indication of materials and decorative elements;
- List of equipment;
- 3D visualization (final).

5. Project support by a retail specialist

There is a concept of author's supervision. We wrote about this earlier in our blog. But you have to distinguish the author's supervision and the support of the project by a retail specialist. The design project of the store should include the preparation of a technical specification for the design:
· Statement of finishing (construction) materials;
· Statement with photos of lighting equipment;
· Statement of decor;
· Preparation of technical specifications for the production of POSM: entrance group, navigation, pointers, etc.
Designing stores is a special direction of design, a system of approaches and technologies. Many designers, architects, decorators create aesthetic interiors of public spaces, including shops and salons. But do these spaces bring profit? Are they optimal in terms of sales? Were the rules of trade marketing used in the design? Is it really possible to scale this business? How much will it be labor-intensive?..