The Power of Store Design in Influencing Consumer Behavior

November 18, 2023 | Retail

The strategic design of a retail store has a profound influence on consumer behavior, enhancing the customer experience, influencing buying decisions, and increasing e-commerce sales.

Research reveals that 95% of consumers consider a store’s exterior appearance an important factor when deciding where to shop and that 80% of customers will try a new store if the exterior is clean and inviting.

These insights are just the tip of the iceberg, showing how store design can influence consumer behavior. As a trusted consumer goods consulting firm, we’re here to share more powerful examples of how store design can boost your bottom line.

Enhancing the customer experience

Store design is pivotal in shaping the customer experience, from inspirational displays to easy navigation and creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Inspirational displays

Thoughtfully arranging products and items allows customers to visualize how the products will fit into their own lives. Inspirational displays trigger the imagination and create a strong emotional connection. The specific layout of the display will depend on the product for sale. For example, a freeform layout is often used by clothing stores, with mannequins and paired items displayed according to themes.

Consider the colorful display stands intended to appear like artwork within an eyewear store in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The store intends to appear like a gallery, combining minimalism with a playful atmosphere to inspire the purchase of sophisticated eyewear.

Easy navigation

A store’s layout has a significant impact on the consumer experience. By considering the route a consumer will take inside your store, you can keep them engaged while inspiring purchases. For example, studies have shown that shoppers naturally look left and then right when they enter a store, preferring to move right. As a store owner, it’s important to optimize this behavior.

Organize the store carefully, investing in signage and designated sections for customers to engage with your products. By offering a seamless shopping experience, you reduce frustration and encourage consumers to spend more time in your store, increasing the chance of a sale.

Comfortable ambiance

Creating a comfortable ambiance in your store is essential for attracting and retaining customers and enhancing their overall shopping experience. Consider lighting, color schemes, music, and friendly staff to evoke positive emotions and encourage consumers to spend more time browsing the products on display.

Looking closely at color psychology, approximately 62 to 90% of consumers admit subconsciously assessing a retail environment based on its color. The physical retail environment also extends to mall coffee shops, such as Starbucks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which create a welcoming atmosphere with more than comfortable chairs and available newspapers to create a “second home, if you like, where people can unwind and relax.

Influencing buying decisions

Store design significantly influences buying decisions by shaping customer perceptions and guiding their purchasing behaviors. Important focus areas include strategic product placement, using visuals to tell stories, and fostering engagement.

Strategic product placement

Strategic product placement includes several key considerations, from placing high-margin items at eye level to incorporating tactical point-of-purchase (POP) displays. Cross-merchandising related products can also boost the bottom line by encouraging additional sales.

Strategic product placement offers a valuable return on investment. For example, it is estimated that the typical cost of a POP display to be only $0.03 to $0.37 per year for every 1,000 shoppers it attracts. By targeting impulse buyers, POP displays can boost sales by 19%.

Storytelling through visuals

Well-curated visual merchandising has the power to tell a story and create an emotional connection with customers. By crafting compelling narratives through product displays and store layouts, retailers can immerse shoppers in a brand's identity and values. Consumers often find themselves drawn to purchase items that resonate with the stories being told, reinforcing that shopping is not just a transaction but a meaningful experience.

Concept stores offer an effective way of telling a story, immersing customers in a carefully curated environment that reflects a specific theme, lifestyle, or concept. Concept stores are popular in the UAE, such as Collective Africa’s high-end retail store in Dubai, which features avant-garde designs influenced by Africa to sell handcrafted home accessories, fashionable clothes, beautiful jewelry, and cosmetics.

Fostering engagement

Interactive shopping can increase sales, allowing customers to touch, feel, and interact with products and their messages. Research shows that up to 69% of customers want brands to improve their customer experience, and an interactive, hands-on display offers an effective way to achieve this goal. Additionally, fostering engagement and allowing users to “experience” the product enables them to evaluate the quality, building trust with the target audience.

The Mall of the Emirates collaborated with Cisco to create the ‘store of the future’ by incorporating unique, fully digital displays into physical concept stores. The campaign gave customers an exclusive chance to interact and engage with the store, revealing an evolved campaign that reflects the hybrid demand of customer experiences.

Increasing sales in e-commerce

While e-commerce stores are digital spaces, there is great value and potential for store design to increase sales.

High-quality product imagery

Using high-quality product imagery is instrumental in boosting sales and enhancing the overall shopping experience for customers. Beyond traditional static images, incorporating 360-degree views and virtual reality (VR) technologies have emerged as popular tactics. Consider how the Metaverse and technology play an increasingly important role among younger generations and their consumer experiences.

Not only does strong imagery elevate the visual appeal of a product, but it also empowers customers to make more informed purchasing decisions.

Virtual setups

Retail virtual rooms introduce a cutting-edge e-commerce visualization tool that effectively bridges the gap between online browsing and the in-store shopping experience. These virtual spaces permit customers to explore product offerings in a visually immersive and interactive manner, allowing them to navigate through virtual stores, examine items in their context, try out different combinations, and even virtually place furniture or decor in their own living spaces.

Virtual offerings manifest in different ways, depending on the product. Middle East retailers are leading the charge by embracing immersive technology. For example, Virtual Artist collaborated with AR company ModiFace to enable users to scan their facial features via a mobile app. Using AI technology, it recommends makeup shades that best suit their complexion and demonstrates how these products would appear when applied.

Personalized recommendations

Personalized recommendations have become a powerful digital store layout tool for e-commerce brands looking to optimize sales. These recommendations offer tailored product suggestions that resonate with individual shoppers by analyzing customer preferences, purchase history, and browsing behavior.

Research shows that 66% of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, with up to 52% expecting all offers to be personalized. These recommendations streamline the shopping experience and enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. The ability to present shoppers with items they are more likely to be interested in not only boosts sales but also keeps them engaged on the website longer, increasing the chances of additional purchases.

Influence consumer behavior with a robust strategy

An effective store design strategy has the remarkable potential to impact consumer behavior and drive improvements in sales. By carefully crafting an environment that engages and resonates with customers, businesses can enhance the overall shopping experience, influence purchasing decisions, and foster brand loyalty.

A robust strategy lays the foundation for effective store design, and our consumer products consulting team offers the expertise you need to see results. Headquartered in Dubai, the Ollen Group is a global consultancy firm with a grasp of retail and consumer goods. Get in touch to find out more about our consulting services and industry expertise.

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