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The importance of design in retail customer service: The 3 questions you need to be asking

Mitchel - August 19, 2015 - 0 comments

Retailers have lots of tactics at their disposal to try and increase trade. Special offers, discounts, social media marketing and advertising being just some of them. But there’s one very effective tactic that rarely gets a mention. Design.

When we talk about design, the initial thought is that of the look of the shop and the journey that the customer takes through it. Which products are placed where for maximum effectiveness. Of course this is of huge importance, but when we’re talking about design, it is so much more than that. Design is about narrating your brand and your products, educating, informing and inspiring your customers and making your products desirable leading to your customers to want to engage with them.

Here are 3 questions that you need to be asking about your store:

What is the initial impression my shop gives to customers?

It doesn’t matter what particular sector of retail that your business is in, or what you are selling, because each and every retailer should take a long hard look at their shop and assess what it says about them. Even better, ask some complete strangers to do so, and analyse their answers, even if it’s not positive feedback.

For example, if you’re a retailer of designer shoes, you’re selling very exclusive items, so your store branding and design should reflect that. That might mean a stylish, chic and understated store logo and a floorspace that is spacious and showcasing just a handful of designs, emphasising their exclusivity.

If however you’re a pound shop for example, retailing hundreds if not thousands of bargain items, then you most probably want to promote a feeling of bargain fever by having all your items displayed throughout the store with a large gregarious logo outside that shouts out the bargain nature of your store.

Two very different types of shops using design in a very different way but both using it effectively. Take a look at your store. Is your store design and branding in unity with what you sell? If not, you could be losing out on customers and sales.

Are we speaking to our customers?

We’ve looked at the overall design of the shop, but what about some of the more subtle details? Retail signage is undervalued by many shop owners and managers but it can be immensely effective. Well designed signage  is your opportunity to engage with your customers, to speak to them and influence them. Because signs are a passive type of marketing, its effect on people may be subtle, but it can be significant.

Think about offers you see in supermarkets, such as a by two 99p jars of curry sauce for £1.50. How many times have you seen people pick up one jar, see the sign and then pick up another because they think they are getting a bargain? If you’re not utilising retail signage such as shelf wobblers or posters then you may be missing out on a significant chunk of business.

Are we adding value?

If you’re in a retail business that is seeing increased competition from internet sales, it’s crucial that you step up to counter this competition. But how to go about this? Well, one way is to add value. The environment in which your products and services are displayed is crucial and your customers will infer a lot from their in-store experience.

So as well as a well designed store that is in harmony with its brand and products, your store should be providing an awesome customer experience by creating a customer journey that makes shopping a pleasure with products easy to find and relevant special offers pointed out to them by subtle but effective signage. And of course, your staff should be friendly, knowledgeable and a pleasure to deal with.

Engage with these three questions, and you can begin the process of transforming your customer’s retail experience and drive your shop’s sales and profits. If you’d like advice on how design can enhance your retail shop and make your business more successful, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0161 908 7695 or email me direct at [email protected]

Grow your retail business with design


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