Shopping!!! That is a word that gets everyone pumped and into their heels. What is it about this word that seems to get everyone going absolutely gaga? Is it the joy of new clothes, fancy jewellery or simply the smell of mint-scented soles or walking on hard-wood floors? Maybe it is also the excitement of trying something different, something funky and maybe something not you. Shopping, be it retail or street shopping, has something in common- the ability to attract and create a desire. This is the vantage point for the shopkeepers, the most attractive shop has more customers.

How to design a retail store with the help of the book “Why we buy” by Paco Underhill

1. Having a Visible Entrance

Having a grand entrance is perhaps the most important thing required for retail space. The entrance should be visibly distant to allow a customer to easily recognize it from outside. The research done by Underhill shows that more time spent on finding the entrance impacts negatively on the shop.

2. Transition Zone

The transition zone is the space taken by the customers to get adjusted to the shop, light, and environment. The transition zone is the first five to fifteen feet into the store, depending on the size of the shop. This is the transition zone between the outside and inside, which should give the sense of what’s in store for them. This can be achieved through the use of colours, texture or scent.

3. Product Display

The product must be ideally placed at eye-level for the ease of the customer. Highly attractive displays should preferably be placed at the end of an aisle to encourage the customers further into the shop.

4. Aisle Size

The aisle should have enough space to allow one person to pause and another to walk past. The “butt-brush” effect is when narrow aisles bring a customer’s back close to another. The butt-brush effect is found to reduce the chance of purchase regardless of the interest shown towards the product.

5. Pause Spaces

The pause spaces allow the customers to pause while walking through an aisle. The pause spaces must face the display to boost sales. The pause spaces would be places that allow the customers to take a breather. It could be as small as a table with one central display showcasing a special product or a lavish bench along with a plant.

6. Interior lighting

The lighting is critical for the display of the products. Therefore it is crucial to identify which lighting condition makes the display more appealing.

In the cases below, the interior retail space form an essential product design for the brand to showcase its identity.

1. The retail interior has a similar character to your company

A retail store is the physical manifestation of the brand. That’s the case for the Standard Dose CBD store in New York. The store reflects the product featuring CBD, derived from the Cannabis plant. This three-storey shop consists of yoga-meditation classes, educational workshops, and spa services to complement the products on display.

Designed by SR Projects and Tuna architects, the store has used pastel-pink as background to create a soothing atmosphere in the bustling grey neighbourhood of NoMad, NY. The interior consists of curved profiles to further enhance the tranquil environment; extensive use of arches for display and openings. The walls have punctured niches for product display. The floor is finished with hardwood to mimic the earth, the pale pink walls along with the white ceiling represent the atmosphere. This helps in supporting mental restorative process and reduction of stress. The floor is lined with grey cushions and green plants to help an individual relax and meditate. The store material palette also uses glossy ceramic tiles as a wall feature to stand in contrast to the pastel backdrop. The skylights bring in a generous amount of daylight as opposed to artificial lighting. The store has minimal display i.e. the store speaks of its brand more than its products. The main display is a tea bar of a grey concrete terrazzo countertop. The store is designed as a calm escape to educate the users on ways to soothe, balance and lighten. It is an environment of calm and minimalism.

2. The retail interior creates contrast for your brand

The concept store for Geijoeng by Studio 10 in Shenzhen has used glass blocks along with Kvadrat RafSimon’s green velour curtain to create a ghostly ambiance corresponding to Geijoeng’s concept of minimalism while contrasting with their heavy fabric – silk, cashmere, wool, and velvet. The reflective and translucent surfaces along with pale green terrazzo set the delicate environment for the concept store. The stores give you an idea of walking through a sci-fi movie setting with the industrial look completed with artificial lights. The various layers of glass material juxtapose to create a rich spatial hierarchy. The fitting rooms are done in glass channels lined with heavy green curtains, the rooms are placed at random across the floor. The Geijoeng green is reflected throughout the space using the glass channels lined with silver mirrored material. The flooring is done in greenish grey terrazzo embedded with dark green and light marble which is extruded to create the marble base for display, bench or storage. Custom made acrylic rods are designed in tandem with the store to hang the display. The store plays with the interactivity between materials, light, reflection, and fabric.


Anamika Mathew is a stubborn influencer. She’s sort of like a Caesar salad – a little of this and a little of that. She is highly dramatic and loves putting the people around her in a pickle. Her passions include self-exploration and adrenaline activities. She requires to talk for at least 12 hours a day. Oh! And she is also a final year architecture student.

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