How to use minimalism in retail design

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We discuss ways to incorporate minimalism into brick-and-mortar retail stores, giving spaces a sense of luxury and exclusivity and allowing function to reign over distraction.


Words by Tom Brialey

Taking a slick, streamlined and minimalist approach to the design of retail environments can give a perceived sense of luxury and exclusivity, helping us step away from the fast paced, chaotic nature of modern society which we have all become accustomed to.

Whether updating or completely redesigning retail store, minimalism is a trend well worth considering – so we have decided to discuss the ways the trend can be incorporated into brick-and-mortar retail stores. From changing the overall layout to product displays and colour schemes, minimalist retail design provides a whole range of benefits, allowing function to reign over distraction:

Strip back the layout

With fewer distracting decorative elements, customers will be more likely to notice the products on sale. Strip back to the bare essentials by removing anything excessive or without a functional reason for being there; this will create an environment that’s streamlined for performance, and is extremely effective.

Spacious, minimalist style floor plans promote a peaceful environment away from the busy high street – mimicking the environment that many people may prefer, indicative of shopping online. A shop that’s free from clutter also means that staff will be able to notice shoppers, and consequently spend more time greeting them and offering assistance when required. This hands-on approach to service means customers won’t need to hunt staff down while they perform housekeeping duties, and will hopefully be less likely to abandon their carts before they reach the checkout.


Inage: MODERN ESSENTIALS on Unsplash

Prime product displays

Minimalist retail interiors take simplicity to the next level, placing product centre stage – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with design. Experiment with striking pops of colour such as candyfloss pink or forest green while subtly mixing and matching materials, helping ensure the environment is bang on trend. Incorporating block colours into displays rather than busy feature walls will prevent the customer from feeling overwhelmed, keeping the focus on the products themselves.

For a real impact, why not incorporate sculptural pieces to add intrigue? Investing in some strong, easily accessible shelving could maximise the space around a centrepiece, while staying in keeping with the minimalist theme. Upon entering the store, the bestseller could be placed on a polished marble table in a way that doesn’t overwhelm against a neutral colour scheme – when it comes to designing retail spaces, it’s all about creating a calm and inviting environment.

Spruce up the lighting scheme

Retail lighting is a key component in making customers feel at home in any retail space, and entices them to buy products. Lighting not only illuminates the space, but sets the mood and atmosphere, guides shoppers to key areas, and provides an overall backdrop for customer experience.

With no decorative suspended lighting to obstruct customers’ views, floorspace will appear open and more inviting to the customer. Unlike stark white lights, installing general or ambient lighting will make customers feel comfortable in the space, while providing enough light to safely explore the entire store. Whether you want to make a statement with lighting by installing LEDs or prefer a simple series of panels or recessed lights, retail lighting is crucial to good business.

Feature image: Cull & Nguyen on Unsplash

Tom Brialey is the founder and director of Action Shelving 



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