Retail business owners, consider these two statistics:

  1. In less than 90 seconds, customers will size up your brand and form an opinion about it.
  2. According to Escalent, 95% of shoppers enter a store because of how they experience its exterior.

Designing a compelling storefront for your retail venue is key to drawing in customers. While you could outsource the task to a storefront design company, what about taking on the challenge yourself?

First, a few pros and cons of creating your own storefront design. After that, we’ll provide a few ideas on how to make a killer front.

The Pros of Designing Your Storefront Yourself

If you decide to design the exterior of your retail space, it will help greatly that you thoroughly understand your product or service.

There won’t be a middleman. You’ll work directly with contractors—if any are needed–and get the job done without overlap.

You’ll save on costs because you’re doing the design work solo.

You’ll start from a blank canvas and drive the whole project.

The Cons of Designing Yourself

If storefront design is outside your wheelhouse, you’ll likely omit important design components. These missing components may make a big difference in attracting your desired clientele.

If you’ve never planned and executed a storefront design, your lack of experience may result in a subpar experience for potential customers.

Designing your storefront could keep you from focusing on other important business tasks.

How to Design a Retail Storefront That Reels Them In

Collect Ideas

Spend some time looking at other storefronts—in the mall, in the shopping district, in magazines, and online. Look at what competitors are doing in their designs.

Notice what you like and dislike. What makes you respond? What leaves you cold? Take notes. Collect samples, where possible. Assemble a portfolio to refer to as you begin to design your own storefront.

Everything is fodder for your imagination.

What is Your Story?

Next figure out this piece. Create the narrative around your product or service and hang your storefront design on the hooks of the story. This is the big-picture stuff that guides your design concepts and ideas.

People buy and shop from emotion and need, so give them a story to respond to. Let it come from a genuine place so there’s the authenticity that people will relate to.

Distill the story with a few lines that are clear and straightforward.

Create an Experience Around the Story

You want your storefront to draw people in like a magnet. Create an experience for them by employing fixtures, props, and devices that tease people’s senses and envelope them in your story.

Use lighting, textures, aromas, and sound.

What will they see?

  • Signage
  • Quotes and sayings on the windows
  • Featured products inside the windows
  • Sale items
  • QR codes for menus, sale information, and product launches
  • Flowers and planters
  • String lights
  • Balloons
  • Sandwich boards
  • Benches & chairs
  • Natural textures in fabrics and coverings
  • Metals, chrome, and glass

Be Singular in Focus

You’ve got a product or a service and a story. You’re creating an experience out of the story that resonates with passersby and makes them want to come inside.

This point—being singular in focus—is about being clear. No potential shopper should be confused about what you offer. Everything in your storefront should underscore the message of your brand.

Be sure people can tell quickly what kind of store you have. Is the store name easy to see? Do displays align with signage and the store name? Do seasonal or holiday displays maintain your brand message?

Don’t Be Afraid to Target a Specific Audience

Your product or service won’t appeal to everyone on the planet. Don’t dilute the effectiveness of your storefront design by trying to reach every shopper.

Who is your target audience? Study and understand it. Know the behaviors, values, interests, opinions, and lifestyles of the people who comprise this demographic. This knowledge will help you tailor your storefront design for maximum effectiveness.

Welcome Shoppers

This might seem like an obvious tip, but we mention it, nevertheless. In your storefront design, incorporate touches that invite people and make them feel welcome. Music, signs that say “welcome” or “come in,” a strip of red carpet extending from the entry, an open door—these things can make potential customers feel wanted, included, and invited.

Extend the Storefront to the Street

Whether your storefront is literally in front of a roadway or it’s inside a mall, within regulation parameters, utilize the square footage outside the walls and windows. Do something to make people curious and to slow their pace.

Maybe a seating area will work. Or a seating area combined with a dynamic display or activity.

Got a bookstore? Place a person outside in an overstuffed chair to read a children’s book out loud. Put a few stools there for kids to sit on. Got a gadget shop? Set some devices loose out front—monitored, of course. Accessories? Take displays outside. Clothing? Hang some sale items on racks beside the door.

If You Decide to Hire a Storefront Design Company

This article supplies ideas and concepts for designing a storefront yourself. Don’t be discouraged, though, if you get partway into the process of designing your storefront and then get stuck. Or realize that your time is better spent on other business tasks while professionals create your exterior façade.

A good storefront design company will bring resources, expertise, and experience to your project.

Contact PureAlchemy to Design Your Storefront

Our design team has provided storefront solutions for many business owners over the past decade, and we would love to help you with yours. We specialize in melding the key components that will tell your story, herald your brand, and invite customers into your retail space.

Contact us at (612) 230-8856 or request a consultation by submitting the online form on the Contact page.

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