Modern Retail Store Design - A Perspective

When you think of any Retail Store, instantly you recall the layout and your experience connected with the store. We tend to build our likes and dislikes around the Store environment and ambience and our loyalty to any one store may be influenced by our perceptions of that particular store environment. Store Design and Layout is a major factor that defines as well as differentiates one Retailer from another.

Any Retail Store takes into account the Visibility aspect of the store, its image as well as operational efficiency besides cost and the overall value perception that it provides to the Customer. Modern day Retail stores have really emerged to be master piece designs that have been put together tastefully by the architects using the modern architectural technology and materials. When we refer to a Store design, we are not only referring to the internal store design but to the overall layout that has been developed for enhancing customer utility.

Retail business grew in proportions post 1990s. The departmental stores that existed around the same time seemed to have followed some sort of store design concept and image building too. However the modern Retail Stores have invested into understanding every nuance of the Customer’s expectations both verbalised and felt and have developed layouts that are functional, aesthetically superior and provide a complete shopping experience to the Customers. The design concept has paid rich dividends in terms of branding and building loyalty of customers.

Today’s retail store designs comprise of glass and steel structures with lots of free flowing space and light giving the visitor a feeling of huge expanse of space. Store designs have gone hi-tech using innovative styles of racking and lighting, experimenting with new concepts in terms of creating visual effects etc. The overall functional and utility value of the layout has been given primary importance. Use of Lifts, elevators, sufficient space provided for utilities in every floor, installation of modern safety & security systems, electronic surveillance and effective security and well designed and convenient parking lots make modern retail stores a very attractive proposition inviting customers to come and spend a couple of hours with the entire family. We see the extensive use of modern concepts and materials that has gone into designing of such urban shopping centres.

While all of the Retail Stores use identical architectural approach to design of Retail Store and Complex, individuality is retained through differentiation in layouts, use of colours, signage, fittings and technology. Visual communication of brand and logo are deployed to create the visual impact on visitors.

Growth of International Retail stores have been influence heavily by several factors such as availability of modern construction designs, modern materials and equipments and more importantly the availability of physical space at affordable costs. Development of a good Retail Store and layout calls for in depth study and understanding of design principles as well as study of practical consumer behaviour and expectations besides understanding the visual impact on visitors. Modern Retailing has come of age thanks to modern architecture.

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