India being a developing economy has seen booming growth of retail market spaces like shopping malls mushrooming all along major Tier I and Tier II cities. This has lead to increasing demand for retail interior design wherein it is expected that all designs are unique, eye-catching, functional and user friendly. Many brands have their established way of going about the general arrangement of the furniture and look and feel of the space. This is to develop an identity and make the customer recognize them through the colors or the font which is used as signage of their brand name. Many a times, just one look can tell you which store or brand it is.
There are a few facets to be taken care of while designing a retail store.
1. Façade: Façade does the first handshake with the customers so it has to be unique with appropriate information. Façade majorly comprises of signage, display (that talks about the product) and the backdrop paneling to frame the entrance of the shop like a gateway. All these elements should be visible from a distance and should be crisp and clear without creating any ambiguity in the customer’s mind.
2. Racks: These are the most functional elements and to get these right, one needs to do an in-depth study of the inventory, which is to be sold. Racks can be modular in design and the shelves can be adjustable considering that if the product size changes on a later date even then the commodities should be able to be neatly housed in the existing shelves without any compromise. Height of the display is paramount and should be decided on considering the line of sight of a standing person. Anything too low or too high may not be visible so the spaces above and below this can be used as storage spaces. Storage above will be difficult to use so it is advised to have storages at a lower level.
3. Services: There are 3 aspects to it – above ceiling, below ceiling and the main termination point. Above ceiling services usually comprise of Air-conditioning, Sprinklers, Smoke detectors, Electrical work, CCTV, PA system. It is important that coordination of all these essentials are done properly so as to get maximum height clear height below false ceiling and the store looks spacious. Below ceiling is where these services are seen; so all services should be aligned in a proper grid. Building codes are to be referred to understand the spacing for smoke detectors and sprinklers. It is obligatory to provide trap doors in strategic locations for servicing of above ceiling equipment once the ceiling is closed with false ceiling. Make sure all testing (smoke and leakage tests) are done properly and the results are satisfactory before the closing the false ceiling. This will avoid rework on a later date. Lastly the termination point for electrical and fire alarms should be properly organized and tagged so that it is easy for anybody to understand and work.
4. Circulation: This determines how you want people to move inside the store and what you wish to sell. The most selling item or the most attractive item can be placed at the start and rest can be arranged a bit deeper. Arrangement should be along the walls or in central space with wide enough aisles. These aisles should be unobstructed and should give clear passages to the exit in case of emergency.
5. Branding: Global brands often carry their regular look and feel all around the globe wherever they have a presence. This is an identity they want to carry and want people to recognize them with that. So if a store wants to replicate in other cities as well, then why reinvent the wheel all the time and why not take a time-tested approach and replicate a successful model. This will help create a unique identity and will save time in working on the design time and again.
6. Lighting: Lighting will decide how your store will look. It should be such that it highlights the entire display and nothing in the display is kept in the dark. This can be done in 2 ways, one is to have uniformly distributed light all along the store and secondly to highlight just the displays and keep the rest in lower lux levels. Recommended lux in a store is from 750-1000 lux. It is to be studied what kind of light suits your product. For example, 3000K light is usually used in jewelry and apparel store and 4000K in home accessories store. White light is usually seen in electronic stores.
Retail design is a very fast-paced project to save revenues getting wasted on rent. This demands extensive time and co-ordination. We recommend proper scheduling of the project along with all stakeholders so that there is no compromise on quality to achieve a specific deadline. The above listed points are basic guidelines to design a store, but we recommend that along with literature it is always advisable to undergo case studies and experience for yourself, what best suits your requirement.