Retail: Showroom Interior Design Standards | Rules & Concepts
All retail outlets exhibit a brand identity however showrooms in particular are able to take a more stylistic approach when it comes to exhibiting a modern lifestyle. In showroom interior design, what is essentially being exhibited is a modern and contemporary way of living where the latest technology in industrial and product design is being projected. Therefore, showroom design architect must extend this cutting edge approach to interior design; the technology and finesse of the product on display must be reflected in the interior space, in its concept and finishes.
A showroom experience should be seamless without interruptions and “clutter”. Clutter doesn’t necessarily only mean extra items and products but also other kinds of noise including unnecessary design elements that distract from the product or the experience the company or brand would like the users to engage in. All finishes and design elements must cohesively come together to tell a story about how the customers’ life can be enhanced in some way if they choose to purchase the product on display.
There are certain design rules for showroom design interior and exterior that must always be taken into consideration to achieve this sense of seamlessness and design cohesiveness:
- Storage: A suitable amount of storage must always be worked into the plan at the back ends of the space. It is usually not acceptable to house any boxes or excess stock in the public or customer areas. It is also not a good look for storage to be visible through shopfronts or even seating areas and therefore must be camouflaged or positioned a reasonable distance from the shop fronts or lobby/waiting/seating spaces so that the “seamless” brand experience is reinforced at every corner and angle of the store.
- The shop front is really what draws customers in and should be given utmost attention. Designers usually make the mistake of focusing solely on the interior finishes and details whilst neglect the finishes and concept of the shop front and window display which negatively impacts the customers’ perception of the brand. If the customer is to be made to believe that the products on display in the showroom are of high quality and are durable and long lasting, then starting with the first point of contact to the store, all finishes and functions should be carefully planned. This includes the highest quality joinery, plinths, all junctions, signage boards and lighting.
- Why CRI matters in retail: The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a tool used to quantify how colors look when illuminated by a luminaire – or light unit – as compared to natural sunlight. Used correctly, the right CRI can boost sales and profits and positively impact brand perception. Light bulbs and sources with a CRI of 80 to 90 are good at color rendering, and a CRI of 90 or higher are excellent at color rendering and are mostly used today in successful medium to large retail environments to enhance the true colors of products. Low CRI lighting on the other hand is found usually in poor quality LED or fluorescent light fittings which make colors appear dull and lifeless. It is simply not enough to have “a lot” of light above each space and item; CRI within retail involves checking what the CRI is of the lighting bulbs you are using in your design and checking whether they are appropriate for the experience you want the customers to have. For instance, in a super market, low CRI bulbs that distorts true colors can make otherwise fresh fruit and vegetable look less appealing. This happens on a subtle level which the customer is unable to consciously acknowledge. However, retail sales experts, interior designers and architects with an understanding of the psychology of CRI are able to appropriately design lighting schemes for colors in a retail space to be rendered in the most psychologically appealing ways. In a furniture store for instance, the different grains and shades of natural wood would have to be exhibited appropriately through the correct CRI for the customers to be able to truly appreciate the design and shade of the pieces.
CRI 95 – 100: The highest standard color rendering.
CRI 90 – 95: Great color rendering. Most colors appear in their true shade.
CRI 80 – 90: Good color rendering that is acceptable for most commercial uses.
CRI below 80: Poor, true colors get distorted.
- Have strong in-store visuals: All product information should be displayed in a clear, yet concise way and with powerful graphic design. There should always be a focal point to each image which centers the viewers’ direction in on a certain path. Details that are too busy or distracting will overwhelm customers. Since showroom are spaces not designed to have heavy traffic and a lot of users unlike some other retail outlets like super markets – they require a slow, considered walkthrough of the space where as much attention and detail is drawn to the products and their characteristics; that includes information about the product on spaces other than on the product itself. There have to carefully curated visually strong infographics displayed on boards, walls, brochures and pamphlets.
- Don’t display products in the decompression zone: This is the area that is the transition space between the interior and exterior. The way this space should be designed is that it should have visibly different textures, colors and lighting to the outside textures, color and lighting to draw people in and to mark the transition into a new inviting space. The decompression zone is where customers have just entered the store so they are still adjusting to the space and are unlikely to pay attention to items just yet. Avoid displaying products in this zone but have strong and appropriate lighting contrast as compared to the exterior environment.
- Personal space is key: According to research, customers report a more positive store experience and brand perception when the space feels open and less constrained. There should be plenty of personal space around each individual which according to the law of Proxemics is from 1.5’ – 4’ around the body. Apart from a person intruding a person’s personal space, there should also not be any physical obstructions and protrusions that interrupt the users ‘experience of the space and make the user feel constrained. In fact, it has been theorized that women, especially, are more likely to move to a different area of the store or leave a store entirely if they’re bumped or brushed up against. To steer clear of such outcomes, designers must make sure that aisles are capacious, and that the most popular products and displays are kept in places where there is ample room to move about.
Whatever product, service or design you are exhibiting in your showroom, a sense of modern indulgence should always be projected. This can be achieved through a variety of ways as detailed above. The end goal in mind must be that the customers walking through the space feel as if they take the product or products home, they will also take home with them a hint of the future and its accompanying advances in contemporary living.
You may consult showroom design companies for a meticulous, functional and practical space planning and design. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for your queries.