It sometimes looks like online retail is the only way to attract customers. But when it comes to boutiques, people still love to feel the fabric and try clothes on before they buy.

Retail sales hit $5.7 trillion in 2017 and with the right store design idea, you can be part of that success in 2019.

Enticing customers off their mobile devices and into your boutique is the only way to do that. But how do you come up with the best store design to win customers and make sales?

Read on for our best tips from the pros.

Create the Right Path In-Store

Controlling the traffic around your store helps to create an atmosphere of calm. It also means you guide the customers past all of your products.

Grid floor plans don’t always suit boutiques since they’re better for goods stocked on shelves.

Instead, try a loop floor plan to guide shoppers past all of your wares. Use perimeter walls for featured displays and use rails in the central part of the store.

Or opt for a free flow plan, allowing customers to wander between fixtures. It promotes browsing and highlights particular items in well-planned displays. Lead customers towards these displays using color and sight lines.

Add an Accent Wall

Another way to draw a customer through the store is to create an accent wall. Paint or otherwise decorate one wall – hang interesting fabric for a display you can change easily.

The wall draws attention and helps make the store look larger. Choose a color or pattern that contrasts with the floor and store furniture for maximum impact.

Alternatively, choose faux panels to simulate brick, stone, or even wood. They’re cheaper than the real materials but help add texture to your boutique.

It’s also a great way to separate sections of your store. Accent walls work well with footwear and accessories.

Adding mirrors is another great way to open up space and they work well on accent walls. Mirrors help make your store look bigger while giving unusual views of your displays.

Putting mirrors near the windows is also a good way to bring the street environment into your store.

Make Lighting a Key Part of Your Store Design

Lighting is part of the decor that can make or break your store design. Lights draw attention to items but they also help lead customers through the store.

Try recycling old items to add quirkiness. For example, why not wrap fairy lights around an upcycled metal garden bench? These lighting installations become statement pieces between displays.

Interesting lighting schemes help create ambiance and give customers clues about your store’s identity.

Try introducing ‘invisible’ dividers or shelves by using glass. This makes the space look bigger and helps give a clean, minimal feel to your store.

Combine the elegant lines with soft focus lighting for a high-end feel.

Keep Up with Trends

You already know fashion trends run six months ahead of stores. So why not introduce those trends to your boutique’s store design to add a cutting-edge element?

Stay active on Instagram but check out trend reports on websites like WGSN to predict what’s coming. Decide in advance how you might fold those trends into your store design.

You might use one or two elements. Or you might pick a color or texture for your accent wall. Whatever you choose, make sure it fits your brand but also lets customers know your stock is up to date.

Choose the Right Music

Music helps create an ambiance in your store. But choose the wrong music, or play it too loud, and you ruin the effect.

Try smaller Bluetooth speakers around the store to avoid excessive volumes. Test the kinds of music your customers best respond to.

You may even vary the music based on the time of day, matching genres to footfall. Refer back to your brand – what kind of music best sums up your boutique?

Cut Back on Clutter

Optimize vertical space for items that work well as hanging displays. For example, jewelry like necklaces looks more appealing hanging from hooks rather than lying flat.

Cut back on bulky displays where you can to help streamline your store design. Give customers a sense of space so they don’t feel hemmed in by-products.

Visit your local thrift store or antique center for unusual items you can use as storage around your store. Why not use old sweet jars for small items? Or use a vintage coat stand to display long clothing?

Explore Installation Art

The Chengdu branch of the Eifini boutique in China used installation art to creatively present clothes. SAKO Architects painted the ceiling, walls and floor white to better show off the clothes.

The same tiles as the floor covered the furniture to make counters look seamless with the space. They installed a 250m pipe which acted as a clothing rail.

Customers move freely through the space, between and below the clothes on display. The use of white makes the room look bigger while placing the focus on the items for sale.

Choosing an unusual layout will change the way customers interact with your boutique. It helps the store stand out from the competition.

Choose a Theme

Your store design will benefit from a theme to hold the visuals together. This might be an extension of your brand.

If you’re a luxury boutique, you might choose colors and textures associated with luxury. Specialize in wedding wear? Choose a design concept that emphasizes romance and elegance.

Themes help you to express a particular ambiance and also provide structure for your layout and displays. It also makes it easier to make design decisions in the future by providing a framework for your concepts.

Above All, Be Welcoming

Your store design is crucial to creating an ambiance. But providing a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere is what brings customers back time and again.

Make your store somewhere they love to spend time. And have fun creating the design! Your enthusiasm and passion will shine through the concept you come up with.

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