With the growing popularity and convenience of online shopping, bricks and mortar retail stores are facing challenging times. And with the recent launch of its first automated physical store in Seattle, internet giants Amazon seem intent on redefining the future of high street shopping altogether.

Smaller retailers in particular need to meet these challenges and find innovative ways to draw in customers and offer them the personal experience that e-commerce and automated stores can’t.

Never before has retail design been so important. Attracting customers so they’ll not only step inside your store, but engaging them enough to ultimately make a purchase, all starts with the visuals: the architecture, interior design, layout, space and lighting.

Here’s some examples of how retail design can be effectively used to enhance customer experience.


One reason online shopping is popular is because it’s easy to navigate. Products can be found at the touch of a button. Your retail space must be well-organised and structured in a way that customers can easily find what they’re looking for.

Use your space to create an immersive experience that appeals to the senses. The more comfortable your customers feel, the more they’ll be engaged.


Give your customers a clear and uncluttered path to follow. Clear sign posts, logical product groupings, showcasing products that will arouse interest and encourage customers to browse and explore, all add up to a positive customer experience and ultimately more sales.

Your store’s layout should allow your customers to circulate with ease. Ensure there is plenty of space to move freely. Tight, awkward spaces and narrow aisles where customers are forced to brush against each other provide a negative experience and they’ll be more likely to give up and leave.


Lighting is not only effective for highlighting new and best selling products, it can also set the mood and atmosphere of your store. Ensure your store is well-lit and ambient lighting is bright enough for customers to easily make their way around. Illuminate key areas such as the entrance and checkouts, while softer, decorative lighting can be used to improve the overall aesthetic look and add a touch of style.

Reinforce Your Brand

Everything about your store should be used to reinforce your brand’s identity. From colours, furnishings, decor and lighting, to enticing shop window displays. And don’t just rely on physical elements to engage your customers. Many stores use music to create a more harmonious and pleasant environment. Others use scents to appeal to the senses so that customers will associate the smell with that particular brand and store.

Finally, a beautifully designed and well-laid out store not only appeals to your customers, but creates a pleasant and comfortable working environment for your staff. High morale encourages better productivity and customer engagement. And that’s something e-commerce and automated stores can never replace.

KTA Brighton Architects is an award winning practice offering a range of architectural and design services including commercial and retail design. For more information and advice, contact us today.