Home Design and Shop Design Share the Same Principles

  in  Improvements
You might not automatically associate shop decor with home decor, but the principles of design and layout are very similar, especially if you compare a boutique shop to a residential home. I like a minimalist, clean design for both my home and my shop. Just like my home, the shop feels warm and welcoming. A haven from the hustle and bustle of the high street.

The similarities don't stop there: there's a lot of similarities between a residential property and a shop when you consider aesthetics too. Ultimately, people like to feel a certain harmony with their surroundings, and I think a lot of shops get it wrong when they try to make the layout too "corporate". I always think of my shop as a kind of home that has an open door policy. Many visitors can't quite put their finger on it, but they feel better on entering a shop that looks so homely.

While other businesses seem to tie themselves in knots trying to be "cutting edge" or smart/clever with design and layout, I like to keep things simple.I adhere to this rule in everything I do. I don't even call it the "KISS principle" because that in itself is breaking the rule - as always I end up having to explain what KISS stands for, and no, I'm not calling the enquirer stupid(!).

Keep it Simple
I keep everything simple in business:-
  • My business plan
  • Financial targets
  • My product/service
  • My customer service
  • How I deal with employees
  • My business premises
A Simple, Homely Layout
I'd like to elaborate on one of the above points: my business premises. I sell clothing. Actually, I sell one particular style of t-shirt of a well known brand. I told you I keep my product range simple. The only variations of the product are size and colour as you might expect.

I keep the shop space very simple for the benefit of my customers. There's no clutter, plenty of space (I actually converted two shops into one to create this space) and everything is categorised by size, then colour. I have 5 rows of products, each clearly marked by the size they represent (XS, S, M, L, XL). The colours are arranged from light to dark.

The shop has a clean, minimalist look. The outfitters did a great job. I've been told that such a layout relaxes customers. I think it's because they're not overwhelmed when they come in. It's clean and welcoming.

Customers Don't Feel Hassled
When customers come into the shop, I make them feel welcome, but I leave them alone. I don't hover over them or make suggestions. I am not sure if this is a successful strategy or not, but even if it is, I refuse to do it. Customers hardly need help with my product range - you have sizes and colours, and about the only thing I say to customers is that they're free to use the changing room to see what size fits them best.

Despite my minimalist bent when it comes to shop aesthetics, I do subject one of my personal tastes onto my customers - my love of ambient music. While many friends disparagingly call it musak, (one described it as music that's only fit for television test card transmissions), it's hardly an imposition on my customers to play it in the shop. I think it just adds to the relaxing mood.

It All Comes Back Home
I've learnt that my customers just want to feel relaxed and unpressured. A homely environment goes a long way to achieving that.


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