Retail Reads: Experiential Store Design - Bluewater Skip to main content

Consumers enter brick-and-mortar stores to encounter unique experiences they simply cannot get online. They want to discover something new, something that s presented in a way that showcases the features of a product that captivates their eye. Never before has visual merchandising through the use of technology been so important in the retail landscape.

The moment they walk in, customers are hopeful, passionate, and immersed in a sensory experience even if they don’t know it. They want to discover something worth the trip, and talk about their visit after they leave.

Retail store design and visual merchandising can impact buyer behavior from entrance to exit. It can create up-sell opportunities and and drive satisfaction. Here are a few recommendations to not only engage your customers, but to sell to them with a sense of delight and amazement.

Create Touchable Excitement

We buy everything through touch. While other senses are activated in-store such as smell (think back to those Abercrombie stores years ago…whew), we largely buy through touching and holding products. On a basic level, being able to touch and feel the merchandise gives customers that otherwise may be skeptical a chance to bond with the merchandise in a way online only can imagine.

Image Credit: L’Occitane

This entrance to the L’Octcitane store in New York City provides a touchable, engaging display with bicycles that take the consumer to a whimsical and yet refined head space. It matches the brand’s identify perfectly. Not only this, but they are met by a store employee almost immediately and can showcase additional information on the digital signage in the area. Meaning there is a touch experience, visual experience and even a conversational opportunity in the first 20 feet of entrance.

Have A Display that Says “Wow”

One retailer once told us if they had a choice they’d have a shiny & bright classic car in the first 10 feet of their store. It would lit with spotlights to really make the chrome shine and a red carpet that would lead the customer to an open door that would welcome the visitor to a space inside the car that showcased the aftermarket ad-ons that they sold at the store

With a huge display like that, it causes customers to linger and potentially spend even more money. When you can integrate technology into a display like this in today’s retail world it’s usually best to do so as well The old saying that “customers just want to get in and get out quick” isn’t relevant in today’s retail landscape. They want to be engaged, they want to linger, they want tech that integrates with their own phone, and experiential elements that go beyond simply the product they are buying.

Natuzzi AR Store New York, NY


Stand Out on The Streetscape

Boring compromised streetscapes for big box retailers were a thing of the 90’s. These stores were largely only set apart by their logos. The mass closings of the last decade and half have created an environment where retailers must adapt and own the street. They must be welcoming and create a sensory experience that draws the consumer off the street. A compelling reason to enter should be visible at all times. Whether that be a display, signage, LED wall, or even merchandise on the sidewalk, there are a multitude of ways to do this.

Kuzzo’s Detroit