As commercial property prices continue to rise, many retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to create a presence for themselves on our high streets and in our shopping centres.
This trend is even more prominent amongst smaller, less well-known brands who lack the financial resources necessary to enable them to compete with more well-established names.
Without the capital and collateral required to lease a physical retail space, these brands are becoming priced out of business by the sector’s bigger players.
But this does not have to be the case…
Quite the opposite, in fact, as it is entirely possible for retailers to reap significant benefits from the tiniest of spaces. Such investments are, however, frequently met with hesitancy and uncertainty due to concerns about the potential drawbacks of small shops.
Brands repeatedly report feeling worried about spending money on leasing a plot with a limited amount of floor space because shoppers could find it stuffy or uninviting.
To overcome problems such as these, we have drawn on a wealth of visual merchandising experience and expertise and compiled a list of effective methods that brands can use in order to make sure that even the smallest retail spaces generate substantial returns.
Tip #1 - Let There Be Light!
Experts from visual merchandising and marketing, all the way through to psychology and neuroscience, are in agreement that the human brain is hardwired to ignore any spaces which are not properly illuminated. This means that if there is any part of a room which is gloomy or shadowy, shoppers will fail to notice that it is even there at all!
We recommend using bright lights throughout the store so that customers are able to see appreciate all of the space available. By combining these with mirrors and windows, retailers can create the illusion of there being more space by bringing additional light in from the outside and reflecting it all around the room. Lighting that is integrated into display units can further the effectiveness of this illusion by creating additional focus points, thus giving the impression that a retail space has multiple ‘layers’.
Tip #2 - Rethink Your Displays
Using modular display systems is a creative way in which retailers can maximise the efficiency of limited space. That is, by using custom displays, retailers are able to make the most efficient use of space. This is in contrast to choosing more ‘off the shelf’ systems and forcing their intended environment to make the compromises. Display units can be designed and built according to the specific measurements of the available space, meaning that no areas are wasted.
Open shelving systems are another inventive way in which we make sure that shoppers are able to see through displays and appreciate the full size of a space, regardless of where they are within the store. This means that shelves don’t have the same impact of confining interior walls, enabling us to stop spaces being made to feel smaller than they actually are.
Make use of wall space by installing cleverly designed shelving systems can really help keep floor space free. This can reduce the impression that a given space is chaotic, stuffy or overwhelmingly busy and encourage shoppers to think that there is more space than there actually is.
Tip #3 - Get Graphical
Floor to ceiling graphics have the effect of drawing our eyes upward and inviting us to appreciate the full height of a space. This means that, instead of just focusing on what is directly in front of us, we are much more likely to notice the space above and below what’s on display.
As well as opening up a room, graphics are one of the best ways in which retailers can communicate their brand identity to shoppers whilst simultaneously promoting their products and services.
Tip #4 - Think Outside the Box
Smaller stores are at risk of being dwarfed by the high-street giants, whose physical presence make them unmissable to passers-by.
This means that any brands who are attempting to maximise the effectiveness of a small retail space must make sure that they use the exterior of their shop as well as the interior. Using creative displays and attention-grabbing lighting in the windows of their stores, retailers can greatly enhance the amount of customer engagement generated.