Report • 15.02.2011
Store Branding: How a store becomes an unmistakable brand
The most important advertising tool for every retailer is his own store. A large store as well as a small shop must be unmistakable to the customers. That’s why store design can not be left to chance. New stores can set a new course, while renovations are often more difficult. More and more the store is staged like a brand.
Shopfitters don’t get their most orders for new construction, but rather for the redesign of existing stores. “A thorough analysis of the current state is the starting point“, says Reinhard Peneder, Marketing Director of shopfitter Umdasch. He warns against precipitous modifications. “There is far too much investment done without previous deliberations.“ Peneder states the right sequence: “store check“, ”store branding“ and only after this comes the planning of any store modifications. “Store Branding“, he points out, is not just a topic for the large chain stores, but also for small specialty retailers, even bakeries and hair salons. Store Branding means: the store is supposed to become an unmistakable brand.
The store as a brand – there is no panacea for it. You analyze the sales figures, take a look at the current store condition, analyze the local competitive situation and then determine the future assortment of goods. Finally, interior decorators and designers can use this to develop the proper optical appearance. They want to “tell a story” to the consumer and evoke emotions.
Store design is counting on psychology
A good store design leads the customer to the desired product virtually by itself. However, you need to consider several issues during the planning stage – from the floor plan to psychology all the way to day-to-day sales. The store layout – the partition of the store’s floor space – needs to first and foremost appeal to the customer. They are supposed to feel good.
The arrangement of shelves and merchandise fixtures should incorporate the insights of cognitive psychology. Nonverbal stimuli work best. Without any previous notional control, they automatically trigger emotional experiences. By comparison, language is more deliberately absorbed and with cognitive control. Among nonverbal stimuli are images, colors, light and smells. Verbal messages for instance are advertising messages or price tags. This is why it is ideal, if the walking route comes about automatically, without the customer feeling constricted.
Trend indicator EuroShop
Once again in February at the next EuroShop, current storefitting trends will be exhibited and discussed. There is not a new shop revolution every three years. However, brand stores and flagship stores set a course, from which a trend can develop. For several years the trend has gone toward a more generous and manageable store layout with wide aisles, which highlight individual objects. Sustainability and natural materials will be an important topic in Düsseldorf. LED light saves electricity and opens up new possibilities in merchandise presentation. Solid wood furniture and stone surfaces signal naturalness.
The store design should not just be pretty though, it also needs to be suitable for everyday use. Can the shelves be easily refilled? Is there enough room for special promotional offers? Is everything in plain view to prevent shoplifting and to help customers who are looking for something? Can the floors, shelves and displays be easily cleaned? Can the interior equipment still be supplemented in a few years with matching elements?
The store furnishings consist more and more of standardized, multi-functionally applicable components, which can be adapted to the changing sales promotions. Parts of Visual Marketing are increasingly photomurals or focal back walls and more and more often also large-sized advertising screens. The latter is a long-term challenge, because the company is not just investing in a new technology, but it also needs to provide contents that inspire customers over many years. At last, besides the customers, the staff should also feel good at the store. If the store becomes a brand, the associates are the brand ambassadors.
René Schellbach, Euroshop