The 3 Key Benefits of Retail Store Branding
1 ) Retail branding creates a distinctive customer perception about a store, and also influences a customer’s decision where to shop and induces store loyalty - increasing revenue and profitability.
2 ) Retail branding insulates a company from competing retailers and establishes a visual identity in the minds of the potential customers.
3 ) Retail branding can possibly indirectly decrease purchase costs, by increasing the retailer leverage, as the identity becomes better known with the brand’s suppliers.
Aspect and Potential of a Retail Brand
For a retail brand, the customer purchases products in an ambience created by the retailer, and experiences the product in a multitude of ways eg: by the store design and layout, the quality of the products, the product assortment, the merchandising, the price, the staff interaction, in-store and post-sales service etc.
The experience of a retail brand, therefore, is more multi-sensory in nature and retailers have opportunities to create, a retail brand experience through a whole set of activities that contact the customer and, not just rely on external advertising.
The utilitarian shopper seeks dependability, practicality and economy, whereas an ego-expressive shopper bases shopping decisions on the symbolism of the store which includes status and lifestyle.
A store that lacks a sharp image or identity in the minds of consumers, doesn’t represent anything aspirational - and ends up being an alternative store. The customer doesn’t head for such a store as a destination or primary place to shop. It is reasonably well established that customers make more frequent visits, buy larger value and often pay premiums, when they identify with a retail store or brand.
Store Design and Ambience
The feeling aroused in customers during a store visit influences their behaviour, with a greater likelihood of purchase in more pleasant settings. Different elements of a retailer’s in-store environment eg: colour, music and accessibility to the product, generally influence a customer’s perceptions of a store’s atmosphere, whether or not they visit a store, how much time they spend in it, and how much money they spend there.
It is possible to categorise the elements of in-store atmosphere into physical features like design, lighting and layout, ambient features like music and smell and social features like type of clientele, staff availability and friendliness.
Store environment factors, particularly physical design perceptions, significantly affect consumer’s perceptions of merchandise price, merchandise quality and employee service quality. A pleasing in-store atmosphere encourages customers to visit more often, stay longer and buy more. Although it also improves customers’ perceptions of the quality of the merchandise in the store, customers tend to associate it with good value.
From a branding perspective, an appealing in-store atmosphere offers great potential in terms of creating a unique store image and establishing a differentiation to other stores selling similar products.
Your Retail Brand
The outcome of a retail branding exercise is the reality of the brand, as it exists in the minds of customers. Customers perception of a brand has three dimensions:
emotional (how customers feel about the brand ) rational (how customers think about the brand ) and behavioural (how customers respond to the brand marketing )
Customers usually carry a vivid store image in their minds - and store image is an information-rich input into the consumer decision-making process. Store branding and image has a direct and positive relationship with purchase intention and, it can be stated that consumers do derive some perceived amount of "added value” from store image.
Your Exterior Showroom / Store Branding
Every building containing a showroom/shop is different - and has different restrictions/options regarding identification signage (branding). However, it is critical to the success of your brand, to convey a clear non-confusing image of who/what the store is and what your brand is.
This is not always simple for a store in a rented location, as a major investment for modifications, may not be viable - or even possible ( landlord and/or council restrictions may apply ).
However, achieving the appropriate identity is critical to establish the required brand recognition, and hopefully to become a “household” name and thereby, also becoming a trusted name as a retailer of quality products
Lighting and Atmosphere
The atmosphere of the store must be controlled, with light on the display groupings and shadow in between the display - when retailing larger items such as furniture - whereas, smaller items such as jewellery must have local individual lighting to illuminate the product in an intimate manner and create sparkle. Naturally each store’s requirements are different, depending on mood desired and product to sell.
Specialty lighting can also be implemented in conjunction with overall indirect ambient light for general illumination.
However, It needs to be carefully controlled, as research has shown that excessive brightness can distract customers and conversely - no one feels comfortable in a bland, dimly-lit environment.
For multi-premises brands, as stores are generally different shapes and sizes, it’s important to keep the display systems and the lighting systems modular - able to adapt to any environment - and to always retain a constant feel and illumination of the core brand identity.
A Final Thought
Not everyone is ready to buy on the first visit - they could be exploring their options, or just curious. If they are satisfied with their exploration experience - and feel comfortable in the store - they are more likely to return on another occasion and buy.
Working with Designfocus Resource
Our commitment to our clients ranges from discussing initial concepts and advising on the direction to proceed, understanding or even writing the required brief, to design & documentation, as well as council and/or centre management approvals, obtaining quotations for construction and project construction management.
Robyn & Peter Rektor