Having attractive store fixtures, clean aluminum glass showcases and counters and unique plastic mannequins is a good start. Having the exact perfect size cabinets and shelving for a symmetrical display of merchandise is critical to presenting a sense of balance and 'fairness' in the store.
Futurists often predict the worst things for retail stores in Canada. They get gloomy over the growth of online shopping websites and forecast the continued to erosion of all but the strongest and most unique all bricks and mortar operations. While there are some lessons to be learned for sure, the truth is that many people like to get out of their homes and go shopping with friends, and its hard to imagine that changing anytime soon.
The butcher shop with the park-bench along the wall does four times more business that the larger, more modern and better illuminated meat shop across the street because the bench brings the neigbourhood into the store.
Shopping malls, market squares and distinct neighbourhood 'main streets' will always be busy because people have to get out of their houses and go see each other now and then. So if we understand that, then it becomes more a question of 'how to bring those curious would-be consumers into the store?'
Retail concepts that are well executed with bold themes that say something about society are by far the best approach. The shopping excursion should be memorable and feel special for all participants even those 'just visiting' and not buying any items today will be helpful to spread the word tomorrow.
The ceilings, floors windows and walls of the space should be used, not necessarily for sales displays but to make a homogeneous themed space. Clothing racks on the walls can come alive with the human form by dressing the hanging half mannequin forms seen below.
By painting the ceilings and floors and affecting a curious theme on the walls and in the windows of the shop, the 'retail concept' can communicate what the shopper COULD become, and the transformation that is possible in them personally... Imagine if the store could plant the idea that shoppers MUST have the merchandise to be acceptable next season, next semester or next weekend? Stores like that become more like portals to different possibilities and champions to the values that affect their lifestyle choices.
Case in point - below is a shiny black plastic mannequin that is central to the window display at Got Style in the Distillery District of Toronto. This retail store has many return customers who come to the shop for ideas as well as clothing items. The mannequins in the shop reflect what they COULD become next season, not just what they would look like if they buy the fashion merchandise on display. If the 'possibility' is appealing then more shoppers will enter the venue and sales will rise.
High quality store fixtures are an important part of the overall retail concept messaging; good furnishings and decor bring credibility and structure to design.and good fixtures that perfectly match the overall theme can dramatically increase sales and yield more repeat business.