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Going online to offline? Here’s 5 ways in which design can create an impactful brick-n-mortar store


Many innovative and disruptive brands are born from the online platform, which offers a comfortable incubation period with perks like less overheads and financial commitment. Eventually consumer brands grow and find the need to go offline, stepping into the labyrinth of the brick-n-mortar world. So whether its a shop-in-shop, pop-up or exclusive store, the space resonates the brand philosophy. But designing beautiful spaces is not enough! Your retail environment must create an immersive experience that attract customers, engage with shoppers and keep them coming back for more. Your store must provide an experience all that they can never get from a screen. 

Here’s 5 ways in which retail design can create an impactful brick-n-mortar store for online brands:

  • Complement Online: Not many enter a store without an intent to buy a product, especially with brands that are predominantly noticed online earlier. While these brands come with an advantage of being noticed digitally, there is more emphasise to create a physical space that is meaningful to the customer actually walking in. Create continual connection and complement the online presence of the brand, while playing to offline strengths like touch and feel, multi-sensorial experiences, flexible like their e-commerce websites and ability to evolve like online. 

Offering an indulgent & immersive experience for brides to be at Neeru's 1000 signature store. Design by FRDC. Images: Prasad Photography
  • Experiences: There are always some stores we love to visit. It could be their fabulously crafted products, the feel-good factor of the space or just how good it smells (yes, like those tantalising handcrafted bath products’ store). Yes, we love discounts too! There is a sense of joy of shopping in these spaces. So creating experiences is vital, which could be sensorial such as quirky styling/ thematic displays that inspire, great music and a lounge area or cafe (which makes them dwell longer). Bring in tenets of online shopping such ‘Best Selling Products Of the Month’ or a wall for ‘Trending Now’ products. 

Clean & minimalistic yet deeply rooted in the brand’s heritage and craftsmanship, Ruosh's store design instantly strikes a chord with the connoisseurs of handcrafted products
  • Tell your story: As humans, we love stories. We love to hear the backstory of how the brand was born and the power of one good idea. It often piques the interest of a shopper browsing to actually pick up your product, and probably turn them into a brand loyalist. So allow your store to ‘tell your story’ through history walls, video screens, in-store communication and also through your store staff. 
  • Make it local: There is something intriguing about how Starbucks store celebrates the culture of its locale and its neighbourhood through its stores. This instantly strikes a chord with the customers, where the modern setting is fused with elements that are culturally relevant. So, while the overall theme echoes the brand’s online presence, specks of culture and history can help connect with audience on another level. Extend this offering through events and gatherings at the store level.  

Arttdinox Cinnamon, Bangalore, where the western kitchen concept store built in a heritage site reminisces the old world charm of the city. Design & Images: FRDC
  • Be Empathetic: Anticipating what your customers need is vital. This approach is very important to brands in the e-commerce space moving to the physical retail world. So, think human and understand customer behaviour, and then create store environments that are empathetic towards customers.