Strategy for Creating an Environmental Retail Design

Ironically, the retail industry competes with itself for customers. For example, customers’ online shopping experience is very different from their brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Online shopping is beyond convenient; with the help of cookies and other digital marketing tactics, a customer’s user experience is tailored uniquely to them. Shoppers can also see how much they are spending, and whether or not they are on- or over-budget. It’s perhaps for all of this reason that nearly 50% of consumers shop more online than in-store.

However, retailers recognize the opportunity at-hand when a customer does walk into their store. According to Forbes, a First Insight Report found that 71% of surveyed shoppers spent significantly more money – at least $50 more – when they shopped in-person.

Once a customer is in the store, how do you convince them to buy and buy more than they originally planned? The answer, according to experts, is to not only create a delightful shopping experience but an experience they want to return to again and again. In other words, environmental retail design. 

What is environmental retail design, exactly? Our team at Identity Group has put together a brief explanation, as well as a few recommendations to craft a retail design strategy that works for your business.

Identity Group’s retail store design team prepares concepts that reflect your brand and wow your customers. Contact us today about your custom signage needs.

What Is Environmental Retail Design?

Quinine, a mutli-national strategic design consulting group, approaches retail environment design as a way to “embed the brand promise deep into the store experience by understanding how people behave and interact with the physical space.” By focusing on ways to engage customers’ senses (sight, touch, hearing, smell), Quinine strengthens customers’ connection with the retail brand – even if it is subconscious.

An article published by global architecture and design firm Gensler claims that retail design has pivoted to offer customers “avenues for escapism … and to reinvent themselves.” Such retail environments are tapping into customers’ desire for one-of-a-kind, memorable, and engaging stores, stores that are “dopamine-fueled.”

Both Quinine and Gensler’s explorations of environmental retail design are within striking distance of this complex, evolving concept that many brands are still working to flesh-out for themselves.

Craft An Environmental Retail Design Strategy of Your Own

How can you make the concept of environmental retail design more tangible? But, more than that, how can you make your store’s retail design successful with your customers?

While there is much to consider, begin by assessing the following factors, and how they might translate to experiences that reflect your brand and engage your customers. 

Visual Décor

Your visual décor is one of the best investments you can make in your environmental retail design. Custom displays, 3D signage, wayfinding, and branded décor are but a few examples of stunning visual elements that leave an impression in the mind of your customers. Here are more examples for inspiration!


What do you want to achieve through your lighting design? Would your store benefit from low or soft lighting as opposed to fluorescent lighting? Do certain light fixtures capture your style or aesthetic? Should certain products be spotlighted?


Have you considered the tone a playlist can set for your customers? Unlike online shopping, a brick-and-mortar store’s audio design can significantly enhance your brand’s physical environment. Want to create a space that is welcoming and warm? Upbeat and hip? Soothing and spiritual? You can do it all – and appeal to your customer’s subconscious – with audio.

Industry Insights

Another sure fire way to be successful with your environmental retail design? Utilizing the professionals in this industry, along with all their insights on current trends and tried-and-true marketing tactics.

Our design & signage experts at Identity Group would love to partner with you as you evaluate your retail environment. We will not only strive to bring your vision to life but also to offer you the best value! Contact us today.