Time & Tide discusses retail design ideas and inspiration

When it comes to shopping – particularly interior shopping – a visit to the store can prove almost as much fun as taking a product home. A multi-level experience that goes beyond browsing, but actually encourages visitors to spend time, relax and enjoy their surroundings is key to increasing footfall, revenue and surviving the harsh high street times.

Time & Tide, luxury interior retailers, are sharing the inspiration behind the decor for their seven stores, located in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Peebles and North Berwick. Their latest Glasgow store, launched in November 2017, marked a significant expansion for the independent retailer – boasting three times more space than their previous stores.

There are a huge number of approaches to designing a retail store. You must consider the brand’s story and create an immersive and memorable experience for the shopper. Similarly, head-turning window displays and minor details can really prove the difference in encouraging shoppers to enter the store, or walk straight past.

Entering the threshold

From the moment the visitor enters the store, your interior must work to encourage them to browse and, hopefully, purchase. Smart decisions can make a significant difference in whether you do make that all-important sale.

Time & Tide stores focus on the natural beauty of the building, stripping back the interior to expose key features that wow visitors on arrival. Likewise, the natural interior allows the products to do the talking in an environment that demonstrates their versatiliy, and ability to blend into the home.

Ewan Douglas, the owner of Time & Tide, said: “Our St George’s Cross store provided us with the opportunity to expose 13 columns supporting the building above, and open up all of the 12 front windows. We removed an existing till point, various plinths and maximised ceiling height. This facilitated the creation of flowing walkways around open room sets. The room sets have quality ceiling spotlighting but also chandeliers and table lamps which are part of the product range.”

The threshold is where your customers make the transition from the outside world, and is their first experience of what you have to offer. If your product range is not showcased well, the lighting is not coordinated with the features, displays and colours – it’s likely they will turn away.

Displays and features

With all of the time and effort into decorating your store and embracing the natural beauty of the building – the last thing you want is to see customers hurry past your key features. One way you can combat this and encourage visitors to slowly walk through the store is with eye-catching features and displays. Essentially, this is to provide customers with a break and can be achieved through seasonal displays etc.

Ewan said: “We created a planked wood feature wall which looks reclaimed and a feature plinth for an internal display above the centre floor staircase, which serves the office and stockroom. Both these features help give a wow factor and hopefully create a more memorable store for customers.

“We also found a terrazzo floor underneath two vinyl floors and, although, it only covers half the interior space and was in poor condition, we decided to repair and use. This gives a conservatory feel to one half of the store and we have product ranges that work well with that.”

The devil is in the detail

It’s a well-known fact that minor details can turn customers off, or encourage them to purchase. Details such as the way you display products, the lighting and even the space between products can all make the difference. Capture your customer’s attention with these details and grab their curiosity. The more time they spend in your store, the more likely they are to buy.

“Most walls in our stores are painted white, so wall product such as mirrors and wall art are clearly seen despite being on a space that is fully merchandised floor to ceiling. We also have three feature walls in dark grey for some interior glamour”, said Ewan.

“A shelved chair wall and ladder rug racks for the products complete the interior fixtures. Both of these were added six months after opening as a means to further highlight product categories that we had not maximised in the initial fit out.”

Create an experience

Above all, you must ensure your customers are comfortable and create a shopping experience that cannot be replicated online. You could even go so far as to incorporate a seating area to help those accompanied by someone who isn’t making a purchase and keep them in the store. However, keep the seats facing the merchandise to encourage the impulse shoppers.

Have a walk through your store yourself, with friends and family also, for honest feedback. Also, keep an eye on your shoppers and note the areas they appear attracted to, what they avoid and how they move around your store. Do that, and you’ll create a store designed with your customers in mind.