After a German court ruled last month that the computer retail giant Apple Inc. could file a trademark on their retail store design, a new precedent was set in the world of retail construction. It’s no secret that a large portion of brand identity comes from the customer’s experience in the physical space of the retail store, but Apple has taken their iconic layout and in-store aesthetic to heart, claiming that the store design is part of their visual branding and can’t be copied by their competition.
What Apple has always understood about its customer base is that people are loyal to brands that capture a certain feeling and aesthetic. Consumers learn to associate themselves with the look and feel of the brand’s overall simplistic style and unique individuality. If other stores were able to look like an Apple Store, the visual effect of walking into one of Apple’s retail outlets would have less of a unique impact.
Let’s take Apple’s lead here and consider your retail store design. It won’t be anything like the Mac giant but it should certainly be signature to you and your brand. Your consumers don’t just bond with a logo and color scheme in your catalogs. They expect that same consistent aesthetic whenever they interact with your brand, whether that be in the store, on the web, opening a package, or on the phone with a representative. Apple’s sleek grey surfaces and straight lines mimic their laptop computers and their consumers connect the two in mind. When you see the store, you think of the computer. When you use the computer, you imagine the store. They are synonymous.
In the world of retail store design, the goal is to make your store layout and customization reflect the brand of your merchandise and consumer base. From the placement of new merchandise in the front to the sleek shaping of colorful kiosks that promote a specific product, the brand identity you form in the retail store will translate into future sales and consumer loyalty.