Top tips for designing your shopfront

At Beyond, our Retail Design Management team are experts in retail design and delivery. They work with over 40 of the UK’s leading shopping centres to help deliver best in class tenant fit-outs. They assist with and approve tenant design concepts to drive the highest design standards in malls across the UK and to ensure the best version of the brand and shopfront is achieved.

The process assists tenants with the design issues they face in mall situations and provides the landlord with the reassurance that the quality of fit-out meets and exceeds the standards set by the centre.

Here are some of their suggestions for the biggest do’s (and a few don’ts) for when designing your shopfront.

Missguided full store front from side angle

Three-dimensional shopfront

When designing a storefront, it’s incredibly important to bear in mind the direction of foot-fall. Customers rarely approach a store straight on, often the first thing they’ll see are the side walls, so utilise this space with eye-catching finishes.

There are many interesting ways of doing this, that can make you stand out from the crowd and invite passers-by into your store. Some of our suggestions include using digital displays or creative light features. Utilising the space by installing full-height lifestyle graphics or visual merchandising in a way that focus the eye at your displays. Even features like interesting textural treatments or showing off your brand messaging with secondary signage can give customers an insight into your brand and increase the chance of them venturing inside.

Claire's store front with side view graphics reading ear piercing
side view of missguided wall graphics
Side view of Bubbleology store front with illuminated sign
side angle of superdry stopfront with illuminated signage

Invite the customer in

Find ways to draw your customers in. By creating entrance features such as a portal style entrance in your brand colour or if you’re able to, create a pop out or angle the shopfront to visually pull the customer in. Be careful not to create visual barriers that block the customers view into the store as this can discourage passer-by from venturing in.

Chisholm Hunter glass curved store front to draw customers in

It’s all in the detail

It is amazing how we subconsciously absorb all sorts of information and build an opinion on a brand or whether we’ve had a positive or negative experience without always knowing why. That’s why it’s vital to consider the small details when designing a storefront. The small but unsightly or carelessly thought out details may not seem like a big deal, but they can massively work against you as customers subconsciously take them all in.

Rather than leaving fixing plates bolted visibly to the ceiling, ensure that suspended signage has concealed fixings. This gives a clean and considered finish, rather than the appearance of an overlooked feature.

When it comes to shutters, a needed but unsightly feature, make sure they’re not letting your storefront down. Be sure to recess your shutter guides to conceal them, additionally, the guides could be sprayed to blend in with the surrounding finishes. Exposed shutters or having them so they don’t fully push up into the bulkhead can drag down the overall quality of a storefront and can easily be avoided.

Missguided store front illuminated logo and neat finishings
Tesla store front with illuminated logo and neat finishings

After dark

Many shopping centres have late opening hours serving their leisure offers, or in the winter months when it gets dark earlier there is great opportunity to jazz up your store by considering what it looks like after dark. Consider fun ways to show off your brand through lighting installations or colourful graphics on your roller shutters when closed. Remember online retail is open 24 hours a day.

Store front of Holy Moly with illuminated signs

Simply delight and be playful

Before a customer even steps into your store they get to know your brand through how you choose to present yourself from the outside. The approach is all part of the customer journey and experience. Don’t be afraid to be fun and playful. Aim to delight and inspire, showing your brand in its best light.

Missguided store front straight on with illuminated sign and digital screens

Our team is used to handling multiple approvals simultaneously and have worked with many of the tenants that you would typically see in shopping centres. Each of our Retail Design Managers has an interior design background and the ability to provide visuals and sketches to help set out the vision for the tenant demonstrating how their design could be enhanced to suit the shopping centre environment they are going into. Working with tenants and on behalf of our shopping centre clients, it’s win-win all around.