Whether in fashion, design or art, the answer is clear: less is more.
The era of the “maximalist” is definitely over, and minimalism seems like it could be here to stay. Let your customers and clients know you’re in touch with the latest retail design trends by scaling down your displays and store layouts. Crisp, clean lines show your shoppers that your products can stand on their own—savvy shoppers don’t need an in-your-face display to distract and coerce them into making that purchase. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite minimalist retail displays and layouts.
Canvas, New York, NY—This home goods and furniture store has always had a minimalist brand design, and their company is all about creating sustainable products that are environmentally friendly. They’ve done a phenomenal job of keeping their layout “on brand” by essentially creating a home that customers can walk through and pick products from. Dishes are neatly stacked in a simple wooden bookshelf, there are hardly any loud, bright red retail signs and even the exterior sign is clean: a black awning with the store’s name typed in all lowercase letters. Only a small fraction of the stock is placed on the shelves and furniture, giving the store a “lived-in” feel that immediately relaxes customers and makes them want to recreate the relaxed environment in their own homes.
Rick Owens Stores—His clothing is known for its primary colors, palatial draping and sleek lines: and his stores are a perfect reflection of his designs. With lots of negative space for customers to walk around in, extra-high ceilings and absolutely no signage inside the store, the designer is truly the master of minimalism. His bags are placed on pillars that look almost like limestone (remember in minimalist design, the closer to nature, the better), and his clothing is well-spaced on its racks, never, ever, overcrowded and jammed together. Rick Owens stores also remind retailers just how crucial lighting is: instead of harsh fluorescent lighting that makes everyone feel like they’re still at the office, Owens lines three to four rows of much softer lighting across the ceiling. He’s so committed to his minimalist aesthetic, that he totally forgoes rugs or carpeting in his stores. You may not want to go quite that far in your own shop, but no one can fault him for sticking to his aesthetic.
Aesop Stores—This beauty retail giant has perfectly combined its minimalistic product design with a sleek, minimalist brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Designed as kind of an oasis from the city life, the brand is so dedicated to its aesthetic that you can even read up on the thought process behind their minimalist decor, which has taken inspiration from Japanese calligraphy and the Thomas Mann quote, “Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject.” Their products themselves are instantly recognized for their translucent brown bottles with a ring of simple, darker lines connecting around the bottle. Shop attendants constantly make sure that every bottle is properly aligned, so there are no inconsistencies in the rows of the products after a sale is made. Aesop paints its interiors in soft, flattering eggshell shades that aren’t starkly white, and they’re a huge fan of the ever-popular exposed brick, which lends a laid-back feel to the luxury store.
Even if minimalist decor can sometimes actually cost more than wild and out there designs, don’t be surprised if you see a major difference in your profits, making the investment worth it. Remember, when they’re shopping, customers are looking for a break and refuge from their days. Give them an experience they’ll remember—and one that makes them want to return to your store again and again.