In today’s image-conscious world, shops are judged not only by their products but also by their appearance.
In fact, in many cases where a market is crowded with many retail units offering similar products, the shop’s image may be the only thing that gives it the competitive edge.
Thus great importance is placed on a shop’s design and interior decor, as these ultimately affect the ambience and overall impression of the store and the brand.
As one of the largest components of an interior decor scheme, the flooring plays a very important role.
While it may be considered as simply ‘background’ for more bold features, it actually covers one of the largest surface areas and therefore has a subtle but all-encompassing effect on the overall look and feel of the place.
A shop which has been expensively decorated in vintage furniture and fabrics may be cheapened by a vinyl or rubber floor and should ideally have something like Solid Hardwood or a laminate wood-look-alike to complete the effect.
Similarly, a store which is trying to present a funky, modern, edgy ambience would benefit more from the industrial chic of rubber than the domestic cosiness of carpet.
Good for Business
Furthermore, not only must the flooring look good, blend with the rest of the interior decor and help promote the image the store is trying to present, but the flooring can have a direct effect on sales as well.
Research has shown that the look and feel of a store can actually influence the amount of time a customer spends browsing and even the urge to purchase. And colour, of course, has been proven to directly affect out moods.
So, especially when it comes to Flooring Colour, which will have a big impact due to the sheer surface area it covers, choose wisely.
Red, for example, is a very stimulating colour, causing lots of signals to be sent to the brain but it may be too distracting if used in large amounts.
Orange can be warm and inviting, inviting relaxation, or actually directly irritating, even causing headaches, depending on the shade used.
Blues and greens tend to be soothing, calming colours although depending on the shade, they can also make a place seem cold and clinical.
Another aspect of appearance is cleanliness, as this is something customers will notice straight away. It is no use having fantastic decor if the only impression the customer leaves with is of a dirty, unkempt shop.
Given the sheer volume of foot traffic that passes through most retail outlets, it is generally a good idea to choose a floor that can deal with heavy wear and is also relatively resistant to staining and soiling.
Naturally, an exclusive diamond boutique may have so few visitors as to be able to furnish it with plush carpet, but for your average high street shop, flooring that is wear-resistant and stain-resistant is still the best choice.
It is also important for the flooring to be easy to clean, in order to minimise the work needed to restore the shop to looking its best at the end of the day.
For this reason, flooring materials like laminate and Vinyl tend to be very popular choices for shops.
Lastly, don’t forget health and safety requirements as this can lead to expensive lawsuits if a customer had a serious accident due to slipping on the shop floor.
In fact, studies show that 50 per cent of public accidents are caused by slipping and tripping, so ensuring that you have a anti-slip floor will go a long way to avoiding such accidents.
This particularly applies to shop entrances and especially during the frequent wet weather. A good solution is the use of entrance mats which can help to prevent dirt and water being tracked in, minimising cleaning and preventing accidents.
Another thing to think about is the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), making sure that your premises include easy transition between the exterior and interior environment.
The profitability and success of a retail unit can be significantly affected by the look and feel of the store and how this in turn affects the mood of customers.
Make sure that you have done your best to ensure an inviting atmosphere by choosing that is safe, clean and comfortable.