How to design a retail shop? Biophilic design may be just what you need.

How to design a retail shop? Biophilic design may be just what you need.

How to design a retail shop? Biophilic design may be just what you need
The customer experience is everything in retail. A customer should be immersed in a shopping experience that encourages return visits and reflects your brand from the moment they walk through your store's front door. Retail is rapidly expanding, and a focus on the customer experience is critical to success. As a result, many store owners are turning to various forms of experience design to meet this demand. So, how to design a retail shop? Biophilic design is one of the most effective ways to improve the customer experience, and in this article, we'll discuss a few of the numerous ways retail stores can use biophilic concepts to wow their customers.


Biophilic design, loosely translated, means "design inspired by the love of life in nature." This design aims to incorporate natural elements into man-made settings. The concept is based on the natural human desire to be in close contact with nature. This is because, it's been shown that those of us who spend more time outside are happier, healthier, and less likely to experience stress or fatigue. Biophilic designers strive to bring nature's feel and benefits indoors.

What are the benefits of using Biophilic design in the retail space?

Combining experience design and biophilic design to create the best possible environment for shoppers is a particularly interesting and effective approach that is becoming more common. Here is why.

Boost positive emotions and moods

Let's take the case of lighting. It's been shown that customers who are exposed to daylight experience more positive emotions. Natural light has numerous health benefits for humans, including improved mood, better sleep, metabolic regulation, and many others. These advantages are frequently discussed in architecture and design in relation to office spaces, but they also apply to retail. Indeed, the effects of daylighting in retail spaces are astounding. Lighting is a retail design hero, capable of influencing sales and improving customer mood in one fell swoop.

Apple retail locations, for example, are well known for their abundance of natural light and use of biophilic design elements such as greenery.

Biophilic design in retail


Positive emotions are one of the most powerful effects of daylight. Many studies have shown that being exposed to natural light increases serotonin levels in the brain, which improves mood. The more natural light a person is exposed to, the happier they will be in general. This is the basis of the study that shows the benefits of light in office workers, and the implications for retail are similar.

Customers who are exposed to natural light while in a retail environment will have a more positive experience than those who are not. This effect can be heightened by incorporating other biophilic elements, such as wood, which has been shown to reduce stress and increase social interactions. Customers will feel more empowered to relax, take their time, and shop around when multiple biophilic elements are working together.

Improve your pricing and sales strategy

The use of daylight and other biophilic elements accomplishes far more than just eliciting positive emotions. Biophilia, believe it or not, can actually increase the perceived value of a product and increase overall sales. When customers shop in a space that incorporates biophilic elements, the positive emotions they feel translate into receptiveness. Customers associate visually appealing biophilic spaces with higher quality and, as a result, higher product value.

Several studies on the effects of natural elements on retail customers have documented this phenomenon. According to one study, skylights in retail spaces increased sales by 40%

Biophilic elements can also promote comfort and calm, which are becoming increasingly important in the customer experience. Softer, more comfortable materials and spaces help to balance and complement these types of aesthetics, which are especially important in more industrial or minimalist spaces. Natural wood, for example, adds comfort and sophistication while also providing all of the natural benefits that biophilic design provides.

Better indoor environments for shoppers and employees

Another reason why so many retailers are incorporating more nature into their stores is because of the biophilic benefits. Biophilic design improves indoor environmental quality (IEQ), making both employees and customers healthier. Multiple biophilic elements should be present to improve IEQ holistically. Greenery helps to purify the air; daylight helps to maintain and satisfy human circadian rhythms; and materials such as wood help to reduce stress. These various elements, when combined, maximize wellness, making the indoors a pleasant place to be.

Improving IEQ is an important step in perfecting a retail space. It's a worthy goal to reduce the amount of contaminants and pollutants your customers are exposed to. First, the introduction of plant life in conjunction with air filtration will ensure that the air is clean. Consider installing a garden, or simply scattering greenery throughout your store. Many stores choose plants with proven purifying properties, such as Boston Ferns and palm trees.

Second, selecting materials with low concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will reduce toxins even further. Paints, wood preservatives, cleaners, carpets, and other building materials frequently contain VOCs. Because hundreds or even thousands of people will come into contact with the space every day, a retail space should have the fewest VOCs possible. Green building materials, such as reclaimed wood, and low-VOC materials, will help you manage the presence of these compounds in your store.

How to design a retail shop? Biophilic design may be just what you need.

How to implement biophilic design in your retail space?

It's no surprise that retailers are jumping on board and fully embracing this design. After all, happy customers equal happy retailers! Here are some ideas for using nature to inspire your store.

Add greens as much as possible

Is that a real tree inside the store? "Certainly," say proponents of biophilic design. There are, of course, less elaborate and less expensive ways to add greenery to indoor environments. Vertical garden formats are very popular in many areas of interior design because they provide a variety of design options. Herbs, grasses, and flowers in various arrangements can be used to personalize any wall. Hanging baskets, indoor flowerbeds, planters, mini greenhouses, and a Zen garden are just a few design ideas that can improve the appearance of your retail space.

Natural lighting

Allow the sun to shine in your store. Of course, if you decide to add some greenery to your store, lighting is crucial. Special LED lights can replace sunlight, allowing plants to grow and thrive even in the absence of sunlight.

Plants, however, are not the only species that crave sunlight. Customers require and prefer sunlight as well. In this case, the same rule applies: take a cue from nature! Customers value natural light because it makes products look better and more appealing, while also creating a cozy atmosphere and improving the overall shopping experience. Cool neon lighting does nothing to improve the appearance of produce, clothing, or technological devices. As a result, you should always use warm tones and partially indirect lighting. This makes customers and plants feel more at ease in your store.

Add curves to the space

Nature contains a limited number of distinct, geometric shapes. This is the domain of irregular, asymmetrical, and organic shapes and patterns. Straight lines and square corners, on the other hand, will never disappear from store design because they are efficient and make sense. Having said that, curved, organic shapes and forms are becoming more popular. The same rule applies to seating, shelving, and lamps: so there's room to be more daring! Spice things up in your store by adding some bold, curved shapes.

Splash with color

For many years, the neutral color palette of classic minimalist Scandinavian design has made the latter a top trend. However, bright colors are making a comeback. Natural and warm color palettes are brightening up retail spaces. 

Colors, on the other hand, should be used sparingly and deliberately to achieve the desired effect. Colors like moss green, crimson, and sunshine yellow brighten up your merchandise and allow your brand to shine.

Prefer the natural option when possible

Faux wood versus real wood? Artificial vs. natural plants? Biophilic designers will always opt for the latter rather than the former. The design should not only appear natural, but it should also be natural. As a result, this design philosophy fits seamlessly into the sustainability mindset that has recently sparked public interest. By the way, your customers are more aware of the problem as well. So maintain your authenticity and be open and honest with your customers!

How to design a retail shop? Biophilic design may be just what you need.

Final note

Retail environments are changing. Retailers require reliable methods of satisfying their audience in order to create the best possible customer experience. Biophilic design is a solution that can provide an unforgettable experience while also adapting to the changing needs of today's customer. Making biophilic design changes from the ground up to create a healthy, human-first environment will result in happier customers visiting your store for longer periods of time, resulting in increased sales.

Find ways to create biophilic spaces here at Forest Homes.

Additional sources: TerraMai, IXtenso

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