How Customer Demographics Impact Your Retail Design and Brand

Know how to deliver a customer experience that positively impacts your bottom line

You’re walking past a retail store window display. Something about it catches your eye. You stop, take it in, and the next thing you know, you’re walking into the store.

Funny thing – inside the store you see lots of people who you can relate to. Similar age, dressed kind of the same, and lots of you are wearing Blundstones.

How did a bunch of people who have things in common end up in the same store?

To get the right people to walk into your brick-and-mortar store, you need to remember how the customer experience impacts your bottom line. To sell products – you need customers. To get customers – you need to know what they want from their customer experience.

You cannot guess at this. You need to do your demographics research. You need to connect the dots between your products, the challenges your demographic has, and how you can help these people.

Your bottom line and success depend on making the right connections and delivering the right customer experience.

Demographics. In-store branding. Retail design. Connection.

What are Customer Demographics?

Customer demographics are the traits that tell you who your customers are.

  • Age: the bright busy Instagrammable graphic installation with multiple screens and emo music is very likely not going to draw in the 50+ customer wearing sensible shoes.
    Make sure you know the age range of your customers. Yes, you will have outliers, this is normal – but it’s important to know the general age category of your customers.
  • Gender: do your products appeal to everyone or do they appeal to one specific group of individuals.
    The colors, language, music, and your retail fixtures must appeal to your customer gender. Make sure you know who needs your products and why they may appeal to one gender more than another.
  • Income: there are some stores you walk past and instantly know you cannot afford the products being sold. Your branding and visual displays should subtly communicate the prices of your products.
    You need to know the general income or purchasing power of your customers and consider this in all aspects of your retail branding and marketing.
  • Education: in general, the education level of people determines the amount of research they do before making a purchase decision and the types of product features they want.
    Education level can also determine the questions people ask when they walk in your store and impact your in-store visuals and marketing.
  • Location: people living in a mountain town have different outdoor interests than people living in a seaside resort. Do your products appeal to people who aspire to downhill skiing or are they for people who grew up on skis?
    How does your location impact customer needs, wants, and challenges?

In addition to these general qualities about your customers, you need to understand customer psychographics. Psychographic information tells you why people buy and allow you to dig deeper into who your products are for, helping you develop clear product and brand points-of-view.

Psychographic details that can help you align your retail branding with customer experience:

  • Interests and hobbies
  • Values and beliefs
  • Personality qualities
  • Lifestyle habits

Why Demographics Matters for Retail Branding and Marketing

Retail branding is a relationship tool, allowing you to connect, engage, and resonate with potential and loyal customers. Retail branding is the use of logos, colors, packaging, visual merchandising, graphic installation, design elements, and language to differentiate your products and services from those of your competitors.

You cannot make this up. You cannot simply choose a window display because you like it. Your retail branding decisions must be informed by your customer demographic and psychographic information.

For example, the bright busy Instagrammable graphic installations with multiple screens and emo music might be cool and turn heads – but does it attract the people you’re selling to, or does it turn them off?

Your brand personality should mesh with your customer personality.

Stand outside your retail store – what personality do you see and feel? Who is walking into and walking past your store?

The New Era of Brick-and-Mortar Retail Design

Customer choice has never been so great and so overwhelming. This is a tremendous opportunity for you.

You can be the store and brand that makes it easy for customers to make a decision.

You can be the store and brand that takes the pain out of making buying decisions.

This is the new era of brick-and-mortar retail design – delivering a customer experience that seamlessly connects, supports, and fulfills customer challenges, needs, and wants.

A recent Retail TouchPoints survey of 150 retail executives reveals five key retail design trends:

  1. Remodeling and updating existing stores.
    How can your in-store branding be updated to appeal to your target demographic? How can you use visual installations to make it easier for customers to choose you?
  2. Rotating concepts, pop-ups, and immersive experiences.
    What pop-ups make sense during the holiday season? Should you host participatory events that let customers use your products before buying?
  3. Storytelling and merchandising are critical in store differentiation.
    Do your customers see themselves in your brand and marketing? How can you use retail branding to appeal to customer interests, opinions, and values?
  4. Omnichannel engagement and understanding how to use technology in-store.
    Do your customers want to buy online and pick-up in store? How can you use retail displays to convince these customers to browse and shop?
  5. Design teams are collaborating more with their marketing and IT colleagues.
    How can your colleagues help plan the strategic use of technology in graphic displays? Is there a gap between the in-store branding and the digital marketing?

As you think about your retail store and how it delivers a positive customer experience, keep in mind these statistics on what customers want from retail now:

  • 81% of Gen Z customers prefer to discover new products in stores
  • 83% of surveyed millennials expect brands to align with their values
  • 55% of surveyed consumers look forward to shopping in stores

(Statistic sources: 53 Data-Backed Retail Statistics Shaping Retail in 2022 and Beyond and 50 Omnichannel Statistics for Retailers: New for 2022)

The Right Retail Design for Your Demographic and Brand

Think of how quickly you decide if a retailer is for you. The window display catches your eye, you pause, walk-in and immediately decide to either walk around the store or to turn and walk out.

This all happens in seconds. First impressions matter.

You need to think of and see your retail branding and store design like the customers you sell to.

  • Color: bright or earth tones, loud or quiet, rainbows and unicorns or shades of grey – your color options are endless, but they must appeal to your customers.
    Target stores are associated with the color red. Apple stores primarily use white. Menchie’s uses bright pink and yellow. Home Depot uses orange in its branding.
    These colors weren’t chosen by chance. The branding and design teams behind these brands know that certain colors appeal more to men than women, some colors encourage impulse buying, other colors are calming, color can evoke feelings of quality or prestige, and color can even convince people that a product is a great deal.
  • Lighting: design and choice of lighting makes a statement and sets the ambience of your store.
    For example, Belong Gaming uses lighting to make customers feel like they are inside a game. The store is dark, with black walls, features over 80 computer and video gaming screens, and uses LED lighting to create a neon effect. Not only is this conducive to gaming but it mimics the drama and mood of competitive gaming.
    Think about how you can use lighting to feature products, welcome people into your store, or guide them through the store. What type of task lighting makes sense for changerooms? How do you want to use ambient lighting?
  • Music: there is an 86% correlation between our emotional response to a sound and our conscious desire to engage or avoid the associated experience in the future.
    The music you play and the volume you play it at must align with your retail brand. Grocery stores typically do not play hip hop, emo, or electronic music. Clothing stores targeted to younger shoppers do not play classical music.
    Music volume, tempo, and genre have a direct impact on customer experience. Observe how people react to your in-store music – do they slow down, start tapping their feet, or appear to be rushing? Do you want a noisy store environment that feels like its buzzing with activity?
  • Comfort: the more comfortable people are, the longer they stay, and the more opportunities you have to sell to them.
    For LEGO enthusiasts, comfort is seeing the latest LEGO kits on full display and having the chance to play, design, and create in a supportive and relaxing environment. LEGO knows that people love to see, touch, and experience their products before buying – creating destination stores that encourage and welcome play.
    What says comfort to your customers? Is it an in-store coffee shop, comfortable chairs for reading books before buying, or a photo-ready area ideal for TikTok or Instagram Reels?
  • Space: the positioning and proximity of your shelves and fixtures creates a distinct store experience.
    A major grocery store chain recently remodeled its stores – moving from small aisles with towering shelves of products to aisles wide enough for more than two grocery carts and shelving units no taller than six feet. Without changing its lighting or colors, the store felt brighter, fresher, and people spent more time lingering and browsing.
    Pay attention to how people move through your store. Do they avoid areas with one or more people? Do they rush from display to display? Do they slow down, stop, and really look at your products or do they scan and walk?
  • Convenience: it needs to be easy for people to touch and see your products.
    Think of an Apple store, people are constantly walking in, stopping in front of the latest iPhone, watch, or iPad – touching it, using it, and experiencing it. They might not even talk to a sales person – the product experience is all they need to connect them to the brand and leave a positive impression.

Choose retail fixtures that suit both your products and your customer demographic. Do you customers like to browse and try products without a sales person? Do your customers prefer a step-by-step demo of product features? What makes more sense – locked display cases that require a salesperson or open display boards/tables that make it easy for people to touch, manipulate, and experience your products?

Stand outside your store. Watch people walk by. Are the people you want to sell to stopping and walking in or do they keep on walking? Did you get your branding right? It’s a simple question – but not an easy one to answer.

Know your customer demographic. Know what they like and dislike. Align your retail brand and design with how your customers see themselves.

At Dynamic Resources, our unique combination of IN-HOUSE offerings makes us your single source provider for all your retail fixture and millwork installation needs. No one understands installation better than we do.

Contact us to learn how we handle any aspect of your business – from an individual installation to a global roll-out.