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3. Alert your shoppers to certain products. Bright colors like yellow and red grab customers' attention, stopping them in their tracks before they breeze by a product display. That's because yellow is the color first perceived by the retina, according to Linda Cahan, a West Linn, Ore., retail design consultant. Red, of course, has long been associated with stopping, whether it's on a traffic signal, emergency vehicle or store design.

"People buy more when there is red," Cahan says.

But use these bold colors sparingly. Too much red will agitate shoppers, Bender warns. She recommends making bright accent colors no more than 20 percent of your store's overall color scheme.

Wet Nose's periwinkle logo color is brought out in the store design, from the color of the ceiling to decorative ribbons around products.

Photo by Wet Nose

4. Build brand recognition. Colors can increase brand recognition by 80 percent, according to a 2007 study by psychology and management researchers at the University of Loyola, Maryland. Finding a way to work your logo colors into your retail design will help customers associate those colors with your company. But think beyond just the paint on your walls.

At Wet Nose, a pet shop with two locations in the Chicago area, owner Sheila Spitza draws inspiration from the shop's periwinkle logo. The ceiling is painted a rich purple, while merchandise tags, business cards and tissue paper match the lighter purple of the logo. A

customer once told Spitza she spotted a little girl at a party wearing the shop's decorative periwinkle ribbons around her pigtails.

"I wanted to use a color that was unique and could be identified with Wet Nose," Spitza says.

5. Highlight rather than overpower your product. Be careful not to drown out what you're selling by immersing it in too much color. "In retail, you want the merchandise to pop and not the surroundings," Bender says.

If you are selling lingerie, for example, bold colors could work against the delicate quality of the product. Similarly, if you are selling electronics, too many bright, flashy colors can detract from your product's clean sleek look. Because Quiltique sells particularly busy and bright patterns, Albaugh limited the store's main color scheme to celery green and brick red to avoid overpowering the quilts on her walls. She worked other colors in more subtly by using found objects like a distressed turquoise bookcase and yellow antique gate as display pieces—all in keeping with her antique garden theme.

"You don't want to have explosive color [that] is irritating to the customer," she says. "We incorporate bright cheerful colors…It brings so much life to the store."

 

 

 

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