Retail design is a creative and commercial discipline that combines several different areas of expertise together in the design and construction of retail space. Retail design is primarily a specialized practice of architecture and interior design, however it also incorporates elements of industrial design, graphic design, ergonomics, and advertising.
Retail design is a very specialized discipline due to the heavy demands placed on retail space. Because the primary purpose of retail space is to stock and sell product to consumers, the spaces must be designed in a way that promotes an enjoyable and hassle-free shopping experience for the consumer. For example, research shows that male and female shoppers who were accidentally touched from behind by other shoppers left a store earlier than people who had not been touched and evaluated brands more negatively. The space must be specially-tailored to the kind of product being sold in that space; for example, a bookstore requires many large shelving units to accommodate small products that can be arranged categorically while a clothing store requires more open space to fully display product.
Retail spaces, especially when they form part of a retail chain, must also be designed to draw people into the space to shop. The storefront must act as a billboard for the store, often employing large display windows that allow shoppers to see into the space and the product inside. In the case of a retail chain, the individual spaces must be unified in their design.