The Effects of Raised Ceilings in Retail Stores

Posted by Robert Walthall on Wed, Sep, 10, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

the effect of raised ceilings in retail storesDid you know a pretty big part of the retail design for your store could be in your ceilings -- raising them, that is. How so?

Higher ceilings are good for business

Ceiling height affects the way people think in a positive way. What does this have to do with your thoughts and plans for retail design in your store? Take a look:

  • High ceilings can make your customers feel less confined

While average ceilings in homes are about eight feet high, retail ceilings can be significantly higher – at least ten feet, if not more. Many are as much as a story and a half high.

That's because ceilings invoke feelings of confinement, while higher ceilings invoke feelings of freedom. This has good and bad effects depending on what you're doing, of course, but specifically for retail and consumption, the higher the ceilings, in general, the more expansive consumers feel and the more likely they are to buy.

  • High ceilings will help your customers "open up" to the experience while they shop

High ceilings induce a feeling of freedom and openness, and an impulse to "let go." What does that have to do with retail design? Simply put, the focus shifts from specific to general. While customers may come into your store with a list and specific items to buy, their focus may very well shift to the more general, such as a propensity to browse instead. When customers can browse through every item in your store instead of just the few they have on their list, they are more likely to impulse buy -- and that's good for profit.

  • High ceilings can make your customers more comfortable

There's another reason to go for a feeling of expansiveness in your store with higher ceilings. When customers feel less confined, they are likely to be more comfortable. Even though claustrophobia is a relatively rare condition, you don't want to be boxing your customers into a tiny space if you can help it. They may not want to spend time shopping in your store and may even flee if they can't bear small spaces.

When you "open up your space" by raising your ceilings, you are giving your customers room to "breathe," almost literally. When comfortable, they'll want to stay longer, and when they want to stay longer, they'll be much more likely to buy.

  • They give you more room to go vertical

Well-stocked shelves can give your store a look of being well-stocked without overcrowding, which also makes your customers feel more comfortable. When you have enough in stock, customers know that they can buy what they need to without worry.

  • They can help you keep profits

Finally, higher ceilings give you the ability to use security cameras effectively. You can place cameras for wider shots with smaller lenses, so you can cover larger areas with fewer cameras.

Wide-shot security cameras can help prevent loss from shoplifters, from unreported damage to merchandise, and from fraudulent insurance claims like false slip-and-fall accidents or workman's compensation claims. And because higher ceilings mean cameras can also be placed unobtrusively, customers need not have the uncomfortable feeling of being watched.

When you think about retail design, don't forget to focus for a moment on ceiling height in your store. The higher your ceilings are, in general, the better for your customers and your own profitability. High ceilings make your customers more comfortable; they will also make customers feel more expansive and less focused, so that they will stay, shop, and be more likely to buy. You can also easily improve security camera coverage with high ceilings, deterring theft and other crime.

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Topics: retail design