Don’t get up: What’s the first thing a customer sees if he or she turns right upon entering your optical showroom?

Go ahead, think about it. We’ll give you a minute. 

And as you think about this, we’ll point out why it’s important: When people enter your optical dispensary, research indicates 90% of them will turn to the right. And the first thing they see upon doing so will shape their initial impressions of your business. 

Whether you’re running an independent optical shop or you’ve opened an optical dispensary for your optometric practice, it’s important to utilize retail principles and leverage your brand when designing your space. Consideration of details such as your optical showroom layout can make an outsize difference in sales performance, in addition to how visitors think of your brand.

How to design an optical shop

How one even begins to design his or her optical dispensary can be a bit of a mystery. It’s understandable if you’re feeling that way. However, the layout and interior design of your retail space are crucial.

Optical showroom interior design

Luckily, the experts have figured out retail design principles for you. All you have to do is follow their advice when mapping out your optical dispensary to ensure you’re maximizing your space.

Overall, the interior design of your space should be closely tied to your brand. If you’re running a niche practice that should be fairly easy to ascertain. If not, the visual style of your brand may be a bit more subtle. 

However, everything should have a place and a purpose. And you should be able to tie it all back to the practice mission. Why does your optical showroom look the way it does? Because it’s a reflection of the value you offer.

Lighting your showroom

Lighting is a crucial component of your showroom. Too little light and your frames won’t pop in an appealing way. Too much light and customers will be turned off by the harsh glare of your displays.

It’s all in how you allow light and shadow to play off each other in order to highlight your products and guide people through your space. Use light to draw eyes to your frames. And in the negative space between products use shadow to tell customers to keep on moving to the next section.

Optical shop design layout

Remember that right turn we mentioned? Well, you can assume that’ll be the first move most people make. After that, the layout of your showroom should guide visitors: Use your space to circulate traffic in a way that will induce buying.

Start by breaking your showroom into zones: What’s the zone immediately to the right? 

Grocery stores often place their fresh produce to the right of the entrance so that customers associate their locations with freshness. You may not be there to buy organic lettuce, but it’s what you’ll think of next time the store comes up. What do you want first impressions of your showroom to be?

Organizing zones to control the circulation

Whether it takes ten short steps or twenty long minutes to walk through your showroom, you should use layout, lighting and signage to control the flow of traffic in your optical shop.

Between the speed at which first impressions form and increasing convenience with which customers can shop online, it’s essential to ensure your space gets to the point and gets to it fast. That means that your first zone, the section to the right, should utilize color, texture and lighting to effectively communicate your brand before guiding traffic on through a streamlined shopping experience. 

After making a right turn, shoppers will generally follow a counterclockwise route. Make it easier for them to browse by using signage and displays to guide them along this path.

Visual merchandising

The zones in your store should make use of visual merchandising principles to engage visitors as they browse your optical showroom. 

We've mentioned some principles of visual merchandising already. For example, use a healthy dose of light, contrasted against spaces without much glow, in order to highlight each display. And we've noted that signage is also important. It will communicate to shoppers where they are in the showroom. What is this display and why is it important?

One specific sort of signage to include is pricing. Clearly displayed price points will catch the attention of potential buyers—especially those hunting for a bargain. However, this can be difficult given the sometimes mysterious nature of fee schedules and reimbursements on certain materials. While out-of-network providers have more flexibility to set rates and display them, in-network eye care professionals may have to find another way to engage value-oriented customers.

Organizing displays to engage potential buyers

Various displays and sections of your showroom should be broken into sets of three. Psychologically, there’s just something about this way of segmenting things that just draws the eye. 

Consider photography: Photographers are taught to break their field of vision into horizontal and vertical groups of three in order to compose pictures. You’re doing the same thing here: Breaking the display into groups of three in order to take advantage of a psychological preference. 

Make sure the arrangement makes sense, as well. For example, line up products from good to better to best. 

Speaking of three, never forget the importance of our favorite three-sided shape: the triangle. A pyramid display is a visually engaging way to create a focal point for your display. From there, less important products “seem to cascade” down from the centerpiece.

Optical showroom design ideas

OK, you’ve read enough. Or maybe you just scrolled past all-of-the-above to check out the design ideas below. Either way, we can’t conclude this post without providing some optical shop interior design and showroom display ideas we found online:  

Putting the number three to work

Check out how this display breaks up eyewear into three sections while using contrasting lighting to highlight the components of the display. There’s one place your eyes want to go: to the three rows of frames. A well-segmented display like this can be used to set expectations for shoppers by putting your best foot forward before offering your full spectrum of frame options.

This display makes use of the rule of three in a couple of different ways. Their wall is broken into three displays. And each display is broken up into three different columns. And again, the contrast between high- and low-light sections tell shoppers where to look.

It can be difficult to make use of the pyramid principle in an optical showroom. Most optical counters and eyewear displays are built as squares or rectangles. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with sections of your showroom or your window display. This display creates a focal point at the top that traces downward and outward to three sections of frames below it.

Optical shop decoration ideas

A good theme communicates with ease what your optical shop is all about. For example, it’s pretty clear who this dispensary seeks to connect with: Parents and their children.

Sure, it’s easy to have a theme when you’re working with parents and their kids. But what if you’re selling frames, lens, contacts and other materials to a less specific audience? It’s just as important to find a theme and stick to it. For example, check out how this showroom is broken up into different zones that are thematically consistent.

Even a small optical shop, like this Manhattan showroom, can maintain thematic consistency and leverage zones to create an engaging buying experience.

Use these principles to make your optical shop shine!

We can only give you so much advice! The best part about designing your optical showroom is making it yours! These principles will help guide you in planning your optical interior design and layout. However, it's up to you to determine how to make these tips work with your practice brand, and how to make it engaging for the people who visit your eye care business.