As health care continues moving out of critical-care facilities and into consumer-friendly settings, designers are picking up a few design secrets from the retail industry.
Writing in Health Facilities Management, Sarah Bader presents six retail design techniques that can influence the behavior of consumers, encouraging them to make use of health care services offered in non-traditional settings like pharmacies and retail health clinics. Bader’s recommendations:
- Be accessible – Walgreen’s, a pioneer in retail health care, creates an inviting environment with large, bright windows and doorways, and encourages pharmacists to mingle with shoppers.
- Be specific – Retail is not a one-size-fits-all business. With market-specific services and designs, health care facilities can attract niche buyers.
- Be clear – Spaces that encourage communication result in better health care outcomes, just as they result in happier retail customers.
- Be nimble and flexible – Retailers are constantly adjusting store layouts to meet changes in consumer tastes. Health care designers, too, can incorporate flexibility into treatment facilities.
- Be virtual – Consumers are shopping at their favorite retailers’ online stores. Health care providers can leverage their online presence in the same way retailers do.
- Be visible – Brand identity is vital. Retail stores like Target and Nike are unmistakable because their brand identity is carried throughout the stores’ design. Likewise, retail health care can make use of signage and spatial design to establish a brand look-and-feel.
A few years ago, retail consumer behavior was barely a blip on the health care radar. Now it’s a big part of the health care business model, and consumer-friendly design can be a major influence in health care success.
Photo © Catherine Estevez – Fotolia