A well-designed shop frontage makes a store look unique and attractive, it enriches the way a product is perceived, brightens up a street or shopping center and makes people want to visit it. It should be a place where a customer feels they are welcome and invited to explore the store, and of course, buy something.

The appearance of a shop front should reflect the type of business it is; a clean and modern approach for a technology company perhaps or a classic and more traditional design for a vintage fashion store or old-fashioned sweet shop. In a world of online shopping it is easy to forget that a physical presence still matters and can bring customers through the door and into your store.

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Shop fronts also serve as a first display gallery for the products of a store, whether they be high-end designer goods or the latest technological gadgets. Carefully chosen colour and a description of the product can help shoppers to identify a particular item they would like to purchase. The way the products are displayed should evoke their desire – for example, displaying them on wires instead of shelves can emphasize the quality of a product or allowing a shopper to interact with the item by hand can communicate its value.

As local authorities become increasingly concerned about the effect of shopfronts on the look of our town centres, they are imposing tight controls on new designs and often require consent for changes to existing frontages – particularly in areas that are listed or in conservation areas. RBWM’s Shop Front Design Guide encourages the use of traditional materials where possible to retain the visual integrity of the facade.