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Retail Plant Therapy: How To Make Your Store Better With Nature’s Help

Plants are known to provide a whole array of physiological, emotional, and mental benefits, from stress reduction, increased cognition to overall health improvements. If there is a way to create a more welcoming retail experience, incorporating greenery would be quite high up any store owner’s list.

While it’s not as simple as simply placing more potted plants in and around premises, there are general approaches to greening up a retail space that could be considered for starters.

Manicured plant therapy

Some establishments need to preserve a polished interior even with the presence of flora. Take fine dining restaurants, corporate offices or skincare brands for example.

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Blixen fine dining restaurant in London (Source: Refinery29)

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Innisfree retail store and Gamuda Gardens office (Source: Vertical Green)

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Innisfree retail store and Gamuda Gardens office (Source: Vertical Green)

Plants can be messy, and in such places, care has to be taken so that none of it gets in the way of customers while elevating their experience with a natural albeit manicured touch.

Ways to achieve a clean but green interior include using green walls, introducing plants sparsely, and spending a great deal of time for their upkeep, so that they remain presentable and are kept from spilling over their allotted spaces.

Immersive plant therapy

In some cases, it makes more sense to build a store into greenery rather than greenery into a store. That means allowing foliage to become the main attraction of a space. Of course, some care still needs to be taken to ensure that customers are not busy fending off snakes or finding grasshoppers in their meal.

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Curiosity Iron River back-alley cafe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Source: SAYS)

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Curiosity Iron River back-alley cafe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Source: SAYS)

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Sipping Corner cafe in Puchong, Malaysia (Source: SAYS)

There are levels to how far a green-first retail store could go. While some go as far as keeping farm animals in their premises, others are less novel and retain many modern sensibilities. In any case, it takes those with a green thumb to be able to manage an ‘immersive’ green retail store.

Going green inside and out

If greenery makes a difference indoors, it definitely makes a difference to keep them around in their natural habitat too. Retail store owners would be well-served to take their efforts to go green in-store and extend it outward i.e. support efforts to go green in society.

Kiehl’s demonstrated how that could be done with its sixth Kiehl’s Loves Hainan pop-up store in Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex in China.

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Future Made Better tree in Kiehl’s’ Loves Hainan pop-up store (Source: Cosmetics Business)

Apart from using sustainable materials to create the pop-up store, the New York skincare brand spotlighted its collaboration with Pur Project, where a tree would be planted globally with each purchase made from the store. Alternatively, one tree would also be planted for every 10 bookmarks hung up at its Future Made Better tree

While other retail stores aren’t expected to match the efforts or scale of a global brand, the commitment to extend their green efforts in-store to neighborhood eco-care projects or to encourage customers to adopt sustainable practices can go a long way.

More than a pretty little green scene

Not only is adding greenery to retail a good idea in terms of ambience, it also communicates a lot about a store. That’s why the manner in which it’s done is also important to consider.

Some places may want customers to feel as close to nature as possible, worms and all, while some would be met with complaints if a customer so much as steps on a dry leaf. Ultimately, much of it depends on store owners first understanding what they want for their customers.

What have been your most memorable experiences of greenery in retail?