Running a successful retail outlet involves more than just carrying the right merchandise; you need to create a calm and inviting atmosphere for consumers. There’s nothing worse than overwhelming a potential customer with the layout of your store. That’s why many retail outlets are turning to feng shui.

An ancient Chinese art, feng shui is the “practice of creating harmonious surroundings that enhance the balance of ying and yang, as in arranging furniture or determining the siting of a house” (1). Feng shui thrives on creating positive energy and good fortune, and businesses can use color, light and sound to promote positive chi (i.e., “the vital life force in the body” [2]). Although every store has a different energy, you can transform your store floor using some simple feng shui techniques:

Location. Finding a space that pulsates with positive energy and good fortune is the key to operating a successful business (3). Experts say setting up shop in a location that has housed a bevy of failed properties can interfere with a site’s positive energy. It may have a bridge or something blocking the entrance that feng shui specialists believe blocks good chi or just has a history of bad fortune (3). Consider this before buying or leasing such a location.

Window displays. Creating attractive, eye-popping displays for the front window persuades customers to enter a store (3). However, standard signage is not good enough. Retailers must think outside of the box when designing window displays. Digital signage full of kinetic imagery brings life to a store and makes it impossible for customers to look away (3). It is essential to create positive energy and make a human connection with signage that uses the right graphics.

Lucky corners. When laying out the store, it is important to use what feng shui calls “lucky corners” as your main focal points. These are the places to promote unique products and showcase bold displays (4). Adding light and plant life to these sections of your retail environment creates a space that not only encourages sales, but good will and customer satisfaction as well (4).

Entrance. Don’t clutter up the entrance of your store. You can create a strong flow of feng shui energy by making strong and clear choices, like displaying your store name on clean, crisp signage, having a well-lit entrance (without fluorescent lighting), avoiding mirrors and using appropriate colors for the feng shui energy of your store (5). Once inside, think about how water would flow through your store and where it would get blocked to see what areas you can make more inviting for customers.

Employees. Hiring optimistic and friendly employees strengthens your store’s feng shui energy and provides customers with a pleasant shopping experience (4). This, in turn, generates good energy that can stimulate sales (4). WF

1., “Feng Shui,”, accessed Aug. 1, 2013.
2., “Chi,”, accessed Aug. 1, 2013.
3. “How to Feng Shui a Retail Store or Boutique,”, accessed Aug. 1, 2013.
4. “9 Ways to Pump Up Retail Sales with Feng Shui,”, accessed Aug. 1, 2013.
5. R. Tchi, “Retail Feng Shui Tips,”, accessed Aug. 1, 2013.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2013