Creating the perfect layout for your store is both an art and a science; it includes some imagination, psychological insights, and testing. A well-planned retail store layout is critical for maximising revenue. Retail shop layouts, often known as store design or layout design, refer to the way retailers arrange product displays, fixtures, and items in-store. By developing a layout plan, retailers can strategically route customers to high-priority products, promote impulse sales, manage customer flow, stay organised, and create a pleasant customer experience.
Although you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to designing the layout of your store, it is crucial to consider your target demographic, your space, and the types of items you sell when designing a retail store plan. According to studies, upon entering the store, most customers look left first. Furthermore, shoppers usually prefer to shift to the right and walk around the store in the counterclockwise direction.
If you’re thinking about opening a new retail store or redesigning an existing one, you can research some store designs that will work in your space. What’s more, in this article, we will provide you with some great retail shop layouts and design tips.
Install an Attractive Storefront
Since your customers will see your storefront design first, choosing an aesthetically pleasing arrangement will boost foot traffic. Accordingly, you can make on-brand window displays, keep the pavement in front of your store clean, and use plants to cover any barren spots. Window signs encourage visitors to come inside for seasonal specials and publicises any public safety precautions you’re implementing, such as social distancing. Furthermore, it is best to focus on one (or two) main statements to create a clear message and avoid confusing passers-by.
Use an Appropriate Floor Plan
Your floor layout is essential for optimising store flow and traffic. The one best for you will be determined by a variety of factors, including the size of your business, the products you sell, and, most crucially, your target market.
While there are many store layouts to choose from, the following are most frequently used in retail:
Straight floor plan: This floor plan entails arranging shelves or racks in straight lines to provide a well-organised traffic flow. It is one of the most cost-effective store layouts and is commonly utilised in large retail locations, supermarkets, and stores that predominantly display their merchandise on shelves.
Angular floor plan: This store’s design incorporates curves and angles to create a refined atmosphere. High-end merchants typically use an angled floor design, which reduces the amount of display area, but instead focuses on creating fewer, more popular lines.
Racetrack or loop plan: This design encourages clients to “loop” through your store. Using this plan, you can arrange your fixtures and items to create a trail that leads customers around your store.
Geometric floor plan: The geometric floor plan makes use of racks and fixtures to create a one-of-a-kind store vibe and aesthetic. If you’re displaying contemporary products, this is the best layout to use.
Free flow plan: A free flow layout allows you the most freedom of expression, with no defined foot traffic pattern. As such, you are not restricted to floor patterns or shelves that must be positioned at specific angles.
Touch Screens for Retail
Online shopping and price comparison apps have not only increased direct competition for retail stores but have also put pressure on them to embrace new technology in order to provide a better in-store experience. Customers who visit your store should have a positive purchasing experience that will ensure they will want to return. Moreover, using retail touch screens can be a great way to better engage with your customers. Placing touch screens at the end of aisles called in retail environments has also become a critical point of differentiation between the online and in-store shopping experiences.
Maximise Your Space
Customers should be able to browse easily in an open and bright space created by your layout design. Therefore, it is important to make sure the aisles are broad enough for several consumers to have ample personal space. Furthermore, you can arrange your shelves and floor displays in a way that encourages a natural flow. You can also install vertical shelves that draw the eye up if your business is narrow. However, it is important to remember that fixtures and displays must be properly installed and secured. It is best to avoid accumulating clutter by keeping extra goods in the back and bringing them out when needed. Finally, you should keep your store bright with plenty of lighting and make it feel airy by emphasising any windows or natural light. If you have an outdoor space, you can consider using it as well.
Avoid the Transition Zone
Once you’ve determined how your consumers navigate your complete retail area, it is important to focus on your entrance. Customers require time, however brief, to acclimate to the store’s new lighting, odours, music, and visual stimulation. The term “transition zone”, also known as the “decompression zone”, refers to the space just outside the entrance to a retail store. Usually, the transition area is created to help customers become acquainted with the new environment. Typically, it is not recommended to place valuable and high-margin items, conspicuous signs, or brand information inside this zone.
Prioritise New and Popular Items
According to the results of retail surveys, customers only observe 40% of things on display. As such, it is important to make sure that your most popular items do not go undetected. It is recommended to display these objects on the right side of the store, many shoppers have a natural tendency to turn right when they enter a store.
New and unique products can help bring visitors to your store, especially if you’ve actively pushed them in your marketing. Therefore, it is important to make sure to prominently display them. You should also refresh these displays on a regular basis to ensure novelty for returning customers.
Use Signage for Important Messages or Items
Using signage isn’t just for sales and promotions; it can also serve as a reminder to your customers about in-store safety precautions. A ‘slippery floor’ sign, for example, helps customers avoid slips and falls, and a poster depicting social distancing guidelines reminds buyers that you take public safety regulations seriously. In addition, you can also display signage requesting that customers seek assistance when lifting heavy or fragile products. Finally, it is important to display your signs prominently, such as by placing them on an easel by the front door, at the ends of aisles, and on windows and exit doors to draw attention.
Improve Your Checkout Process for Impulse Purchases
It is essential to remember to pay close attention to your customers’ final stop: the cash register. According to the results of one survey, one out of every five purchases is an impulse buy (and 72% of shoppers admit giving in to the temptation of candy displayed at the register). As such, you can position a few conveniences and value goods, such as snacks, lip balm, or gift cards, strategically at the cash register to tempt customers to buy something they didn’t realise they needed.
Track and Evaluate Your Efforts
Finally, it is important to evaluate your efforts in creating your floor plan, design, and arrangement choices to ensure that you are adopting the best practices. In addition, you should also pay close attention to how customers behave in your store. Take note of where they go, where they linger, and what they do when inside. You can also inquire about what they think of your shop and what you can do to improve it.
Before making a significant layout or merchandising modification in your store, it is important to benchmark measures such as sales, traffic, and dwell time, and then measure these results once the changes are applied. Consider using foot traffic analytics systems such as people counts, beacons, heat sensors, and other devices. These solutions can provide you with more detailed analytics and insights into shopper patterns and behaviour, allowing you to make data-driven decisions.
Finally, you can also run shop audits whenever you make changes to your store to check that your layouts and displays are being handled appropriately. Consider using an audit program or application to assess your stores.
Store traffic, dwell time, and sales are directly affected by your store layout and merchandising. Therefore, it is vital to invest the time and resources necessary to ensure the optimal look and feel of your stores. Also, keep in mind that creating layouts, displays, and merchandising is an ongoing and constantly evolving process. So, you should keep looking for new trends and ideas, as well as for ways to improve your game.
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