Laying Out Your Store

Laying Out Your Store

Designing your retail space is a constantly evolving process. Items, displays, and more can always be tweaked, switched up, or modified to create a customer experience that is more in tune with your vision and what your customers like.

Watching your customers as they shop is a great way to see what they're drawn to, but it can take days, weeks, or even months of observation to arrive at some solid conclusions. If you're in a bit of a time crunch, we've got a few quick tips that can help you create a win-win layout that both maximizes your space and increases your customers' desire to shop.

1. Showcase It All.

Simply put, shoppers probably won't purchase items they can't see. Good visibility is crucial for brick-and-mortar stores, so don't underestimate the power of placing items at eye-level. Also, since customers tend to shop counter-clockwise through a store, remember that any display to the right of the door is prime placement for in-demand products.

With all of the time you're putting into organizing everything, it might be wise to create a few "speed bumps" to slow customers down a little bit. You can create one of these by adding something to give your layout a visual break. This could be your seasonal displays, special sales sections, or even merchandise outposts that encourage last-minute purchases.

2. Be Conscious of Space.

Here's another interesting fact about retail spaces: customers may avoid shopping in an aisle where someone could potentially brush up against them. It's true, according to consumer behavior expert, Paco Underhill. Beat these feelings of personal space invasion by ensuring that your customers have enough space to comfortably browse and ask questions.

It's also wise to keep space in mind when it comes to your checkout counter. However, unlike your aisles, you might want something that's not too big, since bigger isn't necessarily more impressive. In fact larger check out areas can actually be interpreted as an unwelcoming barrier between sales associates and shoppers or give off the vibe that the sales associates don't want to be bothered. Clear off enough counter space for shoppers to complete their transactions and keep them tidy to promote a welcoming atmosphere.

3. Step Up Your Signage.

When customers can find what they're looking for quickly, they're more likely to become repeat shoppers. Retailers can help speed up this process by making sure there's enough navigation to find particular items fast. Special displays and promotional signage can also help convince shoppers to spend more money if they're emphasizing last-minutes sales and special discounts.

4. Design Displays That Wow.

You probably already know how crucial your store entrance is, but consumers expect you to keep up the captivating eye candy throughout their shopping experience. After all, according to a recent mass merchant shopper engagement study by POPAI, more than 82 percent of all shopping decisions are made in-store. Displays that offer immediate value and encourage customers to take the purchasing plunge are well worth the extra design time they may take to create.

5. Create a Path to Follow.

Knowing how your customers will navigate your space is a huge advantage, especially when it comes to switching up the layout of your store. Walk the floorplan when you implement any changes to see how you're visually guided through the space, or invite staff, friends, and family to walk your new layout and give you some honest feedback.

Frequently shopping at your competitors' spaces to observe what they're doing can also give you some great inspiration. In fact, this is a tactic Walmart founder Sam Walton religiously relied on. By imitating what worked well for others, he was able to build a store experience that better serves the needs of his customers and boosts his bottom line.