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May 18, 2022

Planning Your Retail Store Design In 8 Easy Steps

In this online era retail stores are still customers' first priority for shopping. There are a lot of ways to design your retail space. Nevertheless, there are also some common design strategies that all retailers should adapt to gather more sales. Planning the layout of your store is not a piece of cake. It is both an art and a science — It is a blend of creativity, psychological insights, and analysis.

In this post, we’ll try to explore the ways through which you can implement to plan the arrangement of your store.

Selecting Retail Store Layout

The type of layout you will choose is mainly based on your space, the shopping experience you are trying to create, and the products you sell. There are different layout styles but mostly six types of layout are used.

  • Grid:  The grid floor plan is also called a straight layout. Grid floor plans are mainly used in convenience and grocery stores, where customers need to find items quickly. It is also suitable for small businesses. 

  • Loop: Another name is racetrack layout. This layout maximizes wall space and leads shoppers to a guided pathway. This layout slowly shows shoppers different products. It is mostly used in apparel, accessory, toy, homeware, kitchenware, personal care, and specialty retail stores.

  • free-flow/mixed: The free-flow layout delegates the retailer to showcase their brand through imaginative designs and floor plans. It is also used in apparel, specialty brand, and mixed-use stores like cafes that also display books.

  • Diagonal: The diagonal floor plan is an open center floor with several displays. Especially tech and electronic stores, and beauty and cosmetics retailers use this floor plan. This design focuses on creating open sightlines to attract buyers to certain products.

  • Forced-path: Commonly known as guided plans, forced-path layouts use an open entryway followed by one pathway that directs shoppers through the store. This plan is seen in furniture stores, such as IKEA and it enables impulse sales. 

  • Angular: The angular floor plan uses small displays in the center of the store that highlight featured items. This floor plan is typically used by jewelry, designer, and handbag stores with high-end merchandise.

Determining which retail store layout will work best completely depends on brand image, products, and customers. Lots of retailers gained success by combining two or more layouts.

Step 2: Design a Blueprint of Your Store Layout

Once you have decided on all the layout options, it is time to start taking steps toward arranging your space. To start implementing a store layout, it is best to first put your plan down on paper to get a bird’s-eye view of your store once everything is in place. This ultimately helps you to understand your space.

Step 3: Examine Traffic Flow & Customer Behavior

One of the biggest things that your store layout will influence is customer flow. It is quite a debate whether the customer should be directed clockwise or anti-clockwise. But if you think rationally, most people are right-handed, by nature they turn to the right and explore the store in a counter-clockwise direction.

But it depends on the customer's behavior. So, the main purpose is to avoid creating discomfort and evoke a positive customer experience. A layout that works with your customers’ natural shopping habits will help you create the best customer experience. 

Step 4: Place Your Checkout

Checkout is the area that houses your point-of-sale (POS) system or cash register where customers pay for their products. A good rule of thumb could be the natural stopping point in the shopping experience that you’ve intentionally designed. For example, If your customers naturally turn right when they enter then the front left is probably the perfect location for your checkout counter.  However, it also depends on the size and layout of your retail store.

Step 5: Use Smart Product Positioning

Once you have visualized your floor plan, it is time to start product mapping. When placing your products, do so in a way that ensures customer engagement, creates a positive experience and drives your sales.

Step 6: Optimize Products with Fixtures & Displays

Ensure that your product supplies are appropriate to customer demand. Have enough space between products and fixtures. Most importantly, your aisles and displays should allow customers enough personal space when browsing your products.

Step 7: Add Comfort Zones & Customer Amenities

While the majority of a store’s design is based on visual components, other factors—adding scent, touch, sound, and taste—can also make a huge difference in a store’s look and feel. If you wish to create a truly mesmerizing in-store experience, design your store to appeal to as many shopper senses as possible.

Grouping your merchandise into neat and tidy categories is a great strategy, but this will be possible if you can find room to cross-merchandise different items. Discover products in your store that would go well together and put them on a single display.

Step 8: Ensure Your Store is Reachable to All

To ensure your space is reachable to all, you should be sure that you are following the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are many rules that retailers have to take care of to ensure that spaces are navigable and comfortable. For example, you can have a special parking space, keep accessible bathrooms open during business hours, always clean the fitting rooms, and ensure your customers know about your features by posting accessibility information on your website and store, educating staff so they can provide in-store assistance.

Ultimately, these practices will help you create a retail design that’s a win-win for both you and your customers. Your store traffic, dwell time, and sales are directly affected by your store layout. That’s why it’s important that you spend the time and resources in such a way that makes sure the look and feel of your stores are on point. Also, don’t forget when it comes to layouts and displays the work should always be up to date. So keep searching for trends, update product display and freshen up your layout.

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