The store layout can help to improve the shopping experience by guiding customers through your retail space, exposing them to products by following a certain path, and encouraging purchasing behaviours.
To plan the layout of your shop you should focus on the physical store and your specific products: how much space you have to show the merchandise, what kind of products you want to sell, what fixtures you require, etc… Thinking about all these aspects is useful to identify the right arrangement for your store.
Traffic Flow & Customer Behaviours
Herb Sorensen, an expert on consumer behaviour and author of “Inside the Mind of the Shopper”, noted that when customers enter a shop, they instinctively turn to the right or to the left, depending on their country vehicle traffic patterns. In Ireland people drive on the left side, so according to these studies, they should explore stores in a clockwise manner. Finding out which direction your customers naturally follow allows you to plan how to arrange everything, for example, where to place the cash register and new arrivals.
Two simple tips:
- Don’t put your key merchandise and new arrivals in the “decompression zone”, which is the part of the store right after your entrance. Usually clients are distracted when they’re in this transition space, so keep this space open and clear.
- A checkout location at the back of the store is not practical for small retailers with limited staff, as it can leave the front of the store unwatched. Experts tend to agree that the checkout should be put in the front of the store. If your customers tend to naturally go left when they enter, put your register on the right side, in this way you will follow their natural exit path.
Types of retail floor plans
The floor plan is central in managing store flow and traffic. Here are the most common ones in retail:
- Grid Floor Plan: fixtures and displays run parallel to walls. This type of layout is used in most grocery, pharmacy and convenience stores. It could be a good choice for small retailers with lots of merchandise, for example food, toys, or books, but it’s not ideal for others who want to encourage relaxed browsing, because usually this kind of layout is suitable for quick purchases.
- Loop Floor Plan: customers are surrounded by product displays only on outer walls while at the centre of the store there are creative display variations. In some stores there is a path that leads customers from the front of the store to the check-out, passing through every type of product. It works well for many small retail stores, such as clothing and accessories, home-ware and personal care.
- Free-Flow Floor Plan: there’s no defined pattern, but probably this point makes it the most complex floor plan. There are no rules, but human preferences and customers behaviours need to be considered for the arrangement of the store. An open space is ideal for all types of refined and high-end boutiques. In general, it works well for stores with smaller inventories.
In case you don’t feel comfortable planning the store project by yourself, a professional retail planner or interior designer can help you to arrange everything in the best possible way.
If you need support to cover costs related to hiring an expert or buying fixtures and furniture, here at GRID we specialise in providing finance to retail businesses. GRID’s cash advance is a great short-term finance solution. It is repaid as a portion of your daily card sales, so it works with the ebb and flow of your business, it can be accessed through an easy online application and you can get approval just in 24 hours.