As a retail store owner, one of the biggest ways that you can make a difference to the customer experience is in the way you design your store layout.
Before you set up your store or enter into a new design, consider these questions.
5 Questions to Ask For an Effective Store Layout
1. What is your floor plan?
The space that you have determines what you’ve got to work with, so understand the type of floor plan that you have and then go from there. There are 4 types of floor plans, and each one has it’s own benefits – it depends on what you are selling and the types of customer you attract.
The 4 types of floor plans are:
- Geometric floor plan – this type of floor plan uses racks and fixtures, creating a unique feel. This type of layout is ideal if you are planning to showcase trendy products
- Straight floor plan – this is the simplest type of floor plan and entails positioning your shelves and racks in straight lines for organised flow. It’s also the most economical floor layout and is utilised mostly by large retail spaces, such as supermarkets.
- Angular floor plan – this type of layout has a lot of curves and angles, giving off a sophisticated vibe. This type of floor plan is usually found in high-end retailers and is the smallest of the floor plans.
- Diagonal floor plan – this type of plan will provide you with more visibility, both from a staff and customer perspective and is best utilised in smaller spaces. Self-service shops or stores where close monitoring of customers is required.
2. Do you lead customers to the left or right?
What are we talking about here? Whether you lead your customer clockwise or anti-clockwise – and does it actually make a difference?
Generally, shoppers will go in the direction they drive, so as we are based in Australia, most shoppers will enter the store and browse in a clockwise direction. Once you know which direction, make sure you place any new arrival items and specials in strategic places following this direction.
3. Can you appeal to people’s other senses?
The more you can do to make your store enticing, the more success you’ll have at attracting foot traffic and converting sales. Depending on what you sell, how can you appear to the other senses that you aren’t already hitting?
Here’s some ideas:
- Use sound – choose your music carefully. Decide on the atmosphere you are looking to create and choose songs that will enhance this.
- Use scent – if you’re selling furniture, coffee is a great scent to have in your store. Alternatively, if you’re selling clothing, match the scent to the type of clothing your selling to entice shoppers senses further.
- Use touch – the best way to do this is to have samples of each product available for customers to touch – everyone likes to touch things and by doing this, you are encouraging them to interact with your product.
- Use taste – this really only works if you’re selling food products. Offer free taste testing stations throughout your store. This encourages the shopper to interact both with your product and with your staff.
4. How do you determine if you’re making the correct layout decisions?
Simply ask. Ask your staff what they think of any changes your planning to make. Also take note of what your shoppers do when they enter they store, do they linger in certain spots, do they touch your products or do they move through quickly. You can also ask your customers directly what they think and record their answers. This will give you a very clear picture of what changes need to be implemented.
5. How should staff behave?
This can sometimes be a forgotten aspect of store layout – where your staff are positioned. Depending on what layout you go with, having employees standing in once place might not be the best option. Generally, it’s better to have your sales staff move around the floor rather than standing behind the counter; it makes the store more inviting. Apply the “act as if they were customers” philosophy as well, whereby staff act as if they are customers by moving around the store and touching the products. People are more inclined to enter a store that doesn’t appear empty.
Now that you have the questions and the answers, you can apply these to your store layout and come up with an effective and functional design.