Without taking the time to detail the store's layout, retailers may be unaware of bottlenecks in their existing floor plans.
By carefully designing a retail store floor plan, management can pinpoint inefficiencies ahead of time to avoid future headaches and complaints. This also gives retailers the opportunity to increase the exposure for specific products to promote sales.
A retail store floor plan, or layout, is the strategic placement of space used to enhance the customer experience on both physical and digital sales channels. The configuration affects how customers interact with products, other shoppers, and employees.
A store's interior layout consists of two elements-
The store design is the placement of furniture, displays, merchandise, lighting, and signs to optimize space. Aside from traditional brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce companies use website designers to create a store design that promotes a seamless shopping experience for users.
The customer flow is the pattern of customers' purchases and shopping behavior as they navigate through a store. Understanding these trends helps retailers develop effective marketing strategies to promote sales, impulse buys, and customer engagement.
A store's exterior layout consists of the storefront design and foot traffic, as well as-
- Geographic Location
- Building Size
- Architecture Style
- Paint Color
- Building Materials
- Entrance Design
- Window Displays
The primary objective of a retail store layout is to provide customers with an enjoyable shopping experience while encouraging sales.
The optimal floor plan depends on the store's physical layout and dimensions. An arrangement that works for a narrow building may not be ideal for a wider building. Therefore, management needs to determine which design best suits their store-
The straight floor plan is a great go-to layout for any type of retail store, as it utilizes wall space and light fixtures to establish different areas. This floor plan is also the most cost-efficient.
However, the straight floor plan has few sightlines, making it difficult for customers to find products right away. It also limits the visibility of employees, so they are unable to keep tabs on shoppers.
The diagonal floor plan is ideal for retailers that offer self-services, such as kiosks and samples. This layout staggers displays, providing great visibility for customers and cashiers. It also creates a uniform traffic flow, preventing overcrowding in aisles.
While the straight floor plan can often feel like a maze, the diagonal layout opens up the floor space so shoppers can move around more freely.
The angular floor plan is often used in high-end boutiques, as it emphasizes unique angles and fixtures. However, this layout offers the least amount of display space, making it great for specialty retailers with a small inventory.
The geometric floor plan is ideal for clothing and apparel stores that use shelves to display and store products. Retailers can use this layout to create a unique aesthetic without a high expense by rearranging shelving units and displays into different formations.
The mixed floor plan incorporates elements from the previous layouts to create a functional design. By combining straight, angular, diagonal, and geometric components, retailers can direct traffic flow in the direction they want to increase the exposure of different products.
A well-designed layout often determines if a shopper is able to find a product and make a purchase. Without an efficient floorplan, customers may become frustrated and abandon their shopping carts. Therefore, retailers should consider the best practices for designing a store layout-
First, owners need to look at their site or physical building and determine which layout best represents their brand and can optimize the available space. In addition to the straight, angular, diagonal, mixed, and geometric floor plans, retailers should consider-
- Racetrack Floor Plan
- Free Flow Floor Plan
Next, management must determine which way they want their shoppers to turn when entering the store. Studies show that shoppers tend to naturally mimic driving patterns, meaning countries that drive on the right side of the road create a predisposition to drift right.
Mapping out the store enables management to gain an aerial view of the layout to create efficient traffic flow and better product displays. It also makes it easier to virtually move furniture around to test floor plans before physically implementing the layout.
The decompression zone encompasses the first couple of feet inside the store's entrance. This area should not hold merchandise or anything that could overcrowd the entrance. All signs, carts, baskets, and products should be stored beyond the decompression zone, allowing customers to easily flow through the store.
Products, shelves, furniture, and fixtures should be evenly spaced out so customers can easily navigate through aisleways. Appropriate spacing also makes displays more attractive and aesthetically pleasing. Overcrowding merchandise creates chaotic, unattractive showcases that make restocking difficult.
By installing speed bumps in the aisleways, retailers can encourage customers to slow down and browse products, promoting impulse buys and brand exposure. Speed bumps come in many forms, including-
- Display Cases
- Tabletop Displays
Aside from the merchandise, retail stores must create high-quality customer experiences. By providing a memorable shopping journey, retailers can increase customer retention, satisfaction, and advocacy.