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Setting up for success: 4 expert retail store layout tips

retail store layout

The old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So, with that in mind, are you planning your retail store layout to nail that killer first impression from your customers? If you’re not sure, follow our expert advice to set your store up for success.

Why does retail store layout matter?

As our attention spans shorten in today’s busy online world, we’re making snappier decisions (and judgements) than ever before. Therefore, you only have a few precious seconds to grab your customer’s attention before they switch off and leave your store.

In a saturated retail landscape, we’re sure you’ll agree those seconds count. So, it’s essential to plan a retail store layout that offers a positive shopping experience to your customers.

Here’s how.

1. Research different store layouts

Did you know there are four main types of retail store layout? We’ve included a brief description of each below.

  • Grid store layout – think long supermarket aisles with stock on either side. Grid layouts are cheap and functional yet can lack flair
  • Free-form store layout – free-form layouts work best for smaller, more intimate retail settings. Customers browse freely, and the overall look is creative and engaging, as long as you edit the space wisely
  • Racetrack store layout – one main aisle loops through the store and brings you back to the entrance. Also known as a loop layout
  • Spine store layout – also known as an arrow. layout, you’ll find one main aisle running throughout the store, with customers travelling in different directions.

2. Plan your customer journey

Crucially, your customers need to enjoy a comfortable and natural journey through your store, free of obstacles and interruptions. Factor inclusivity into this planning stage, as your store should be welcoming and accessible to all.

When organising your floor plan, consider what height your shelves and displays should be, as well as how much stock you’ll need and where. What are the non-negotiables for your store, such as changing rooms or spacious aisles, to avoid overcrowding?

3. Test and test again

Once you’re set on a layout, test it thoroughly.

Invite groups of potential customers to explore the store and provide their honest impressions of how it looks and feels.

Throw in some vouchers or freebies to reward them for their time: after all, valuable feedback will make your store the best it can be.

4. Consider all five senses

Looks matter, but sight is only one of five senses that can be influenced during a shopping experience.

Think about how you want your customers to feel as they move through your store, and plan your music, aromas and textures to achieve this.

For example, the perfect sound level for retail environments is between 40 and 64 decibels. By observing this, you enhance the experience without making it overbearing.

As for fragrance, shoppers have been proven to splash more cash when surrounded by warmer scents, like vanilla and cinnamon.

Create the perfect retail store layout for your customers

Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to lay out a retail store. It all depends on what works best for your brand, your products, your customer and your goals.

Therefore, research each type of retail store layout to work out which will be the best solution for your space. Providing your store is well-stocked, easy to navigate and looks clean and tidy, you’re bound to strike the right balance to entice your customers to keep coming back for more.

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