How to create a retail store layout that increases sales
Research from the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that 79% percent of consumers surveyed still shop in brick and mortar stores. The continued popularity of in-store shopping means that retailers need to invest time and resources in creating a store layout that increases sales. The best department stores are aware that the layout has a positive impact on sales. Retailers of any size can follow the leading department stores by creating a layout that appeals to their customer and increases sales.
There are many retail strategies you should try to grow your customer base and increase sales. Retail marketing ideas, like loyalty programs, help to get your customers to spend more money. However, your store’s look and feel are one of the main factors that will influence how much a customer spends. How you physically arrange your retail store needs to take into account consumer psychology principles. The aspects of a store’s design that turn browsers into buyers have been the subject of years of research by professionals such as data scientists and interior designers. This research has produced best practice suggestions in terms of visual merchandising and the best way to design a store layout to increase sales.
The number one goal of a retail store owner is to encourage consumers to buy their goods. Therefore, you should prioritize creating a store design that directs shoppers to see as many products as possible while, at the same time, providing a comfortable atmosphere. Creating your store layout with the intention of increasing sales will have a big impact on whether your customers go to the checkout or go out of the door without making a purchase. Ideally, you should have considered how your store’s floor plan will affect sales even before you open your store. The look and feel of your store should be at the forefront of your mind even when you’re finding a retail space for lease.
Whether you’re thinking about opening a retail store or are already operating a store, the tips below will help you to create a store layout design that increases sales:
- Design a welcoming threshold
- Make the most of the right turn
- Strategically place your staples
- Keep your best stock at eye level
- Design a buying path
- Get shoppers to slow down
- Create the right atmosphere
- Allocate the ideal space for checkouts
The threshold of a retail store is also known as the ‘decompression zone.’ It’s the first area that customers see when they come into your store. The threshold normally measures five to 15 feet based on how big the store is. The threshold is where shoppers make the change from outside to see what’s being offered at your store. Shoppers will decide whether your shop is cheap or expensive when in the threshold. The following aspects should be included in the threshold when designing your retail floor plan:
- Make it spacious – Leaving enough space in the threshold will make shoppers feel welcome. A cramped threshold is unconsciously associated with chaos. As a result, the customer is likely to leave your store.
- Display your best products – As the threshold is the place where customers decide whether to explore your store further, you should feature your star products in this area.
- Ensure that it’s appealing – You should do everything possible to ensure your threshold pulls the shoppers in. Specialized artwork to showcase your products and innovative mannequin arrangements are examples of design ideas.
It’s reported that 90% of consumers turn right when they walk into a store. This important statistic should be considered when designing your retail floor plan. The ‘power wall’ is the first wall that shoppers will see when they turn right. So, the wall immediately to the shopper’s right needs to be given special attention in your store design. Make the most of your power wall by implementing the following:
- Increase its size – Use the whole wall to make your power wall stand out. The displays on your power wall should be taller and wider than the other displays in your store. Your power wall should be hard to miss and immediately grab the shoppers’ attention.
- Choose the right colors – According to research, about 62% to 90% of first impressions are based on color alone. As a result, you should select a color for your power wall that matches the overall theme of your store.
- Display your main products – If your store is known for one main type of product, showcase your flagship product on your power wall. For example, if your clothing store is famous for selling jeans but you stock different types of clothes, make sure that jeans are featured heavily on the wall to the right.
You must give serious thought to where you stock your retail store’s staple products. For example, a staple of grocery stores is milk and eggs. Price isn’t normally a major factor when customers buy staples. This is because staples are products that shoppers need. You should make allowances for staples to be stored as far away from the front door as possible in your store layout design. If you own an apparel retail shop, your clothing store layout should include staples, like t-shirts, at the back of the shop.
Keep the following in mind when including staple items in your store design:
- Keep staple items at opposite ends – In order to encourage shoppers to walk through your whole store, keep your staple items at the back and at opposite ends. Spacing out staple products means that customers will have to walk past additional products and will be more likely to make an impulse purchase.
- Include a few staples upfront – If you’re a food retailer, you should consider placing a small selection of staple products near the front of the store to cater for customers who just want to come in and out of the shop as quickly as possible. In this instance, you should place small impulse buy products near the staple items to make more sales.
After you’ve chosen your retail floor plan, you should turn your attention to using shelf space as part of the store layout design that will increase your sales. The aim of using shelves in retail store design is to give your customers easy access to high-profit items. Expensive items should be at eye level to prevent customers having to bend down or reach to get them. The products that increase sales should be at eye level so that the customer needs to make no additional effort in choosing them. Given that items at eye level receive 35% more attention than products placed elsewhere, you should consider implementing the following tips when designing your retail store:
- Appeal to the influencer – The person who makes a purchase in a retail store isn’t always the person who makes the decisions. If your store sells items for young children, your high-profit items need to be placed at the child’s eye level. This is also referred to as touch level.
- Adjust the levels according to profitability – ‘Stoop level’ and ‘stretch level’ shelves should contain products with low profitability. As well as profitability, you should also be aware of health and safety issues in your store design. Avoid placing heavy or breakable items on the top shelves to prevent injury to customers.
After shoppers enter the store and make a right turn as anticipated, it’s up to your store layout design to guide them on a path through your store. Your buying path should lead shoppers where they can see most of your products. Controlling how shoppers navigate through your store increases the chances that they will purchase an item.
The following tips will help you to guide your customers around your chosen path in your store:
- Use different textures – You can use different patterns or textures on the floor to set your path. If shoppers see a different pattern, they’re more likely to be drawn to the pattern and follow with their feet. Different color tiles or a rug can be used to create buying paths.
- Make the most of the isles – You can invite shoppers to explore the rest of the store by placing attention-grabbing displays at the end of your aisles. This will encourage shoppers to walk through the aisles past the rest of your products to get to the display.
- Leave footprints – You can choose to create a buying path using footprint stickers also known as footprint decals. These footprint decals are made to hold up under high levels of foot traffic. They also come in different styles and colors to appeal to both adults and children.
The more time shoppers spend in your store, the higher the probability that you will make a sale. Your shop’s layouts should include elements that cause shoppers to slow down to have a closer look. These elements are referred to as ‘speed bumps’ and can include the following:
- Seasonal displays and signage about special offers.
- Small tables with selected items.
- Sales racks with the latest reductions.
Retail store design should not only consist of visual elements to increase sales. The best department stores use a variety of experiences to get customers to spend more. Food retailers can benefit from the right smells to entice shoppers to buy food. Additionally, planning a clothing store layout should incorporate suitable music to set the tone of the store. Retail store design is complemented by smells, sounds, and touch to create the right atmosphere.
Here are some ideas to create an atmosphere to increase sales in your retail store:
- Provide samples – Allowing shoppers to interact with your products helps them to imagine what it would be like if they owned it. Providing samples gives shoppers the opportunity to try before they buy.
- Select the appropriate music – You’ll only reap the rewards of using music in your store if you select the right playlist. The type of music you will select depends on your usual type of shopper. For instance, if you have a high-end boutique, your customers may favor classical and calm music.
- Fine-tune your lighting – You can utilize different types of lighting to draw attention to various parts of your store. In a clothing store layout, bright lights should be used to highlight a particular promotion. Different colored lights in your brand colors are also an option if you want a fun atmosphere in your store.
Your store layout design should be leading shoppers to one place – the checkout. Your point of sale (POS) system should be placed where you’ve decided that the shopper’s experience should come to an end. As noted above, most shoppers turn right when they enter your store. Therefore, your retail floor plan should include placing checkouts at the front left of the store. This position will ensure that shoppers will walk across the store, past different items, to get to the checkout. You’ll also need to consider theft when positioning your checkout. The checkout must be in a place of high visibility to prevent both employee theft and shoplifting from customers.
The following store design tips will help you to position your checkout in the best place to increase sales:
- Use the space behind the counter – The wall behind the counter should be used to advertise your special promotions.
- Allocate enough space – To make it easier for customers, design your checkout counter with enough space to rest personal belongings as they pay.
- Promote impulse buys – Use the space around the counter to stock small items that can be easily added to a purchase. For instance, a clothing store layout should include items, like socks and earrings, near the checkout.
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