Creating an Efficient Floor Plan: Part 2 – Retail Space

5 mins read

This article discusses how to create efficient retail spaces by building impactful displays and prioritizing accessibility for all.

Creating an aesthetically pleasing yet functional space is all part of the retail experience. As a customer, you can notice immediately when displays are not well thought out or products are difficult to access. Ideally, a customer will be effortlessly guided through your store, experiencing all that it has to offer. With a few easy changes, you can greatly improve their experience and their willingness to revisit.

When considering a layout, every area needs to leave an impact right up until the customers walk out the door (hopefully with some purchases!). Proven crowd-pleasers or special, limited time offers entice people to enter, while advertising clearance at the back ensures that every customer will browse through the entire store first. As a little bonus, keep accessories or small purchases near the cashier to capitalize on every sale as much as possible. Even though it may not feel important to add a couple of bucks to each purchase, those small wins go a long way towards your BIG goals.

With that being said, a successful layout is one that keeps everyone in mind. In order to have enough aisle space for a wheelchair, opt for vertical shelving or hanger bars to keep products flush against the wall. If it can be avoided, try not to stock items so far up that they cannot be reached from a comfortable position. Depending on the size of your store, it might be simpler to have associates available to help grab those high items for customers. However, accessibility does not just stop at adequate floor space. Some other options to keep in mind if applicable are ramps at the entrance and exit, extra-large changing rooms, as well as appropriate seating or rest areas.

Now that some space has been made, you can continue to fill the floor with select tables as an easy way to direct traffic and highlight specific products. To showcase your products effectively, consider these 2 things:

1. Do not overstock: Piling on products with the assumption that customers will have the patience to dig through to find what they want is not efficient. Not only does it lead to a frustrating shopping experience, but it also can be quite dangerous if the contents of your table were to tip over onto someone nearby. Plus, there’s a good chance that if no one gets hurt in the fall, your product will end up damaged or dirty, making it unsellable.

2. Be aware of customer’s gaze: Focus your table space with a theme that includes a good selection of products that make sense together, i.e. stationary with pens, candles with incense, socks with shoes, etc. Everything should be visible so you don’t miss out on a potential sale if the customer doesn’t immediately spot what they were looking for. Although this doesn’t mean everything needs to lie flat and stagnant on the table. Mixing in some clear acrylic or wooden boxes can create visual interest and elevate products in a meaningful way.

It is important to set up an efficient floor plan for retail spaces because the design and layout are your silent sellers. When your day gets chaotic and the customers come in floods, sales associates will try to help everyone to the best of their ability but might find that they are stretched thin. Creating an effective space works wonders to keep the flow of customers moving, engage them with products you have on display, and ultimately send them on their way with the products they need (plus maybe a couple of extras). Therefore, it is essential to make each section of your store impactful while still keeping products accessible to all customers.

If you are in the process of setting up your retail space, keep these tips and tricks in mind as you lay everything out! If your retail space is already set up, go for a walk through it with new eyes, and see if your layout is doing everything it can for you and for your customer.

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