As more consumers pick up their phone or fire up their laptops at the first thought of buying something, retail shops need to combine creativity, testing, and psychological insights to compete with their online counterparts. They can do this by making good use of the one thing online websites can never have — the customers presence and their attention.
And the best way to keep your customers exploring and keep them interested while they do so is by giving a great design and layout to your retail shop. Here are 5 design and layout tips you can use in your retail shop today.
A Floor Plan for Everyone
A good floor plan is essential if you wish to manage your store flow and traffic effectively. There are plenty of options and your choice depends on factors like the size of your store, the type of products you sell, and what kind of market you’re targeting. If you’re looking to give your store a rework, here are some ideas:
- Straight Floor Plan – Create an organized flow of traffic by positioning shelves and racks in straight lines. Go for this if you use shelves for showcasing your merchandise or if you own a large retail space or a supermarket.
- Loop Plan – Place your merchandise and shelves in such a way that a natural loop is created in your store. This layout ensures maximum product exposure and creates the most predictable traffic pattern for placing promotions.
- Angular Floor Plan – Include curves and angles in your layout to emanate a sophisticated vibe. The angular floor plan sacrifices efficient space usage for more focus on fewer, more popular lines.
Geometric Floor Plan – Use a combination of racks, fixtures, wall angles, support columns, and various ceiling styles to give your store a hint of artistic expression and function. Millennials and Gen Z demographics love this.
- Free Flow Plan – As a retail store owner, you have the choice to ditch a floor plan and not dictate customers to follow a path around the store. You can encourage them to browse and go in any direction.
Show Them What You’ve Got
As a retailer, it’s your job to show your customers what you’ve got in store ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) for them. But how much you should be displaying depends on some factors. Having more products on the sales floor is a proven tactic to increase retail store sales.
However, this doesn’t work for all kinds of retail outlets. For example, if you’re trying to position yourself as a boutique or high-end retailer, having too much product on the floor can lead to a decline in brand perception. Thus, a discount retailer should pack their shop with merchandise while a high-end boutique should keep its selection sparse and curated.
Creative Cross-merchandising is the Key
Yes, your store needs to be grouped and organized into neat sections and departments so customers know where to look for what. But another good strategy is to place products that go well with each other in a single display, even if they don’t belong in the same section or department. This is called cross-merchandising.
For example, you could showcase winter clothes with matching purses and accessories. You could go more functional and display socks with shoe horns and shoe polishes or, if you’re a gaming store, place compatible game CDs with respective gaming consoles.
Appeal in More Ways Than One
Yes, store design and layout is a visual element. But factors like scent, sound, taste, and touch can give rise to unique perceptions and help in creating an intended look and feel. Here are some examples:
- Scent – Whether you’re in the food industry or not, you can use smell to draw customers in. While restaurants and bakeries have an edge here, even clothing stores and hotels can add aroma to their products to create a sense of familiarity in their customers.
- Sound – You probably already play music in your store, but the right playlist is not the one you like. It depends on the kind of atmosphere you want to create, so pick your music wisely.
- Taste – If you’re selling edibles, taste-testing stations are a great way to engage your customers. And if you don’t sell, edible products, offer nibbles and drinks that your shoppers can enjoy while browsing.
- Touch – Display your products out in the open so that shoppers can test or play with them. This hands-on vibe enhances the shopper’s experience by removing the wall of suspense between the shopper and the product.
Track Your Efforts
You’ve applied the right floor plan, you’ve made the right display choices, you’ve even cross-merchandised, and you’ve appealed to multiple shopper senses in your store. But it doesn’t end here.
With the help of your staff, you’ve got to observe how people behave in your store. Notice how they spend their time and what they do while they’re inside. Collect metrics on sales, traffic, and dwell time and use them to make constant changes to your store. Use this data to make the entire shopping experience smoother for your shopper. You can guide them through the store like fashion stores in malls. You can make the payment process hassle-free like so many online casinos that let their patrons pay using mobile. Finally, you can ask your shoppers directly as to what they’d like to improve. After all, they’re the ones who are actually running the store.