7 Tips for an Efficient Retail Store Layout
When COVID-19 put stores and sales on hold in early 2020, many retailers saw an opportunity to tweak their sales floors and customize their layouts. Others went for a complete makeover and closed for weeks — if not months — to make it happen.
By now, most retailers have reopened and welcomed customers back through their doors. However, there’s still time to make changes to your store and create a more efficient layout.
Here are seven tips to inspire your creative side and design a floor plan that boosts sales, maximizes customer satisfaction and keeps them coming back for more, time and again.
1. Stock Shelves Properly
First and foremost, learn to properly stock store shelves. Having too much product on display can make your store feel cluttered and lead to a decline in brand perception. Meanwhile, having too little may discourage shoppers from buying multiple items and can, therefore, decrease sales. Ultimately, the amount of stock you display will depend on store size, the image you want to project and the type of experience you want to create. Understanding your customers can also help you determine the best approach.
2. Strategically Place Signage
In-store signage is one of the best ways to guide customer behavior and make store layouts more efficient, but you must be strategic about placement. For instance, directional signs can point people to restrooms, special aisles and the cash register. However, they’ll do little to improve the flow of traffic if they’re unreadable or hidden from view. Use bright, arrow-shaped floor stickers and place all other signage above aisles to help shoppers navigate the store.
3. Showcase Impulse Buys
Impulse buys jumped 18% during the pandemic, and retailers noticed. Now, brands are using their store layout to further increase these kinds of sales. For instance, many utilize the checkout area to showcase popular “treat yourself” purchases. Others use cross-merchandising to stock shelves with products that complement each other. For example, you might display clothes with matching accessories, shoes and purses to encourage spending and boost sales.
4. Create an Ideal Layout
How do you want shoppers to flow through your store? Would you rather them all go in one direction? Studies show that people naturally tend to look to their left first, so if you want them to move counterclockwise, you could use a forced-path layout to create a set route around the store. For instance, IKEA makes customers walk through the entire store to get to the exit, which encourages unplanned purchases and streamlines foot traffic. There are plenty of layouts to choose from, but your store’s size and shape may help narrow down options.
5. Give Customers Personal Space
Giving shoppers space to acclimate to your store’s interior boosts customer satisfaction and can even encourage them to spend more time shopping. Provide more personal space by creating decompression zones at the entrance and throughout the store. Minimize signage and, depending on the building’s size, reduce inventory to allow shoppers room to decompress without feeling rushed or crowded. Odds are they’ll spend more money and be more likely to return as a result.
6. Periodically Change Displays
How often you change your displays depends on what kind of store you run and how often you see repeat customers. However, many retailers recommend changing some part of the store at least once a week. For instance, you could swap out mannequins’ clothing or add some holiday decor to signs and window displays. If you’re on a busy street corner, you might want to change displays even more often. Note changes in sales and traffic and use an app like Evernote to keep a detailed record of what works and what doesn’t.
7. Appeal to Multiple Senses
Most retail store layouts and displays rely on visuals to appeal to customers. However, including scent, touch, sound and taste can help create a more immersive experience that encourages shoppers to stay longer and purchase more. For instance, you might scent the baby good department with baby powder to direct parents to the correct aisles. Other retailers, like Apple, take a more hands-on approach by providing unboxed sample products for customers to test and play with.
Always Be Improving
As you work to design a more efficient layout, remember to track and measure your efforts to ensure you’re implementing the best strategies possible. Study your customers and pay attention to where they go, where they linger and which displays attract the most attention. Use foot traffic analytics solutions to gain deeper insight on shopper habits, improve your strategy and win more sales.
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