How to Make Your Retail Store Layout Plan

How to Make Your Retail Store Layout Plan
May 02, 2020

A well-designed retail store layout is very important to maximize the revenue of the physical store. By developing a layout plan, retailers can strategically guide shoppers to high-priority products, drive impulse sales, manage customer flow, stay organized, and create a positive customer experience.

1. Decide on the floor plan of the retail store

Most retail stores, regardless of size, use one of the six basic retail store layout types: grid, circular, free-flowing, diagonal, forced path, and angular. The type of layout you use depends on your space, the shopping experience you are trying to create, and the products you sell.

For example, grocery stores often use grid layouts because they are predictable and efficient in navigation. On the other hand, boutiques usually use more creative layouts that allow companies to highlight different products.

Choose a floor plan that suits your business to help you maximize profits and create a positive customer experience.

Remember, your retail store layout guides product placement, guides customer flow, and defines the overall look and feel of your store, so it’s worth thinking about. Many factors affect your choice of floor plan, including the size and shape of your sales floor, the type of products you sell, and even the customers you want to attract. Keep these factors in mind as we explore each floor plan option in detail.

Also, don't feel confined to one retail floor plan or another. You can always choose to use a hybrid floor plan combining two or more layout types in the same space.

Grid Floor Plan

A grid plan, also called a linear layout, is a plan that uses a grid-like layout to create a series of parallel aisles and displays. If you have a lot of products, grid layouts will be great because they make the most of every inch of available floor space, including corners. The grid layout facilitates customer navigation and shopkeeper classification. In addition, they provide a large number of end caps and feature wall exposures for promotional items and seasonal products.

Since you can find grid layouts in most grocery stores, hypermarkets, and convenience stores, they create a familiar feeling among shoppers and can be easily navigated. However, because of this familiarity, the grid layout tends to deliver an out-of-the-box experience.

Commonly found in: grocery stores, hypermarkets and convenience stores, retailers that require a lot of shelf space

Best for: Shelf stock products, such as books, toys, specialty foods, hardware, and household items

Advantages: easy to navigate, can accommodate high traffic, mature sales skills, encourage browsing, maximize product space, and cultivate customer familiarity

Disadvantages: Lack of imagination, moving around can cause customer frustration, difficulty in launching new products, and will stimulate rush shopping behavior

2. Put Your Retail Store Layout Down on Paper

Once you have considered all the floor layout options available to you, you can begin to take steps to arrange one in your space. To start implementing the store layout, it’s best to write the layout on paper first. When everything is in place, this will provide you with a bird's-eye view of the store, help you understand your space, and guide your installation process.

You need to start with a blank blueprint for the store. If you have a copy of the store blueprint, start with it. If not, please draw your own sales floor map. Grid paper is very useful for this, or you can use online store design tools such as SmartSheet.

Your blueprint should include everything from checkout counters and tables to built-in shelves and shelf space. Anything that will be a permanent part of the store layout should be drawn into your schematic. You also need to make sure that everything you draw is drawn to scale so that you know exactly how much space you have.

After sketching out the shop, you can start experimenting with how different layouts work in your space. As we discussed above, you can choose a single streamlined store design or choose a mixed layout. This decision will depend entirely on your space and how the different floor plans fit and function.

For example, a home furnishings store may choose to place shelves in a grid layout in one area of ​​its storefront, but due to its irregular shape, it may use a free-flowing or circular floor plan in another area. Consider your space and experiment with different floor plans, so you can find a floor plan that suits your store and creates the experience you want.

3. Consider Traffic Flow and Customer Behaviors

One of the biggest things that your store layout will affect is customer traffic. Your store layout should be coordinated with the natural way shoppers flow in your space to avoid discomfort and evoke a positive customer experience. A layout that conforms to your customers' natural shopping habits will help you create a comfortable and natural layout, and can drive your sales.

The main customer behaviors that you should understand and adapt to in the floor plan include:

Customer Behavior #1: Unzip when entering

Customer Behavior #2: Turn right

Customer Behavior #3: Personal Space

Customer Behavior #4: Click and collect orders

Use speed bumps to control customer traffic

Although your store layout should adapt to the natural behavior of shoppers, you can also use your layout to control customer flow and create certain behaviors. Speed bumps are a great way to slow down shoppers, get them to interact with your products, and drive sales.

Speed bumps help attract attention to surrounding products and create more customer interest. For example, in a clothing store, a cluster of mannequins displayed on the table will make customers more inclined to stop and look at the mannequins and then explore the products on the table. Or, a paper store might put a card table in the middle of the store, where customers would stop to see all the options.

Speed bumps look like anything, from desktop displays to focal points to temporary point-of-purchase (POP) displays. What makes a design feature a speed bump is whether it causes people to slow down and get involved.

4. Position Your Store Checkout Area

The cash package, also called the cash register or cash register, is the area where your POS system or cash register and customers pay for goods.

Generally speaking, the front left of the retail store is the ideal location for the cash register. When shoppers enter the store, they naturally drift to the right, then make a circle, and then leave on the left. The checkout counter at the front left of the store puts the last step of the shopping experience on the natural exit path of the customer. In addition, this location will not distract people from shopping, nor will it occupy the main product display space.

Although the front left placement is best for most businesses, for some stores, it makes sense to place the cash package at the back of the store. This is very useful for large retailers with many employees in the store at once, because it frees up product space in front of the store. However, for small retailers with limited staff, placing it at the back is impractical, because this positioning leaves the front of the store unattended.

You also need to make sure to provide enough space for cash packaging. For small stores that do not use a shopping cart, please use a cash register large enough to store products while customers continue shopping. Pick up more products empty-handed, which leads to more sales. In addition, please ensure that the checkout counter is large enough to effectively handle the checkout process and leave room for customers to put their handbags.

5. Position Products for Maximum Exposure

Once you outline your floor plan, it's time to start product mapping. When placing products, you should ensure that you place them in a way that promotes customer engagement, creates a positive experience, and drives sales.

When planning the whereabouts of the product, you should consider the following points:

Choose fixtures that are versatile and can display a range of products: Your business’s products are constantly changing, and you want to make sure that you don’t have to keep buying new fixtures to display them.

Mark out a section to display special products: You need to make sure that there is a designated area for merchandise sales. I recommend placing your sales section at the back of the store and keeping it relatively small to attract people through your space and avoid focusing on full-price displays.

Create a space for seasonal and limited-available products: You want to highlight new, limited or seasonal products, so make sure to provide a good space for these products to attract attention and promote participation.

To create a product map as efficiently as possible, use the following principles to guide your process:

Use area design and sales strategy

In regional design, you classify products as "regions", such as kitchen and cooking, home decoration or skirts and pants. The number of products determines the size of each area.

The partition design makes it easier for shoppers to find what they want, which will lead to more transactions and greater sales. Not only that, but your customers will also get a better shopping experience in your store.

Put bestsellers in the main area

The main area is located at the back of the store and is where you display best-selling products or essentials. For example, you will often find bread, milk, and cheese behind the grocery store.

6. Place Fixtures and Displays in Your Store Layout

Once you understand the general store design and product mapping plan, it's time to consider store fixtures and displays.

Fixtures: permanent-fixed-part of the store, such as lighting, counters, fixed shelving units and changing rooms

Display shelf: used to place products and is often movable, multi-functional and customizable. Think about it: modular units, gondolas, tables, slatted walls and hangers.

When equipping your store with fixtures and display racks, first invest in high-quality fixtures, then add reusable flexible display racks, and then look for affordable temporary display racks from your product supplier.

Invest in devices that define your brand

Your store’s walls, floors, fixtures, and display racks should create a coordinated background that can define your brand and make your products popular.

The ultimate purpose of fixtures and display devices is to place your products in the front and center. However, at the same time, the overall appearance, shape and finish of your lamps and displays are your biggest brand promotion opportunity. Choose cohesive fixtures and displays that are in harmony with your product range but don't overwhelm them, such as the successful appearance below:

Use showcase to enhance your unique product

In addition to choosing displays and fixtures that can enhance your brand, you should also choose displays and fixtures that can enhance your product. Different products are more suitable for different types of display strategies. For example, a clothing store may want to have hanging space, while a pottery store may want to insist on using shelves and tables.

In addition, your fixtures and displays must be able to withstand the weight and size of the product. Harder and heavier items should have sturdy shelves, while lighter products can use floating shelves or furniture pieces.