You know that feeling when you go into a cluttered store and immediately feel overwhelmed? When we’re frustrated, we want to get out ASAP. Sometimes we even avoid stores that look too stressful to navigate. None of this is good news for retailers who want our business. Retailers, it’s time to rethink your layout, because a disorganized floor plan is a sales-killer.
Floor plans play a major role in customer experience
Customers may enter your store hoping to find something specific, but there are those who are also open to suggestion. What unexpected surprises do you have in store? Give them both and make it easy, and you’ll increase sales.
Give them a comprehensively pleasant experience, and they’ll be back, again and again. Experience blends functionality, aesthetics, and psychology to create an exciting, tempting atmosphere that encourages browsing (and buying). Customers also want to try on or try out products. Successful floor plans are designed to accommodate your customer’s every desire.
Strategic product placement feeds your customer’s desire to find something new. Place your most-wanted merchandise toward the back or sides, so shoppers can “discover” additional items as they pass by. Give them a final opportunity to buy at checkout, by displaying last-minute impulse items.
Floor plans also create paths to products
A well-designed floor plan should make your store easy to navigate. It will improve sales by leading customers to products they’re looking for and revealing impulse items. Generally speaking, layouts follow one of three patterns, depending on the size of your store and what you sell:
- A grid uses aisles lined with shelf-stocked merchandise such as groceries, books, hardware, or personal care items.
- A loop leads shoppers in a more-or-less circular pattern, taking them past wall-mounted as well as interior displays. American shoppers automatically head to the right when entering a store, so your loop should start on the right with featured merchandise, then run counter-clockwise around your store.
- A free-form layout encourages customers to wend their way through and around displays.
Custom store fixtures make the most effective use of space and allow for storewide branding, both of which enhance the shopping experience. Using unique colors and a distinctive décor theme show off your store’s personality and ensure your entire space has a coordinated, memorable look and feel.
Your checkout counter puts the finishing touch on each customer’s experience. Size and configuration can vary, but make sure it’s in the right place. Whatever layout you choose for your store, your cash wrap should be at the end of the customer’s journey – usually that’s near the front, to the left of the entrance.
Wayfinding enhances your floor plan
You’ve chosen and arranged your fixtures and displays to create an inviting, well-organized floor plan. But you can do more. Signage directs customers to specific areas, and it informs them about merchandise on display. You can use strings of lights or bold colors to lead customers, or identify different departments.
With a solid floor plan and some imagination, shoppers will look forward to entering your store and exploring your merchandise.