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What Is a Diagonal Floor Plan in Retail?

Here’s why your products may sell better at a 45° angle

A line of puffer jackets in colors of the rainbow hang on a clothing rack in a display window.Customers like a new take on something tried and true, including their shopping experience at your store. A diagonal floor plan is an easy way to freshen up your space without completely reinventing it. 

Aesthetics aside, a diagonal floor plan also has a very practical reason for its existence: It makes products more visible to customers and encourages browsing. And since choosing the right floor plan for your retail business can have a massive impact on your customer’s experience (and thus your revenue), its merits are worth exploring.

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What is a diagonal floor plan?

Pros and cons of diagonal floor plan

Item placement on a diagonal floor plan

Optimize your new floor plan with a digital twin

Ready to take your understanding of store planning to the next level? Check out Store Planning: The Ultimate Guide for Retail.

What is a diagonal floor plan?

A diagonal floor plan is used to maximize product visibility by arranging product shelves and displays at an angle. Think of it as the traditional grid floor plan’s playful cousin. A diagonal floor plan can hold a large inventory the same way a grid can, but also allows users to move freely between the aisles, which encourages browsing and foot traffic.

Visibility is the key word here — because a diagonal layout is meant to encourage weaving in and out of the aisles, it gives customers an opportunity to impulse buy thoughtfully placed items on displays at the end of the shelves. By the time they make their way back down the aisles to check out, they may have discovered not-so-hidden-gems that they had no idea they needed but now cannot live without.

Bookstores and libraries often use a diagonal floor plan to make book browsing feel less restricted. Barnes & Noble uses this style successfully in their kids and games section to capture the attention of younger audiences who may feel intimidated by straight-up and down shelves.

Specialty item stores (think wine shops, shoe stores, plant nurseries, collectibles/hobby stores, as well as furniture stores) sometimes use this floor plan to showcase their wide inventory. The diagonal floor plan is often used in combination with other styles in big box stores, like Target and Walmart, which will sometimes use a diagonal floor plan to display featured or seasonal items. 

Most diagonal floor plans have shelves placed at 45° with the main aisle down the middle, but you can play around with placing shelves at different angles from each other, especially if your store stocks a lot of seasonal or limited-edition items that need to catch the customer’s eye.

You can learn more about creating a perfect retail map, digitally, in our ebook.

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Pros and cons of diagonal floor plans

Pros

  • Room for inventory: Offers plenty of shelf space — albeit at an angle — which allows you to stock lots of products.
  • High product visibility: Very easy to shop due to high product visibility and good customer flow.
  • Easy to recreate: No need for a lot of complicated design or outside-of-the-box display solutions.
  • Encourages foot traffic: Aisles are clear and easy to navigate.
  • Loss prevention: High visibility into the aisles discourages theft.

Cons

  • May not appeal to mission-driven shoppers who know what they want and don’t want to spend time browsing the aisles.
  • May not work well for boutique stores or stores with small inventory because traditional shelving may not be the best choice for rare, bespoke items that would need to take center stage in a store.
  • If the shelving is not placed at a perfect diagonal, you can inadvertently create some awkward corners that interrupt the flow of the store. Be mindful of shelf spacing to eliminate this issue.

Item placement on a diagonal floor plan

While it’s clear that a diagonal floor plan can be beneficial for retailers, its success very much depends on how well it’s laid out. Since customers may not make it into every side aisle, consider placing smaller enticing products (candy, snacks) or inventory on sale on corner displays facing the middle aisle and near the checkout. This will help you capture impulse shoppers who want one more quick item to round out their trip. You can also use small, eye-catching displays with clearance items in the main aisle as a “speedbump” to slow down the customer and encourage browsing. 

For high-ticket items, use the power wall — usually the first display wall to the right of the entrance — and the store perimeters. While a diagonal floor plan is great for the wandering shopper, not all customers will make it to the back of the store, so you will want to put expensive products within their (and your store associates’) sightline when they walk through the door. 

Optimize your new floor plan with a digital twin

No matter which floor plan you land on, AR tools can help you make the most of it. Creating a digital twin for your physical retail space opens up a world of engaging experiences for your customers and a valuable source of data for you. Read about how to implement augmented reality in retail in our ebook. 

Are you ready to learn more? Get in touch with Resonai today and set up a free demonstration.

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