March 9, 2023
Store planning is both an art and a science. Elements of behavioral psychology, geometry, and statistics combine with aesthetics and color theory to produce the physical and emotional relationship shoppers attach to your retail location. Plan well, and you can guide the feelings they experience within your store, direct them to critical inventory, and improve customer satisfaction along with your bottom line. Do it poorly, and your customers will end up confused, frustrated, and likely take their business elsewhere. Read on to discover expert tips for creating a store plan that will meet your KPIs while ensuring customers keep coming back.
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Store planning is how retailers arrange their layout to optimize metrics like sales revenue, foot traffic, and activations while ensuring aisles are easily navigable and accessible for customers. Planners must consider the following when developing their store layout strategy:
Technology like augmented reality can aid store planners in developing the best strategies for highlighting inventory, improving customer throughput, and maximizing KPIs. Download our free ebook to learn more.
Choosing the right layout for your store depends on several factors, such as the size of your location and the type of products you offer. If you work for a small-to-mid-sized retail store or boutique specializing in luxury products, consider implementing an angular floor plan.
Angular floor plans take a more free-form approach to store planning and design, utilizing round tables, angled fixtures, and even shelves on the walls to guide shoppers through the store. The placement of tables and the curved design encourages shoppers to examine objects more closely, making the shopping experience more organic and intimate than in a typical store layout.
Find ways to optimize your angular floor plan by reading What Is an Angular Floor Plan in Retail?
Not to be confused with the angular floor plan, the diagonal floor plan is a spin on the traditional grid layout. By placing shelves at a 45° angle, retailers can increase the visibility of their products, boosting sales while simultaneously improving loss prevention efforts.
The diagonal floor plan is perfect for retail locations that need to display a large volume of inventory without the need for bespoke shelving units or fixtures. Libraries, bookstores, wine and liquor stores, shoe stores, and hobby shops make great candidates for a diagonal floor plan, as they draw customers in to explore a wide inventory of similarly-shaped products.
Read What Is a Diagonal Floor Plan in Retail? to discover the best item placement methods for a diagonal floor plan.
There are a wealth of floor plan options available to meet your retail needs. If the angular or diagonal floor plans aren’t what you’re looking for, consider implementing one of the following:
Discover which layout is right for your retail business by reading The 6 Retail Store Floor Plans Every Pro Needs to Know.
Your store layout shouldn’t just look pretty on a page – it needs to be optimized to prevent foot traffic from jamming up during peak business hours. Examine where your most popular products are placed and ensure they are logically spaced out among less-trafficked areas to keep any one section from becoming overloaded with shoppers. It will be vital to examine your daily, weekly, and seasonal traffic patterns and iterate on your layout to hone in on the optimal design.
Your traffic patterns can also provide insight into staffing and inventory needs. Suppose your daily foot traffic tells you a specific section is getting slammed on the weekend afternoons. In that case, it may be best to provide additional staff coverage and reschedule restocks to other times of the day.
Discover more about what customer foot traffic can tell you by reading 4 Retail Store Traffic Patterns Store Planners Need to Know.
After coming up with your retail layout, you can develop a retail map for customers to use while they’re in the store. These maps are an approximation of your physical layout, containing helpful information such as where to locate departments or restrooms, as well as any necessary emergency information.
Some businesses are experimenting with augmented reality maps that customers download to their mobile devices. For example, Home Depot updated its mobile app with AR-powered inventory location and wayfinding capabilities, allowing shoppers to navigate their chosen store, get directions, read product descriptions, and more.
Read What Is a Retail Map? to learn more about other practical implementations and how to make your own.
Store planners aren’t just responsible for designing the layout. They must ensure that the architecture used for tables, lighting fixtures, and even the store exterior is aesthetically pleasing and reinforces the brand.
Choosing the proper architecture requires a keen understanding of your brand, your customers, and the emotions you’re attempting to evoke during each visit. For example, modern black tables with minimalist designs can provide a luxurious air and would feel out of place in a sporting goods store. Likewise, Costco’s use of industrial shelves combines its open-air layout and regular inventory rotation to make the store feel like a perpetual bargain hunt. Your choice of architecture should form an instant connection with your customers and be easily replicable across locations.
Visit How Retail Store Architecture Affects Sales to discover how Apple’s deft use of architecture made it one of the most successful retail stores in the world.
Every retail location is different and requires a unique touch to maximize the effectiveness of the space. That said, there are tips you can apply when planning your store layout, regardless of your business model, building size, or location:
Discover more insights into effective retail design by reading What Is Retail Store Design?
Crafting the optimal store plan requires a deep understanding of your customers, as well as the ability to try new strategies and make adjustments based on the results. Without iteration, your store layout will stagnate. However, knowing what to iterate on will be challenging without the right tools in place.
New technologies like augmented reality provide retailers with the data-driven tools they need to track shopper behavior and apply this data to maximize sales. This tech also opens new doors to additional advertising revenue streams, giving you a financial edge over the competition. Download our ebook and discover how this new digital infrastructure revolution can carry your business into the future.
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