September 13, 2022
The layout of a retail store can have a massive impact on its bottom line. In fact, research has shown that how a store utilizes space directly influences customer loyalty and overall sales — making it an essential aspect of any effective retail strategy.
Though the arrangement of items for sale can vary wildly, certain types of store layouts have proven to be particularly effective at influencing shopper behavior. Review the options below to find the arrangement that best suits your business’ goals.
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A retail store layout (or store design) is how a consumer brick and mortar business utilizes its space to create a desired effect on the customer, usually to inspire them to make a purchase. A store’s layout includes two primary components: the store design and the customer flow.
In terms of influence on customer behavior, store layout is among the most powerful tools in the retailer’s toolkit. If used effectively, it will maximize space usage, enhance the customer experience, and increase the likelihood that a consumer buys.
Although improving a store’s layout has traditionally been about making physical changes to the design, recent advances in augmented reality (AR) are opening up a new world of possibilities for retailers.
Read our latest ebook, A Guide to the New Digital Infrastructure for Malls & Retail Properties, to learn about how you can leverage this tech to improve your store’s performance:
Perhaps the most popular of the types of retail store layout, the grid arranges the floor space into long, rectangular aisles that customers can navigate between as they see fit. The grid is one of the most popular layouts, used by many supermarkets, pharmacies, and retail stores.
The free-flow layout doesn’t direct traffic through the explicit organization of the space. Instead, it uses creative aesthetic and design choices to engage customers — and allows them to move around the shop however they want. But this open-endedness comes with a price, as it’s difficult for retailers with large spaces and significant product volumes to use the free-flow layout without creating a chaotic customer experience. For this reason, the layout is most often seen in smaller, boutique stores.
The straight (or spine) layout uses one primary aisle to direct traffic through the length of the store, usually taking them from the front to the back. The straight layout is a favorite of small department stores, grocery stores, and markets.
The loop (or racetrack) layout arranged the floorplan into a large loop that circles the entire retail space. One of the most well-known and successful implementations of this floor plan is by IKEA, whose design guides on a circular path through the whole store as you shop.
Angular pattern is similar to the free-flow layout in that it does not impose a path through the store on the shopper. Instead, it tries to encourage customers to move through the space using rounded (angled), stand-alone tables, fixtures, displays, etc. The angular layout, like the free flow layout, is most often used by small, high-end shops.
As we mentioned above, optimizing a store’s layout is no longer just about moving furniture and painting walls. While those things will always be necessary, the most innovative brick-and-mortar retailers these days are also leveraging AR to upgrade the in-store experience. Using this tech, retailers are engaging their customers with interactive games, hybrid physical/virtual exhibits, and immersive product displays.
Ready to learn more? Read our new guide to see with this approach could do for your business:
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