The layout of your store is extremely important to your future success. Some would even argue that it’s just as important as the service or product you’re going to sell. Even if you do find some measure of success, if your store layout could be better, than your entire operation could be doing better, too.
Here are five questions you should ask yourself before creating your layout.
What Kind of Floor Plan Would Be Best?
Far too many store owners don’t even know there are proven options for the layouts of their businesses. Instead, they simply put their things where it seems to make the most sense and hope for the best.
This is not how a successful store is run.
Instead, you should explore the four main options that have proven to work in the past:
- Straight Floor Plan – This one involves shelves arranged in straight lines to support an organized flow of traffic. It’s considered the most economical store layout and is generally used in large retail stores, supermarkets, and those that sell a large variety of merchandise.
- Diagonal Floor Plan – With this one, you’re given more visibility for both your employees and shoppers. It’s considered best for self-service shops, smaller retail spaces and other stores wherein employees need to closely monitor customers.
- Angular Floor Plan – This layout consists of curves and angles that give it a very sophisticated, modern vibe. According to research, the angular floor plan is usually implemented by high-end retailers. That’s because it decreases the amount of display area but draws focus to your most popular items.
- Geometric Floor Plan – The geometric floor plan makes use of racks and other fixtures to provide a unique feel and design. Use this layout if you want to show off particularly trendy products.
While you may wish to customize your chosen floor plan to some degree, at least you’ll be working off of a proven framework.
Which Direction Do You Want Shoppers to Go?
Though there’s a lot of debate about this topic, research seems to suggest that, here in Australia, people tend to move to the left because that’s the side of the road we drive on. Therefore, the theory goes, you should lead shoppers to the left when they enter your store.
It’s worth doing some testing in your store to see which direction works better, but begin with the left.
What Do You Want Your Employees Doing in the Store?
For the vast majority of you, your store will be best served by having your employees move around, instead of just staying behind the counter. This will make it much more inviting.
Your store layout should make this easy to do. Ideally, when people look in your store, your employees should be moving around as much as the customers.
How Can You Leverage the Rest of People’s Senses?
People are more than just visual creatures, so think about what else you can do to take advantage of these senses.
For example, you could pick a fun playlist and use your store layout so the speakers spread the music everywhere.
Everyone knows that bakeries draw in customers from all around because of how amazing they smell. Now, that doesn’t mean your consumer electronics store should smell like cookies, but it wouldn’t hurt to think about how you could appeal to people’s senses.
Analyse Your Results
As we brought up with the directional question, do some experimenting. Don’t just assume that the first choices you make based on the above will be the right ones.
Utilize your employees for this purpose, too. They’re the ones in the trenches every single day, so their input could be very helpful.
Although these questions may seem simple, asking them will lead to a better store layout and, thus, greater profits.