Think of a big retail store, any that comes to mind. Something along the lines of an Apple Store.
When you think about it, what does that bring up in your mind? If you examine the Apple Store closely you see an environment that attracts consumers, entices them to stay long, and tempts them to be impulsive with purchase.
These same elements exist in every successful store layout, and that it’s crucial to plan the layout of your store as a way to differentiate yourself from the competition and maximize consumer experience.
How do you do it, particularly if you don’t hold the same vision as Steve Jobs?
It’s a tall order, but certainly achievable… and easier than you might think.
So whether you’re designing a new layout or scrutinizing an existing one, these best practices will keep you on the right track for getting the best results:
Customers entering your store need to be welcomed with an eye-catching display; they may walk quickly through the store and buy less, otherwise. Notice how the Disney Store in Times Square sets up bright lights and a large electronic billboard at its entrances to attract the attention of tourists.
A problem with many new stores is that they jam the entrance with merchandise and high racks: there is a decompression zone few feet away from the entrance where consumers do not notice your products. It is important to make sure the entrance is not too crowded and that signing, flooring, lights and walls work together to make the takeoff as smooth as possible, while telling a single luring story.
Merchandise outposts fixtures are displays of product placed in or near the aisles. Their location reminds consumers that they need something they were not looking for initially and therefore promote impulsive buying behavior. They are also ideal for testing product affinity, and become essential during the holiday season. Another attraction is that they create a visual break in between aisles.
Custom merchandise display units also raise the visibility of the product and create stopping points for the customer. In fact, people might not notice your important products in aisle shelves, but a custom on floor display with marketed advantages can make a significant difference on product impression and sales. Also, these displays can be customized according to the layout and theme of a particular store, according to Creative Displays Now!
The layout should allow for adequate walking space. Aisles must be spaced out to allow traffic flow in either direction. If you plan to provide shopping carts, then the aisles must be wide enough to create space for consumers to park a cart near the product display without disrupting the traffic flow.
If you’re planning to add seats and benches to your store, make sure to space them out appropriately. And make sure they are facing the merchandise to ensure seated consumers remain focused on the products.
This is a given. What you want to reinforce is that the environment is appropriate for your buyers. You can play in-store music, provide free WiFi and do anything that slows a shopper’s sense of time.
Staff should also be doing more than just welcoming customers. They should be exhibiting a strong understanding of your chain’s products, and should be willing to go the extra mile for making customers feel relaxed. Such attentive behavior will contribute positively to the store’s environment.