It can be tempting to get caught up in the excitement of opening your first retail store and forget about the logistics. How should you lay out your products? What should the customer experience be like? Should your store even have chairs or is that only appropriate for cafes? There are many factors to consider when planning your retail store layout, and it’s often easier to start from the ground up than to try and change things later on when you’ve already invested time and money into designing, building, and promoting it.
Step 1: Get a Strategic
Getting started can be tricky, so it’s always best to start with a goal in mind. We recommend figuring out what your main intention is before you begin any sketching or planning. What are you trying to sell? What kind of customers will you attract? The more data-driven and deliberate you can be, the more likely it is that your store will work out in your favor.
Step 2: Gather Market Data
To get an idea of what your target market looks like, take a look at stores that are similar to yours in terms of style, size, and location. You’ll want to pay attention not only to what is selling well and what isn’t but also to how these stores display their items. Notice if there are any interesting features or layouts you can incorporate into your store. Gather all of this data and then make adjustments to suit your needs when you’re deciding on the layout.
Step 3: Decide on your Customer Target
It’s important to know who your customer is so that you can cater to their needs and desires. In some cases, a store will have more than one type of customer (women’s clothing, family-oriented items). However, it is also important not to lose focus on which customer is most desirable. These should be decided in what are called quadrants. Generally there are four types of customers: price-sensitive, fashion-forward, practical, and quality have driven.
Step 4: Choose Your Product Line
This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when setting up your store. You need to know what types of items you’re going to be selling so you can focus on those items and give them a prime placement in your store. A retail business with a large selection will mean a large amount of floor space will be used, which may not work well for smaller businesses or stores that are too small.
Step 5: Define your Brand Personality
Who are you? Who is your customer? In order to create a layout that will not only work with your product line, but also be reflective of your brand’s personality, it is important to define these questions.
Step 6: Decide on the Location of your Store
If you are planning to open a new retail store, it’s important to find the right location for your needs. You need to think about how accessible is the site, how will people find out about your products, and how well does this location fit with what you want from your business?
Step 7: Design your retail store layout around customers, not products.
Customers can have specific needs, so be sure that your retail store layout is customer-driven. Here are some things you should consider in creating your retail store’s layout:
Determine how customers enter and exit the store. Entryways should be near doorways, while exits should be near doors and cash registers to eliminate wait times. If a customer has to backtrack through the store in order to get out, they’re more likely to turn around and leave without purchasing anything.
Step 8: Reflect on The Big Picture
When you’ve finally finished designing your perfect layout, sit back and take a look. Reflect on what it is that you want your customers to get out of their experience when they walk into your store. The intention behind this design will help you make small tweaks that can have large effects on your overall customer experience.