Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers opening brick-and-mortar stores had faced increasing challenges from the e-commerce industry. The need to adapt to a more digital way of selling and reaching customers became more apparent to traditional store operations once the pandemic started.
However, while many retailers have since closed up shop altogether or opted for a solely online presence, retail still has life. Those businesses that prefer a more customer-focused selling approach in order to thrive under the right circumstances.
One way retailers can make an impact is by ensuring their store layout flows and works well for employees and customers. 64% of customers will leave a store if the layout is messed up or unorganized, and there appears to be no logical flow in how it is designed. This can mean a massive hit on your takings and your customer base. But how can you best design or redesign your store for maximum impact in a positive way?
Consider the store traffic flow
Have you thought about the natural instinct when entering a store? How are you guiding customers into the store? Try it yourself and see which direction you take, clockwise or counterclockwise. Most U.S. shoppers will automatically go counterclockwise. This is due to factors such as more of the population being right-handed and driving on the right-hand side of the road, while the opposite will be true in the UK for most people who drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Consider your floor plan
There are a few different types of floor plans you can choose from. One where’d you have everything in straight lines to encourage a smooth flowing one direction around the store such as you would see in supermarkets, a free flow plan allows you to use your creativity to see the best layout for what you sell, or you could choose a geometric or angular floor plan for a more modern look. To mock up how these would look in real life before you put pictures into place and to avoid mistakes, you could use a digital twins company to help you bring your floor plan to life digitally and assess what would work best for your products.
Maximize your floor plan while still leaving ample space for movement. You want to fit in as much as possible but also need to ensure you leave enough room for customers to move around freely. For example, those who feel squashed or packed into the aisle could likely abandon their shop. The same if people are falling over displays, catching prams on racks, or don’t have room to maneuver mobility aids or scooters.
Your displays do not need to be in a store window if you don’t have one, although if you do, you should use it to its full effect. But having a designated space to create a display to showcase your products safely is vital. It can be in the window, the center of the story facing the entrance, at till points, or taking over the rear wall. Make sure it doesn’t cause an obstruction or security issue and allows people to navigate the store while still being able to stop and check out the display.
Designing your store layout and features takes time and consideration. Using forecasts and digital models can help you assess how people will interact with your store and can allow you to design the best layout that entices people through the doors and not forces them out for the wrong reasons.