The Beginners Guide Retail Space Planning

If you’re reading this then you’re in the exciting position of planning out your new store, or your existing store’s new look and feel. This is a moment of exceptional promise. A great deal of research has been conducted on this specific topic which itself is a testament to how important it is. Good retail space planning can be the difference between profitability and closure so it isn’t something to be rushed. To help ease you into the right kinds of questions to ask, we’ve prepared a summary of what questions you should consider asking yourself.

Retail space planning, broken down

There are three primary floor plans which are employed by retailers and while this doesn’t mean you have to adhere to any of them, it should help give you an idea of what others are doing. These are grid floors, loop floors and a free flowing floor plan.

There are three primary floor plans which are employed by retailers and while this doesn’t mean you have to adhere to any of them, it should help give you an idea of what others are doing. These are grid floors, loop floors and a free flowing floor plan.

Floor plan

Image from http://fitsmallbusiness.com

As outlined in the image, each layout style has its speciality but depending on your available space you could create an amalgamation or something entirely unique. What really matters is that a retail space planner takes into account how shoppers usually move through a store and which products you most want to highlight. Added to this, you’ll want to optimally use limited space while still allowing shoppers to feel comfortable.

Commit your retail space plan to paper

You don’t have to be a professional interior designer to begin planning out your potential store layout, so long as you understand what you’re drawing, you’re off to a good start. Play with different layouts by combining the elements from above. Visit your competitors’ stores and move through them, jotting down what you like and do not like throughout your experience. Add these notes to your plan and isolate how you can ensure the positives from your tour of your competitors’ stores are in your own planning and avoid their mistakes.
It’s also essential to create a traffic flow chart, to establish how you ideally want customers to experience your store. Which direction will they move in? Where might they take more time? What products are your hot sales items and where should they be located considering this flow of moment?

Consider psychological construction in your retail space planning

Again, there is a wellspring of research on this topic, and you’d do well to read carefully through the higher quality publications around this. Visual examples can also tell you a great deal more than words can since you’ll automatically know what’s right just by seeing it. In a nutshell, however, your goals should look something like this:

  • Create a welcoming entrance area
  • Gently guide shoppers along the route you find most desirable
  • Ensure shoppers have sufficient space to not feel stifled
  • Optimise your checkout area with tempting luxury items

A professional space planner can tell you exactly how to achieve all of these effects and many more simply by manipulating your store layout. An entrance area should be an open, non-invasive location while shoppers have a real tendency to move right from the entrance, prompting you to place your top items there.

Store Fixtures & Display Strategy

Bearing in mind that your fixtures are semi-permanent displays, it’s important to get them right. These including things like lighting and counters. While your product selection in a shelf or counter can change, the fixture isn’t as easily manipulated. Ensure that such items seamlessly integrate with your colour scheme and overall goals. Lighting should have soft colours to increase the comfort of your shoppers and everything should be easy on the eye.

Establish Product Displays

Whether you’re operating a grocery store or a clothing retail outlet, you will have hot items primed to fly off your shelves. Product displays are an excellent way to highlight time sensitive goods. Attention is more easily drawn to a temporary display which can be erected in a prime location of your store. It is essential that such displays are neat and visually appealing. Consult with an expert who can isolate successful models per industry, or do some research yourself online or by visiting competitors.

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