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Setting Out Your Stall

Press Release: September 05, 2015

First impressions count – research says you’ve got three to seven seconds to capture the attention of new visitors to your store.

So how do you lay it out to make those seconds count?

Here are some tips and insights from retail experts around the world:

Customer First

Brush up on your “buyology”.

Think like a customer, not a retailer. Identify not just who they are demographically, but how they shop, what they like, what might turn them off. What is the projected number you expect to visit the store at once? Use social media to research customers and trends. How do you want customers to move around your store, how will you convert browsers to buyers? What angle are they coming from; what height should you make shelves?

What do you need to include within the floor plan – what level of stock/inventory will you need to house, do you need changing rooms, or a service desk or accessible delivery points? Don’t let these become an afterthought – they are basic to decent service.

Don’t forget regulatory issues – do you need a ramp or a minimum aisle width in order to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act’s recommendations?

Consider personal space. Give people room to make decisions. According to Humayan Khan of Shopify, “Consumer behaviour expert Paco Underhill discovered that a typical customer, especially women, will avoid going after merchandise in an aisle where they could potentially brush another customer’s backside or have their backside brushed.”

Do a walk-through of your store using friends (if they are honest) to get feedback on how easy it is to navigate, what works and what could be tweaked.


These determine where you put merchandise.

There are four commonly used types of layouts. For visuals, check out Prithvi Ghag’s Slide Share preso:

Grid – supermarket-style, these have aisles running in parallel, with merchandise on both sides, cash tills at the entrance or exit. They are low cost and have standardised features, and allow well stocked shelves. But they aren’t the most arresting or creative layouts, and aren’t great if you want customers to see every item on display.
Free-form — the most commonly used for boutiques and smaller stores. Fixtures and aisles are laid out asymmetrically, which makes for a more interesting environment. But what you gain in looks, you lose in productive space. Without cues or a way to direct shoppers, free form can look confusing and cluttered unless it’s carefully ‘curated’.

‘Spine’ or ‘arrow’– this layout has a single aisle running through. It’s favoured by mid-sized fashion retailers – think Zara or And Other Stories. Aisles that angle off a central point, like an arrow, can be effective as long as the aisles are wide enough for customers to move about.
Racetrack or loop layouts use cues such as walkways to direct customers around the store. Cash tills border the entrance or exit. Great if you want to group products thematically – like you might with sporting goods — it forces customers to view things from a number of different angles. That can be a plus or a minus, depending on the customer.

For more display and creative storage ideas, please visit www.ShopfittingWarehouse.co.uk

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