8 Steps to a Great Retail Store Layout

From floor plans that stimulate traffic flow, to optimum product placement, every decision regarding your retail store layout is critical to your success as a merchant. Emagispace® provides this handy checklist to help guide you through the retail interior design process.

Decide on a floor plan

There are generally three types of retail floor plans:

  1. A grid floor plan is commonly used in big box, grocery or convenience stores. This is best for small retailers who have large inventories of goods on shelves like books, housewares, or toys.
  2. A loop floor plan – also known as a racetrack layout – maximizes wall display space and encourages customers to adhere to a set pathway. This is effective for apparel, personal care, or specialty retail stores.
  3. A free flow floor plan allows for the most creativity, and is best for upscale or boutique specialty shops.

Put pen to paper!

Take the time to sketch out your retail store layout diagram (or, use an online app – see resources below). Many small retailers – particularly small store owners – discover that a combination of different floor plan and layout styles works best. An example: you might begin with a loop design, then combine grid-style shelving aisles and free-flow displays in the center.

Be a traffic cop

It’s important to consider traffic flow in your store. Three key things you should remember about customer behavior:

  1. They need transition space as they enter a store (also known as the “decompression zone”).
  2. They usually will turn to the right upon entering.
  3. Customers need their personal space – they should be able to turn around without bumping into displays.

Position products for maximum appeal

Consider the product positioning throughout your store. For example, where are your year-round, seasonal, limited availability, and sale products going to be featured on a regular basis? This is called product mapping.

Look before you leap with displays and fixtures

Fixtures are, well, fixed — permanent parts of your store, like lighting and counters. Displays hold product and are movable, versatile, and customizable, like modular units, tables, and clothing racks. They should have form and function, reflecting your brand while being serviceable.

Check out the checkout area

Experts claim that the front left of a retail store is a good location for the checkout counter, as shoppers tend to loop around the store upon entering and leave on the left side. So, a checkout here makes sense, and it doesn’t distract them from shopping as they peruse your goods.

Amenities just aren’t for hotels

Do you offer any seating? Does your dressing room meet ADA accessibility guidelines? Shopping, like traveling, is an experience for people, and you should make it as enjoyable as possible for them.

Don’t forget the “behind the scenes” stuff

While your store’s selling floor is the priority, it is important to pay attention to your backroom stock and office areas, too. Make sure that it meets your storage, shipping and receiving needs. This is a good time to review processes like your POS system, as well – and invest in a new one, if necessary.

Retail interior design solutions from Emagispace®

Retail interior design can be challenging, but a little planning goes a long way. Emagispace® has many flexible, affordable retail design solutions. Our patented, kit-based interlocking building system creates high-quality walls, floor displays and backlit shelving.  Contact us today to learn more about how to build smarter!

Additional “Retail Store Layout” Resources:

  1. com, “Store Layout Maker, Free Online App & Download” https://www.smartdraw.com/planogram/store-layout-maker.htm
  2. com, “What is Retail Store Design,” http://smallbusiness.chron.com/retail-store-design-43321.html