Your Store’s Layout Has a Major Effect on Sales

The flow of your store is driven by it’s layout, which has a major impact on sales. A successful store layout is one that guides the customer around and encourages them to purchase what they came for – and perhaps a few extras. In order to layout your store to the best of your company’s advantage, you must understand your demographic.


Your Store’s Layout Has a Major Effect on Sales

The layout of your store is more than just where the isles and windows are. It boils all the way down to the placement of each product, as well. A successful layout creates balance between sales and the amount of time spent shopping. It also presents the products in a complimentary fashion, highlighting their features.

Of course, multiple factors influence the layout of a store, including:

  • The amount of space available
  • Product type, volume, and variety
  • Product storage
  • The target demographic
  • How many customers visit the store on average


Types of Layouts

Generally, there are five standard layouts stores rely on.

The Grid (Straight) Design

The grid is a layout in which the isles are laid out like a grid. This layout it most common in retail environments like grocery and drug stores, as customers will generally browse the entire store. It also an efficient way to display a large inventory of products, especially those that fall into similar categories.

However, grid layouts can quickly become overwhelming and confusing to customers, especially outside of a supermarket environment. It is important to have a full staff that is spread out around the store so customers can easily find assistance, if needed.


Curving/Loop (Racetrack) Design

The racetrack design has one major isle located at the entrance and loops the customer around the perimeter, back to entrance. IKEA stores are a prime example of a racetrack design. This layout exposes shoppers to the most amount of products, encouraging further browsing as well as cross-shopping.


Free-Flow Design

A free-flowing layout is designed with no designated traffic pattern. This is great in the case of smaller stores or small businesses, especially if all of the products are of the same category. Clothing retailers, for example, are generally a prime example of stores with a free-flow design.

However, in the case of multiple departments, free-flow designs can begin muddling where one department ends and another begins. A lack of direction may also prove confusing or overwhelming, especially if there is a lot of product variety.


Spine Design

The spine layout is sort of like a combination of the grid and free-flow designs. It has one major isle that runs from the entrance towards the back of the store, with additional isles branching off to the side.

This design is common among medium sized or specialty retailers. Clothing retailers may implement a more subtle form of the spine design, influencing the layout through a change in color or decor.

Herringbone Design

A herringbone layout is very logical and straightforward, similar to the grid layout. They are dominated by a single two-way aisle with isles that branch off towards the side and back walls from this central aisle.

Herringbone layouts are ideal for narrow stores. ToysRUs was a prime example of this sort of design, often with aisles on one side being dedicated to toys for young boys and the other targeted towards young girls.

Selecting from these five layouts heavily depends on the size of your store, your inventory, as well as your audiences. However, there are a few general rules of thumb that apply regardless of how the store is laid out.

  • Avoid placing too many products by the entrance. According to¬†an article released on Entrepreneur, this area is known as the decompression zone. It is where customers “decompress” or adjust to the store’s environment. First impressions are important. Unfortunately, many retailers make the mistake of overwhelming the customers with too many new products in the front of the store. By the time the customer has adjusted and began actively engaging in shopping, these products at the front of the store have long since been forgotten about.
  • Place low-cost and other impulse-buy products towards the checkout counter. This encourages shoppers to make a few last-minute buys on a whim that they otherwise would have dismissed.
  • Use signs to direct customers, not confuse them. Clever sign placement and design should direct your customers through the store with ease, encouraging them to find everything they are looking for without the need for assistance. Signs should also be used to promote products and encourage further browsing. However, too many flashy signs compete for the attention of the customer.

How your store is laid out has a major influence on customers. A successful layout should smoothly guide the consumer through the store, encouraging further browsing and cross-buying without ever overwhelming them. There are five basic layouts stores generally rely on. Which layout will suit your business best heavily depends upon the size of your store as well as your inventory.


If you are interested in learning more about Charles K. Design, LLC please contact us.