Retail space is valuable. It provides you with a canvas to design your presentation of products, special features and more. It can also be an exercise in logic when you’re trying to get your layout right.
Core issues for retail space layout
Any expert shop-fitter will tell you that retail space layout design requires a clear vision of commercial, practical, safety and aesthetic issues:
- Access: You, your staff and your customers need to be able to move easily around the retail environment to access goods or services. This means allowing enough space for people to move freely.
- Product display space: You need to ensure both a good capacity to display a variety of goods as well as find the most advantageous use of space.
- Display platform quality: Good displays aren’t fragile or unstable. Look for high quality display platforms that include enough space to display all items, preferably incorporating any safety features into the displays.
- Safety: The floor surface should be non-slip, particularly if you’re handling fluids of any kind as part of your inventory.
- Aesthetics:A good layout should be a welcoming environment, pleasant and aesthetically pleasing. Consider your options for display mounts in this context.
- Stock handling: The layout should make it easy to move stock without interfering with business practices, particularly during business hours.
- Stock safety: If you’re handling fragile stock, you need to incorporate stock safety features to ensure these items aren’t at risk of impacts, dropping or accidental damage.
- Signage: Effective signs look good and make important products easier to find.
- Facilities for shoppers:If you supply shopping trolleys, baskets or help yourself facilities like automatic checkouts, always consider the layout from the customer’s perspective.
Redesigning existing retail space
This is a very common problem, and involves eliminating problems left over from the previous layout. Generally speaking, the short answer is to rip out the old layout. Before doing so, consider any possible areas of the layout you can retain in order to maximize savings.
Redesign includes all the issues already listed. By answering a few questions, you can use your redesign to systematically eliminate problems.
- What didn’t work with the old layout, and how do you avoid repeating the issues? This is a virtual map of problems to avoid, well worth looking at. Strategic thinking will allow you to save real money by maximising productivity and value with your new layout.
- What new features, services,or products are you intending to add? Your new layout must take into account the extra space any new features will use. It is important to get this right as it will affect your whole layout.
- What’s the best way to increase your display area and offer more products? You may be able to add a lot of commercial value with better use of cubic space, walls, standalone displays, etc. Often this can be done without compromising your existing space requirements.
- Can you improve cost-efficiencies with your new layout idea?Designing a new layout provides the opportunity for definite savings for your business, including improved stock range, less handling and others.
The story with rethinking a retail layout is to think strategically and check your ideas. If you follow this advice, you’ll wind up with a highly effective and beautiful layout.