5 Simple Space Planning Tips

28 September 2015, 16:30 PM
  • Creating a ‘comfortable’ retail environment for your customers is one step in the right direction, but it doesn’t stop there – you need to make the store work for you, says Eve Reid of Metamorphosis Group

Customer routing
Your mission should be to create a layout that naturally guides your customers around the store, allowing
even a first-time visitor to clearly see every product you have to offer and ensuring that the whole shop
floor is used. The customer’s route can be pre decided (by you) and through some clever merchandising tricks you can ensure that all your expensive floor space is being used.

Retail anthropologist Paco Underhill observed that as humans and as customers we are naturally attracted
to bold use of colour, light and reflection. Used cleverly, the strategic positioning of colour in focal point areas can assist you in navigating customers around the store.

Clever product placement
One way of encouraging good customer flow is through clever product placement. Destination products can
be used in focal point areas to attract customers to the back of the store. A destination product is what your known for, like white t-shirts and jeans in GAP. Your customers with walk past three competitors just to come and get this from you. If it’s you specialism, you’re the expert and you can generally work a higher mark up. If you are the leader in this field, you’re also in a much better position to negotiate a better deal when buying.

Theatre, action, life
Customer are drawn to theatre, life, action and activity. If there is something interesting going on they will be drawn to it. If you have ever been to Covent Garden you will have seen how a little activity can draw a big crowd. Consider your customers and have some fun! Think of what you can do to entertain them and make your shop floor exciting. Lighting

Lighting is one of the most underutilised tools in retail, yet when we think about other creative industries i.e photography, theatre and film, lighting plays a key role. A Hollywood actress would never agree to have a portrait photograph taken without adequate lighting to ensure she was presented at her best, so why would you do that to your star products? Good lighting is essential and makes the difference between a store that looks good and one that is excellent. It can add mood and drama to your store. Lighting has the power to increase a product’s perceived value and saleability. Use lighting to add emphasis and show what you are proud of!

When planning your shop floor consider where to position any signage and graphic communication. If done well, communication can help to encourage customer flow.
Different types of communication include:
• Storytelling: inspirational graphics or text that create a strong focal point and convey the brand’s ethos and values
• Departmental signage: signage denoting each individual zone. This needs to be positioned consistently and be clearly visible and easy to understand for customers walking around the store (i.e. positioned above the relevant product zone)
Image courtesy of Franklins, Dulwich.

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