On a recent shopping adventure, I was amazed to experience a retail floor plan that directed me right out of the store before ever reaching the section I intended to visit. I didn’t realize this fault until I was in the next store which effortlessly led me to my desired purchase. Needless to say, I spent more time (and money) in the store that guided me through the space than the one that quickly booted me out.
My point is, the way a retail space is organized has a surprising impact on the quantity and quality of engagements in your store. Whether you’re a small business or an enterprise retailer, creating a welcoming and maneuverable space is vital to your store’s success. Below are a few ways you can customize your store’s floor plan to create an engaging and efficient environment for your customers:
This is the entrance of your store, and, according to Shopify, is also the place where your customer notices the LEAST amount of merchandise. During this step in the customer journey, the person is making the transition from the outside world to your store’s “world”, taking in details such as pricing, display coordination, and color, making it no surprise that items in this section are frequently passed-by.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that your entrance should be bare; quite the contrary says The Gourmet Retailer. Because it’s the first point of contact you make with your customer, decorate the entrance with elements such as flowers or attractive signage, and use proper lighting to invite your visitors into the store.
Power Wall on the Right
Walk into your store and turn to the right. What do you see? A wall, right? It’s much more than that. Since this is typically the first wall customers see upon entering your store (the majority of shoppers turn right upon entering a store according to Cracked), this reaches all customers and gives an opportunity to persuade a purchase before their carts are full and they feel like they’ve spent too much. Take this opportunity to showcase your best and most popular items. Tell the story of your product(s) in short vignettes that speak to your customer.
Keep in mind that there may be multiple power walls throughout your store. “The Art of the Layout” states that power wall opportunities can be found by standing in different parts of the store and locating which walls stand out.
Walk with Purpose
An Entrepreneur article titled, “7 Layout Secrets of the Big Retail Chains,” discusses giving people a specific path to walk while in store. It emphasizes the importance of your main path leading somewhere, such as an eye catching product display at the end of an aisle, as well as continually guiding the customer through the store. This can happen in the classic counter-clockwise circle that brings them from entrance, to the back, and return to the entrance, a style widely adopted by many retail brands. This path format is effective because it maximizes the amount of face-time a customer has with your products.
Remember, you want visitors to spend time with as many products as possible on a trip, and this can’t happen if they’re speeding through the store, even with an effective floor plan in place. Merchandise outposts, also called “speed bumps”, are designed to slow people down on their path-to-purchase. “The Art of the Layout” encourages the use of speed bumps because it increases impulse buys and time spent with products.
Enough Aisle Space
Finally, remember to provide adequate space in your aisles, at displays, and throughout your store to ensure shopper comfort. Avoid the “butt-brush effect,” which says that consumers avoid aisles or store spaces in which they could potentially brush against another customer, display, or fixture. We’ve all had that moment of wanting to explore an area of a store but another customer is already there and it seems too enclosed to contain more than one person. Don’t let this happen to your customers! Creating a space where people can easily move without worrying about the proximity of other people boosts engagement in all areas of the store.
In conclusion, knowing which specific elements create a successful floor plan will increase customer face-time, product engagement, and opportunities for impulse purchases. Shopper habits are surprisingly predictable, you just have to know what patterns to look for. Whether you’re researching internally or using retail analytics, deciphering how your customers engage with your store is a great start to designing smart floor plans.
Scanalytics is among the top 10 fastest growing “Internet of Things” companies, measuring human behavior insights through intelligent floor sensors. The SoleSensor platform translates consumer foot traffic into actionable data through a dashboard interface for real-time and historical viewing of trends in physical spaces. Using the floor sensor technology, brands capture and analyze occupancy, traffic patterns and engagement times to increase conversions and improve ROI.
With over 10 million impressions to date, Scanalytics has deployed SoleSensors across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Southeast Asia. Learn more at: www.scanalyticsinc.com.