Part 3 of the three-part ultimate guide to in-store merchandising gives easy tips on how to build customer engagement and flow through floor layout in the store.
Part 3: Store Floor Layout: How to Set (or Re-set) the Floor
Determine the Best Store Layout to Boost Sales
From a high-level perspective, consider what type of retail layout works best for your store. Observe how customers navigate the space and their buying pattern and decide accordingly. Don’t be afraid to try something out, watch foot traffic and then tear it all apart and try something new. You want interaction, flow and ultimately, engagement and sales.
Or, you can change up your layout even after years of being open. New and fresh layouts can be fun for your customers to explore and will keep them interested and engaged as long as your merchandising is clear and organized.
Here are some Helpful Examples of Store Layouts to Consider by Smart Sheet:
- Straight: Symmetrical rows and aisles which make it easier for customers to walk and see all products. Works for all types of products but is mostly commonly used in small and large grocery stores or hardware stores where organized aisles make sense. Maximizes space as you can use shelving and displays in corners. Because all products are visible, customers might feel less inclined to discover. It’s also more difficult to distinguish between the hottest trends.
- Loop: Great for small retail spaces as it creates one path for customers to move about. Encourages customers to wander and explore and the experts believe is the best for small boutique businesses. In this layout, it’s the easiest for the customer to see what you want them to as well as enter and exit easily. This is also known as the racetrack layout.
- Angular: Less display area so perfect for stores with a select, curated offering. Highlights unique and beautiful pieces.
- Geometric: Prioritizes aesthetic appeal over functionality as it uses space for few products. Display products on racks and fixtures. Commonly used by large retailers. Geometric is also suitable store design for clothing and apparel shops. It uses racks and fixtures to create an interesting and out- of-the-ordinary type of store design without a high cost. This plan makes a statement about the products the store sells and the customers it wants to attract.
- Diagonal: Commonly used by smaller retailers as the entire store is visible from the cash register. The diagonal floor plan invites movement and traffic flow to the retail store. This plan is more “customer friendly.” Unlike a straight plan, which can feel like a maze, this floor plan offers the customer a more open traffic pattern.
- Free Flow: Channel your creativity by designing without a specific layout. his allows customers to move about in any direction and explore
Strategic planning can make or break a customer’s shopping experience. You control the narrative of your store through something as simple as the floor plan.
When planning, work from the front of the store to the back. First impressions matter. House of Nomad does an excellent job at creating an eye-catching display from the beginning, as pictured above. However, avoid placing products closer than 15 feet from the entrance. (Of course, this depends on the store size but in other terms, declutter the front). Experts call this the decompression zone; this space allows customers to psychologically transition into a consumer mindset.
For smaller stores, this 15 feet might be a critical space in your store, so you can only give 5-6 feet, but the point is that the customer is able to enter, read the room, breath for a quick second and mentally enter the space.
Focus on a clear message or theme in the front of your store. The retail minded article suggests that consumers have a tendency to move to the right of the store. The reason? Most people are right-handed. Take advantage of this by placing best sellers, new arrivals, and eye- catching pieces to the right of the store.
Space is a must in Store Layout
Be sure to create enough aisle space for the customers to navigate the store’s right side as that will most likely be their point of entry. Think of mom’s navigating with strollers or holding children’s hands or carrying a large shopping bag. By having too tight of spaces you create an uninviting and stressful shopping experience.
Another consideration is to make sure there is enough space between the cash register and the products. If a customer feels too close to the register, they instinctively feel like you’re in their face and feel overwhelmed, thus, disrupting the flow of traffic.
Connect the Dots through Product Pairing
Simplify the shopping experience for your customers through strategic assortments. Organize products based on size, color, and functionality. Gold Leaf created a dining and kitchen accessory set with glasses, cooking books, and serving trays, as pictured above. Keep symmetry and balance by following the rule of 3, a set of 3. If organizing by size, line products in the small-medium-large arrangement. We are crushing on Los Olivos General Store's display of cleaning and fragrance products that are similar size and all have a blush pink color theme, as shown below. Not to mention love how they are both displaying and functionally using KAZI's catch all basket. KAZI’s baskets can be used to hold various merchandising products just like Gum Tree's masks, as pictured below. We love how they are both displaying and functionally using KAZI's baskets.
Offer guidance with strategic signageUse signage to highlight assortments, promotional offers, product backstory, and recommend products. Follow journalistic practices and write in headline text. Customers are often in a hurry so the message must be direct and simple.
Here are Important Types of Signage
- Outdoor Signage: This can be window displays, sidewalk signs, awnings, or entrance sides. These signs determine whether a hesitant potential customer decides to enter the store. Keep the message simple and in line with your brand. Peak your audience’s curiosity and give them a reason to choose your store. We love how Gum Tree uses a simple chalk sign for sale announcements and store information, as pictured below.
- Informational Signage: Categorize sections of the store and control the traffic flow. This prevents confusion and allows the customer to focus on your offerings.
- Persuasive Signage: Showcase key products, recommend assortments, and tell a compelling story. Customers are now more than ever interested to know where their product comes from and the story behind it. Gum Tree uses a simple sign to promote their local handmade ceramics as shown above. For example, you can highlight KAZI's story by displaying our informational sign about our mission and impact. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for one of our fabulous signs as shown below.
Floor Mats: These versatile pieces not only prevent falls on slippery surfaces, they can be used as promotional and informative pieces. Guide your customers to different parts of the store, display your logo, or just leave a cheerful message that will have customers smiling and snapping a pic for their Insta story.
|Implementation Tip: As you craft signage, follow the store’s theme and avoid cliches. Be sure to use the words “you” and “yours” to make a compelling impression. When merchandising KAZI products, we suggest signage that highlights female empowerment and conscious consumerism.|
Create a Holistic Shopping Experience: Activate all Senses
With the evolution of online shopping, consumers shop based on visual aesthetic. This presents brick and mortar stores with the unique opportunity to engage their customers through all five senses.
Smell — is closely related to memory and can have a profound effect on a customer’s shopping experience. Shopify's article noted a marketing experiment that found coffee sales increased by 300% due to the smell of fresh coffee at a gas station. Experts say to be cautious with overpowering smells. Subtle often work best in creating a welcoming environment.
Implementation Tip: The Airscent article suggests using warm scents like vanilla or cinnamon. Customers tend to spend more time in stores that use these fragrances.
Touch — brick and mortar stores allow customers to feel the quality and texture of their products. At KAZI, we recommend that prospective customers hold our baskets to see how durable and sturdy they are.
Anthropologie creative director, Missy Peltz, explains in an article by Racked that unlike many luxury brands, they hope people interact with the products by touching them, moving them, and discovering other products.
A Harvard Business study suggests that “physically holding products can create a sense of psychological ownership, driving must-have purchase decisions.”
|Implementation Tip: Encourage people to touch products by creating displays at eye-level, removing product packaging, and creating signage.|
Hearing — create a welcoming and comfortable ambiance with slower playlists that subconsciously encourages customers to peruse your offerings. Keep your target customer in mind and curate based on their music preferences.
Sight — Color and lighting are important tools in determining which products to highlight and setting the mood of the store. Bright colors evoke attention and convey youthful excitement. We love how Clic added bright colors and vibrancy to their store wall by hanging KAZI baskets, as pictured below. Gregory Hamel suggests that cooler colors like green and blue, on the other hand, create a calming environment in color’s effect on merchandising small business article
|Implementation Tip: Play around with LED lighting to draw attention to certain products. Jackie Carney suggests using a tunable white light for product displays and to supplement natural lighting in the business 2 community article. Shopify's article suggests using lighting displays on the sides and front to avoid harsh shadows.|
Build Dimension with Hierarchy
Customers naturally gravitate towards sets with varying heights. Capture their interest by arranging products accordingly. Lay out KAZI urn vases and lidded jars which come in varying shapes and sizes.
House of Nomad uses a table, bench, and multiple stools to create dimension to showcase their products, as shown below. Plus — we love their consistent use of natural colors and black to tie the entire merchandising display together.
|Implementation Tip: Create dimension by arranging larger pieces on the floor with smaller pieces that customers can easily shuffle through|
Create an Insta-Savvy Space
This powerful but simple marketing tool introduces your brand to new customers and keeps engaged with existing customers. Not only can you advertise on social media but your customers can also market your brand to their network.
Mimeo's article suggests making sure everything’s well lit and well-spaced out to encourage customers to easily snap pictures of your displays. Dedicate a section of your store with great lighting and decor for the iconic Insta shot. We love this chic set up by House of Nomad, as shown below. You can use woven wall hangings to create a beautiful backdrop.
|Implementation Tip: Stay inspired and get new ideas by following KAZI partners that have mastered the art of Instagram merchandising. We especially recommend checking out @saltandsundry, @sistergoldenshop, and @shopcaleypaige.|
Keep it fresh:
Like your window display, regularly re-envision product displays and channel your creativity. In addition to seasonal changes, mix things up in between seasons to keep customers on their toes.
Changes can be as subtle as changing persuasive signage or rearranging a display section. This conveys to customers that your brand is innovative and in tune with shifting customer needs. Keep inspired by regularly checking Pinterest boards.
Track Customer Behavior:As you make changes to the store, pay attention to how customers respond to these changes. Note if there is an increase in sales, high demand for a certain product, and an influx of foot traffic. Ultimately, the intention of strategic visual merchandising is to engage customers and boost sales.
Why Choose KAZI?
KAZI is more than home decor; it has a mission that you can feel proud supporting. We bring you beautiful hand-crafted goods that add life to your space and empower artisans to weave a better story for themselves. Our designers craft innovative, unique pieces that our artisans in Uganda, Rwanda, and Ghana hand-make. In return the artisans receive a life-changing livable wage. Your purchases have the power to quickly change lives, families, and communities.
KAZI is currently one of only five companies to carry the Nest Seal of Ethical Handcraft on our Rwanda and Uganda products. The Seal carries the highest of standards for assessing artisan homeworker production and supply chains, ensuring important issues like fair wages are paid and no children are in the workforce and supply chain. It also ensured the materials and dyes are ethically sourced and disposed of.
The Nest Seal is a symbol of assurance for you in our supply chain and in letting your customers know the items they shop have been ethically handcrafted by KAZI artisans.