You’ve no doubt heard that the key to a successful business is location, location, location. Of course having a convenient location makes getting steady traffic to your store easy, but once that is achieved, only a proper store layout will make it profitable.
For example, which would you rather have: (1) A steady flow of customers coming in and getting what they need, or (2) a steady flow of customers who not only get what they need but are encouraged by tie-in and impulse items?
Certainly it’s the addition of the unplanned purchases that will make you more profitable. So how does the store layout accomplish this? It is done through atmosphere, traffic flow, and effective merchandising, and as you will see, one thing leads into the next.
Many things contribute to your store environment, which in turn leaves an impression on your customers. A friendly staff, mood-inducing sounds, pleasant lighting, the variety of merchandise, store cleanliness, visual presentation, enticing color schemes and clear signage, all play a role. The store fixtures and shelving you purchase will affect store environment, too, from unit color that showcases products to fixture placement and styles.
In fact, fixture placement and styles are actually keys to the next factor, which is traffic flow, or the direction your customers take through your retail store to buy merchandise. Ideally, your goal is to guide your customers to all four corners of your retail store to expose them to more merchandise. Strategic placement of your fixture styles – gondola fixtures, retail store shelving, custom displays and more – along with effective merchandising, is how you can achieve this “Four-Corner Penetration.”
Effective merchandising, then, means that you stock your shelves with the right product in the right places to make it more tempting for customers to buy more. Do this by guiding or “pulling” customers through your store to the demand products (displayed on the outside walls) and setting up or displaying merchandise along the traffic path. Using your store fixtures, unit end caps and retail displays effectively to showcase impulse, promotional and high profit items along the way will encourage additional buys. This is because you are allowing this enticing merchandise to be seen by more customers as they walk through.
So, think about these three factors when you plan your store layout, even if it is with every new item that you put out to sell. Actually, by rotating stock and moving fixtures regularly (at least every two to three weeks) you will not only determine what works for the best inventory turnover rate, it will also keep your store’s atmosphere new and fresh. In addition, since no steadfast rules exist, it is exciting and challenging to constantly get to use your creativity to find the most effective ways to meet and exceed your sales goals through this process.