How to Design a Retail Store

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The design of a retail store has much to do with how customers feel about it. And how they feel determines what they will buy. A retail store's design has to take into account the needs of the customer, the best way to display the inventory and the most attractive way to display items.

Start with a design budget. The budget will determine what designs are possible to some extent. The budget should include display units, shelving and counter space. It may also include lighting and a security system.

Design a layout. The basic layout of the store includes the aisles and the configuration of the sales counter or counters. The layout must take customer movement into account. Customers are most comfortable if they don't have to come into physical contact with other customers. This means that aisles must be wide enough to accommodate two people going in opposite directions so that they have room to pass each other. The layout also has to allow enough display areas to provide the customers with plenty of choices without making the sales floor too crowded.

Create a security system. This can be an elaborate system of alarms and cameras, or it may be as simple as convex mirrors put in strategic areas. Look at the layout to determine which areas will be the most difficult for employees to monitor. Those areas need some type of security equipment.

Set up special display areas. Some retail stores design their aisles with end caps to display items at the end of each aisle. Clothing stores use open areas for mannequin displays. Other retail stores design display tables for interesting or seasonal items.

Make it easy for customers to find what they need. Signs can help customers find different types of items. Another sign will show them where to check out. For a large retail store, provide a customer service area where customers can ask questions and get information.

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