How to Create a Store Floor Plan

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A large portion of sales and marketing for any store is dependent upon store layout and merchandise displays. Therefore it is critical that the floor plan not only maximizes available space, but presents merchandise in the best possible light. It should be easy for customers to navigate through the store and also to find what they need. In addition, the layout should be functional for employees while providing a safe and accessible shopping experience for everyone involved.

  • Encourage traffic flow with a well-planned layout. Provide clear walkways between aisles or displays so that customers can move easily through the store. Ensure exits are visible and that your customers can locate the checkout area and other important features.

  • Maximize available space to display as much merchandise as possible. Take advantage of all wall space using shelving, and show floor displays in a manner that groups similar wares together. This could involve having all clothing racks on one end of the room or grouping by style or size.

  • Include ample storage and warehouse space out of view of the customer. You'll want an area where goods can be received, inventoried and prepared for sale without making a mess of the sales floor. Try to locate storage space near the delivery entrance or loading dock.

  • Provide accessible restrooms and changing rooms as required. Consider separate restrooms for employees. Keep all restroooms close to the building's plumbing mains to minimize installation and maintenance costs.

  • Provide a secure area to store money and business documents, as well as an employee lounge or kitchen. This will keep your employees from having to count the cash drawer or eat their lunches in view of the customers.

  • Focus on lighting. The location and distribution of lighting fixtures is vital to sales and marketing. Consider where lights will go when planning your store layout.

  • Consult local building codes to determine egress, sprinkler and accessibility requirements. Depending on the jurisdiction, you may be required to include an elevator or lift, extra-wide aisles and exits or other accomodations for safety and the disabled.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have an idea of the floor plan you'd like to have, sketch it up before taking the project to an architect. Because most architects charge by the hour, you can save money by presenting them with a general concept or layout up front.

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