How to Design a Retail Store Layout

The layout of a retail store can affect the customer's appreciation of the store.
The layout of a retail store can affect the customer's appreciation of the store. (Image: bags image by Gina Smith from <a href=''></a>)

Design is an important part of any store layout. When the design is poor, the whole shopping experience can result in customer complaints and eventually the loss of customers. The key to a workable design that draws customers to your store is to determine what the "experience" of the store should be. For example, a store that sells sports gear would want to create the experience of the outdoors and sporting events, while a store that sells baby clothes would want to evoke the feeling of cute, adorable and bright.

Measure the store. Designs require an accurate measure of length, width and depth. Write down all of the store's measurements, including where counters, shelves and similar items are located or will be located.

Talk to or survey potential customers about their shopping experiences, which stores they prefer to shop in and the reasons they prefer the shops. Take the time to look at some shops to see what the customer sees. To get the most accurate and useful input, ask the customers questions about the specific retail items that are going to be sold in the store.

Talk to a designer or store image consultant. This is important to creating the right atmosphere. Get some ideas from the designer about potential color schemes. This is not necessary for those with a strong sense of design, but those who have trouble choosing appropriate color schemes or layouts should talk to a designer to avoid accidental clashing. Depending on your own level of expertise and creativity, you may only need a consultant to offer a few ideas and some direction or you may decide to hire a designer to do the entire design job for you.

Draw up the basic design on paper. Account for counters and similar fixtures in the room by drawing them in before adding the retail product.

Adjust the design until it creates the right atmosphere without giving the feel of being crowded. A store with limited space can keep extra retail items in the back with a few display items available up front. Plan for ease of movement.

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