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Comment: Josh Astor of Marvolus on five common store layout mistakes



Your store layout is one of the most effective ways to convert foot traffic into sales. The trick is learning to use available space as efficiently as possible. There are some areas of store layout and design that are more challenging than others. If you’re struggling with some of these common problems, don’t worry. You can still make your store’s design work for you.

Problem #1: Obstacles Obstructing the View

No one wants to have to waste time looking for the item that they’ve come into the store to find. Around the entrance area, in particular, you want to be very careful about adding clutter. Remove the obstacles obstructing your customers’ view of high-margin items, then set up an eye-catching display that will make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for. This might include a branded display complete with bright, colorful signs on the sides and top or a dump bin filled with important items—whatever will allow your customers to most effectively see what they’re looking for.

Problem #2: Your Layout is Illogical

You want your store to be as easy as possible to browse, navigate, and explore. Consider the path that people need to take to the most frequently purchased items so that you can offer good matches along the way. This may change according to the calendar: a few chocolates on display around Valentine’s Day, more toys or wrapping paper around Christmas, and small items perfect for placing in baskets around Easter, for example. Keep in mind that these high-demand items should be placed near the back of the store so that customers need to view as much of your store as possible in order to get to them.

Problem #3: Shoplifting is Increasing

Shoplifting is a problem for any store, especially those that sell small items that are easy to slip into a pocket. To help prevent shoplifting, visibility is key. Make sure that your shop windows are as clear as possible. This accomplishes two things: first, it lets employees keep an eye on suspicious customers loitering outside, and second, it allows passersby to see what’s going on inside the store. Knowing that they could be watched is often a deterrent to shoplifters. It’s also useful to create a setup that encourages your employees to wander through the store when they aren’t busy with a customer, which will help keep their eyes on potential problems. Make sure that store entries and exits are set up to be easily monitored by your staff.

Problem #4: Your Space Isn’t Productive

Space productivity is a measure of how effectively you’re using your retail space. Typically, space productivity is measured by the number of sales you’re able to make per square foot of selling space or the gross margin dollars/pounds per square foot of selling space. If your space productivity is low, you need to take a hard look at your store’s layout and design. Why is it that customers aren’t visiting particular areas? What small changes to your store can optimize your space productivity? Changing your layout regularly can help you determine what works best for your customers.

Problem #5: Clutter is Taking Over

It’s often tempting to use every square inch of your store to display more products. After all, customers can’t buy them if they aren’t there to purchase. Unfortunately, this tactic often leads to difficulty finding important items. Instead, be selective. Show off the best products in your store by leaving some negative space around them to allow them to catch customers’ eyes and encourage them to browse. Remove clutter from shelves, wire floor racks and display areas and leave plenty of space for customers to browse without bumping into one another.

Creating the perfect store layout won’t happen overnight. With some effort, however, you can transform your store’s layout into something that your customers will fall in love with, encouraging them to visit your store more often. By avoiding these five common problems, you can maximize your sales as never before.

Josh Astor works for store display manufacturer Marvolus