There are some tough decisions to be made in retail, but one of the toughest of all would be, “how much stock should I have in my store and how should I display it?” Store layout is critical to retail sales, and in the main, getting it right is an art form. The key to success is to focus on what your customers can see, because if they can see it, you can sell it.
So where do you start? Well, the first thing is to step OUTSIDE your store, and walk back in as if you are a customer that was coming into your store for the very first time.
People shop in a daze, not only are they thinking about what they are looking to buy, they are thinking about what time the kids need to be picked up, what the boss will say to them when they get back to work and what they are having for dinner that night. Hundreds of thoughts are running through their heads at the one time, and then… they have to deal with your space in life. So the simple key when it comes to store layout, is to keep it simple and make it easy for them to see things.
- Don’t clutter up shelves with too much stock. Leave some space so the different objects can be identified, without the shelf looking too empty.
- Put your best selling lines, or those that you want to highlight or promote, at eye level. Your key shelf space is between the knees and the neck. Use it wisely.
- Don’t make it hard for your customers to come into your store. Keep the doorway open and inviting and not cluttered up with card spinners, stands and other things that put up barriers to entry.
- When considering signage, adopt the ‘less is more’ philosophy. Less signs, with more impact. Less words, providing more of a chance to understand what you are saying.
- The floor is for walking. Don’t leave stock lying around the store, apart from it being dangerous for customers, it sends a message that you are untidy and sloppy as a business person and don’t care enough to put it up on the shelf.
- Look to group stock in places around the store. Set up ‘stories’ of matching or complementary stock so that your customers can see the match and maybe buy more than one product from the set.
- Use your counter wisely. Don’t put ALL of your impulse items on the counter, rotate them so the ones that ARE displayed can be seen easily and are inviting, and it looks like there is something new in store every week.
- Keep it clean. There is nothing worse than a dirty shelf, a messy counter, or a scuffed or marked floor. Treat your store as if it were your customers home. And present it accordingly.
While this is by no means the totality of what you can do in store to improve your store layout, these are some simple things you can do TODAY to make a difference. Put them up in the store or staff room so everybody that works in the store is focused on the basic rules that apply in your store, so your customers can see it, and you can sell it!