The store layout is the schematic design that shows the entire retail space and the locations of fixtures and display props around the store.
It is meant to help the visual merchandiser plan the best way to utilize the available space for display, in order to deliver the highest sales per square foot, while maintaining a convenient, seamless shopping experience for the customers
How to Create Your Own Store Layout ?
We are going to use Microsoft Excel to create a store layout example for a convenience store (see below), and will show you how to do this step-by-step.
You can also download the same excel template we used and build your own store layout on it from below.
Step 1: Map The Store Layout
Open the excel sheet and go to View tab and uncheck the Gridlines option to remove all gridlines
Set Column & Row Width
Then adjust all columns and rows width for the area of the design, so that they have the same length (e.g 100 pixels) and this will represent 1 meter in real life. The result will be cells that are formed in square shape
Draw borders for the store layout and change the fill color of the cells to a light gray color and choose a light color for internal borders and a dark color for the outline
The final output will look like an empty floor plan with the size of the store, where each cell represents 1m x 1m of real life space.
If your store space has a fraction of a meter (e.g 4.5 m) you can adjust the last row or column to be equivalent to that fraction (e.g 0.5 m)
Step 2: Add Walls & Fixtures
Use the insert shapes functionality to create your own fixtures and walls
Adjust their size to match real life measurements proportionally, then give them different colors and write the name in the middle.
Then start adding those fixtures to your design, based on the type of store layout you have chosen, and how you want the customer flow to look like.
Step 3: Draw Customer Flow (Optional)
Use the insert shape and choose arrows to draw the customer flow on the store layout
Store Layout Considerations
Now that we have shown how to create your own store layout, let’s discuss some things to take into consideration before deciding on the final design for your store.
Type of Retail Store
What type of retail store are you?
Different types of store layouts are appropriate for different types of stores. For example the grid layout seen at supermarkets and hardware stores will not be suitable for fashion boutiques.
The more product categories you carry at your store, the more of a systematic and organized layout you will want to incorporate. In this case the grid layout or the forced path layout will be suitable for you.
On the other hand, fashion stores usually go for the more creative free flow store layout, where fixtures are staged in a more random way and not as organized and systemized as the grid layout.
We have to say, though, that not all fashion brands have the same style of store layout. Which takes us to the next point of consideration.
Value brands depend on selling large quantities to the masses, and so their store layouts have to allow for high density display.
On the other hand, premium and luxury brands sell fewer pieces and stress on the factor of scarcity, so they have to show limited number of pieces on the floor.
In this case, their store layout has to be more relaxed, with more empty space in between fixtures, and usually even seating areas for customers.
Read Also: The Fashion Pyramid
Choice of Fixtures
Does your merchandise need to be hanged like in fashion stores or does it need to be stocked on shelves like in convenience and grocery stores?
Are you running a store, where the display space is for facings and display pieces only, and the actual sale happens from the stock room? This is the case at furniture stores, shoe stores, eyewear stores, ..etc.
The type of merchandise and how it will be sold will play a big role in deciding about the best store layout, the best types of fixtures to be used and also the allocated space for the stock room.
Your choice of fixtures and their dimensions will influence your store layout choice.
The best store layout choice is the one that will maximize your return on retail space, while giving your customers a pleasurable shopping experience.
You will find that supermarkets usually put the essentials at the back, and IKEA is known to force their customers to walk the entire store, so they can see everything.
Retailers try to convert most customers, and get the most out of each converted one.
While making the decision about your store layout, think about the product categories that you want your customers to see, and how these categories can come together with other products to automatically create cross selling opportunities.
For example, if you are managing a retail pharmacy, you might come up with ideas for a corner at your store for:
- Hair care products + Hair supplements
- Fitness supplements + tanning products & body scrubs
- Nail polish + foot masks
Break away from the old thinking of fixed display methods by category, and start thinking more commercial, and you will be able to come up with different variations for more effective layouts that serve, both, you and your customers.
Then decide about the needed fixtures and store layout design to execute those creative display ideas.
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Retailer & Founder of Retail Dogma, Inc.
Rasha has 14 years of retail & ecommerce experience. She has started an ecommerce business in 2008, and later worked at H&M, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret and Landmark Group. She’s lived in 4 different countries, speaks 3 different languages and holds an MBA in Strategic Management & Marketing.
You can connect with her on Linkedin.