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Why Does the Layout of a Store Matter?

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Retail Strategy: IT Cost Management (22-slide PowerPoint presentation). Weak consumer spending; saturated markets; increased consumers demands for service and lower prices; and intense competition has put significant strain on Retail bottom lines and growth avenues. Such low margins force the Retailers to save costs across the operations, including IT, which is vital [read more]

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Zara-salesdeskStore layout plays a much bigger part in retail than many people think. Without a decent layout you could risk losing customers and money on a regular basis. So, if you haven’t thought about design, here are a few reasons why your store’s layout is so important.

Customer Flow

The right layout can create a flow of customers around the store. When products and isles are scattered all over the place you’re likely to have customers bumping into each other, congested pathways, and areas within the store that get little or no traffic. The key to a great store layout is creating a customer that is smooth but slow. You want your customers to move around the store in a way that allows them to see all of the products and keeps them at a pace that allows them to browse products that they might want to buy.

Deter Thieves

Stores that are disorganised and have blind spots are particularly vulnerable to shop lifters. When you design the layout of your store, keeping your spaces neatly organised, your shelves low will ensure that as much of the store as possible is visible and thieves don’t have anywhere to hide if they try to steal something.


With an effective store layout you can ensure that the bestselling products are always visible to your customers. The more visible you make popular products the more likely you are to sell them. This means placing them so that they are visible from different areas around the store and directing your customer flow towards these products.


No matter how innovative your interior design is, the wrong layout of a store can completely ruin the atmosphere and deter a lot of potentially loyal customers from coming back. Shelves and displays that are too tall or too low make browsing a chore and customers that need to climb on shelves or crawl on the floor to look at your products will likely not be enjoying their shopping experience. Aisles that are too narrow and crowed make people feel claustrophobic while isles that are too wide and empty make people feel bored and uninspired. Look for a good balance of distribution, spacing and height.


You want to make things in your store easy to find. If customers have come into your store with a definite idea of what they want to buy then, ideally, it should only take them a few minutes for them to find it. This is done by organising your products in categories and placing clear signs around your store for new customers to follow. Most customers don’t enjoy asking questions, so by keeping your shop layout easy to figure out they will be able to shop independently.


Many customers can form an opinion of a shop by simply standing in the entrance. They don’t have to browse before they decide whether or not they want to buy anything. This is why many shops work so hard on their window displays. But, a great shop has a display in the shop. This display is often referred to as the store’s ‘sweet spot’. This display will consist of some of your best products and should be one of the most visible parts of your store when you stand at the entrance. This display is what will bring people in and convince them to shop rather than walk away.

If you’re not sure if you can accomplish this on your own, call Sheridan and Co. for innovative store and retail design. They will design for you the best possible layout to match you and your customers.

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About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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