When you own a small retail business, you’re constantly living under the threat of being overwhelmed by a bigger fish. Although the personal touch and unique inventory you offer can give you an advantage over big-box stores, they can’t be your only selling points. No matter how personable your employees are or how unique your merchandise may be, shoppers also look for convenience. If the act of shopping in your store is too confusing or takes too much time, you risk pushing people into the arms of the nearest competitor. This makes your store’s layout one of the most crucial aspects of its success.
For example, there are various ways you can arrange your aisles, and each one best suits a specific type of retail environment. For example, a standard grid layout creates clean sight lines, which is why grocery stores use it so frequently. In contrast, a free flow arrangement gives browsers lots of space and can be used to create a specific mood. This is why specialty retail locations such as fashion boutiques and lifestyle stores tend to utilize it.
No matter what layout arrangement you decide on for your retail business, there are a number of tips that can help you use it successfully. These include maintaining an aisle width of at least three feet and positioning point-of-purchase displays at the front right of the aisles to capture the attention of shoppers. These strategies can help shoppers feel more comfortable and make shopping easier for them. For more tips small retailers can use to maximize floor space, see the accompanying infographic.