Friday, January 6, 2017

4 Steps to Planning Your Store Layout

New Store Direction
If you are starting a retail business, you have probably spent many hours creating a business plan. There are many factors to consider when starting a business. Do not overlook one the most important--creating a strategic layout for your store.

Store layout and design is critical to the success of your store. In a recent study co-written by professors from the University of Illinois and State University of New York, Albany, research proves that store layout is particularly important for brick-and-mortar retailers looking to compete with online shopping. Customers want to see and touch your merchandise so they can make the decision to buy. How can you design a store that helps your customers do this?

1. Start with a blueprint or drawing.
Experts suggest obtaining a blueprint of your store. If you do not have one, you can draw your store's layout, including all measurements. Note the locations of exits, doors, windows, and built-in fixtures.

2. Decide on a layout type.
There are several types of classic retail layouts, the most common of which is the straight floor plan. Most experts suggest this plan for small businesses, mainly because it most efficiently uses floor space. It also works with many types of businesses, from jewelry and clothing to hardware. Other types of layouts include angle and free form.

3. Think about store fixtures.
Store fixtures are the backbone of your store; they literally hold up your inventory. Put some thought into the kinds of fixtures your store will need. There is much more to store fixtures than just shelving. Depending on the types of products you plan to sell, you may need clothing racks, display cases, mannequins, or wall installations.

4. Draw the store fixtures into your blueprint.
Using the measurements of the store fixtures you have chosen, draw them into your store's layout. Remember that aisles must be at least three feet wide, per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Also take into account the location of your cash wrap. Create a decompression zone of at least a few feet at the entrance of your store. This is an area where customers can begin to feel comfortable without having products directly in front of them.

Following these four steps will give you a rough outline of your store layout. If you put as much thought into designing your store as you do on your business plan, your store will be a place that customers enjoy visiting.

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