There is a science behind the design and layout of retail stores. While it may sometimes seem like retailers arrange their products and shop furniture for entirely aesthetic purposes, there is, in fact, a great deal of consideration that goes into the retail design process.
For those retailers who aren’t entirely sure that their shop design is working for them, and for the customers who are curious as to how shop layouts are influencing the way they browse, we’re sharing five popular shop designs and giving insight into exactly how they work.
As the name suggests, the loop layout is a shop floor plan that guides customers through a specific track, leading them, typically, from the entrance of a store, around the shop’s array of products, and then back to the beginning, where they are able to exit.
The benefits of this layout are that customers are encouraged to actively browse the majority of products and it is understood that this actually increases sales, giving customers the opportunity to see products they might have otherwise not considered. There are, however, a growing number that sees this as an obstruction to a preferred efficient browsing experience.
Straights & Aisles
Straight store design, those found in supermarkets, lining up freestanding shelving, greeting card units, and displays in a row, are, contrary to the loop, very efficient. They tend to allow customers to isolate the exact area of the shop they need to be in, being able to access their chosen products quickly.
While this benefits shops that have a particularly high turnover, such as supermarkets, it is often not recommended to those trying to promote brand identity, such as clothing stores, since it inhibits comfortable browsing and has a regimented aesthetic.
For those brands wanting to actively encourage lengthy browsing sessions, whereby customers can enjoy the atmosphere and spend as much time as they chose to explore products, free flow design is recommended.
Arranging furniture and shop displays in a way that is almost entirely aesthetically pleasing, without the consideration for regimentation, it is easy for retailers to create a unique and interesting shop environment, one that suits the shop space and products on offer.
Herringbone & Library
The herringbone layout, also referred to as the library design, involves straight lanes for browsing that stem from a central power aisle. This is similar to many supermarket designs in that it is conducive to efficient browsing.
However, while this design is still occasionally used by those looking to optimise their space, such as bookstores with an excess of products, it restricts staff vantage points and can lead to theft, which is why it is seldom seen on the modern high street.
An increasingly popular layout among retailers, especially those that host retail events or have seasonal products, is an adaptable, or modular, layout. This shop design makes use of modular and custom-designed features, from shelving to shop counters, allowing high street shops to adapt their store space to various periods of busyness, seasonal events, and even new product launches and displays.