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Customer Paths and Retail Store Layout — Part 2

Customer Paths and Retail Store Layout — Part 2


In part one of this series, we covered why it’s important to create a customer path or journey through your retail space. We also went through the idea of a decompression zone in your retail store layout near the entrance of a store and reserving the right hand of the store for a power wall where you can display key merchandise.

Before we move into the actual store layouts, we’ll need to understand a couple more additional pieces of how to choose your layout as well as a final piece of consumer psychology.

Counter-Clockwise Direction

We’ve previously covered that when customers walk in the door, roughly 90 percent of them will turn right. This creates the perfect place to display your power wall where most of your key merchandise should be placed. That, of course, leaves the rest of your store to be explored and how a consumer will navigate it.

Studies show that after making that first right hand turn, the most likely course customers will take through the store is counter clockwise. This gives you a general idea of how they will explore your retail space.

It makes sense, after entering they will turn right to the power wall generally putting them in the right corner of your space next to the retail front. From there, the obvious course would be to walk to the back of the store, then to the far wall, and finally back down to the entrance. This sets up the basic framework for pretty much any layout you choose.

Factors in Choosing a Layout

Choosing the actual layout for your retail store depends on various factors. The first major factor to take into account is also the most obvious one: the shape of the physical space. Some layouts work better in certain spaces than others and should be taken into account when deciding where to place shelving.

The other thing you should really take into account is what kind of retail outlet you own. One of the best things you can do for choosing a layout is to do a bit of competitor research. Visit your competitors and see how they’ve laid out their space and what catches your interest. After making that first right hand turn, what are you naturally attracted to going next? What are they promoting there? Are there any markers that signify where to go next or is it a more free flowing layout?

From here you can begin to get some ideas of what will work in your space, what won’t work, and it will give you some ideas of things you can do better. In the third part we’ll start going over the types of layouts that are widely used and some of the pros and cons between each.

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