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Customer Paths and Retail Store Layout — Part 9

Customer Paths and Retail Store Layout — Part 9

Customer path 9

We’ve touched on signage and displays from time to time in this series but now we’ll explore strategies for how to use them in a bit more depth. Because your display, fixture, and signage strategies all depend on store layout, these tips will cover what the goal for each should be.


Signage provide multiple types of functions but always serves to graphically represent a retailer’s brand. In a free flow layout signs are extremely important to create guide to a customer’s journey. Some other uses for signage is to provide information on specific items of merchandise, pricing, promotions, and sales.

Because branding is important, create a style guide of standard fonts and colours to be used that read well with the store’s lighting. You should also take into account seasons or special promotions when thinking of branding signage. Perhaps your standard colour is blue but for a Valentine’s day sale, you might want to use red and pink. Be wary that you change most, if not all, of the signage to give it a cohesive look.

Now is a good time to bring up digital signage. Many retailers have been embracing digital signage solutions as a way to show sales, events, and new products to their customers. However, these solutions require an upfront investment as well as a plan and budget to update regularly.


Displays are the moveable or temporary units, like tables or racks, that feature items or merchandise. These displays work with your layout to help create the customer journey so they should be placed with care. You should also take temporary display spaces into account when planning your layout so they don’t interfere with a customer’s experience navigating the retail store. Your product manufacturers and suppliers may also be able to provide you with low-cost options so check with them to see if they have displays readily available.

Care should be taken when choosing display units. The size, type, and weight of your merchandise might make some product display units unusable or inappropriate for the brand. Versatility should also be taken into account for smaller spaces so adjustable options such as apparel racks or shelving would be great choices.

Window displays do not affect the layout of a store but is incredibly important to draw shoppers inside. The window display should work with the visual elements inside the store to intrigue the customer so as to promote the brand in a cohesive way.


Unlike displays which are moveable, fixtures are the permanent units located in a retail store like support columns, wall mounted shelving, and counters. When creating the customer path layout, it is the fixtures that are used for crafting the shopper flow and bringing attention to merchandise.

Fixtures are less flexible than displays but have a sturdier, more premium look. It’s best to use authentic materials like wood, glass, and stone rather than laminate, printed vinyl, or clear acrylic as they level-up the experience. Premium materials also last much longer and makes a better investment.

Signage, display, and fixtures should work together and with the walls and floors of your retail outlet to create a cohesive experience. Ultimately, the colour and texture from all of these elements should do one thing and one thing only: make your merchandise and brand pop.

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