Improving customer traffic flow

An effective store layout directs your customers to where you want them to go, generates interest and can potentially create additional sales. Successful store designs use layouts and floor plans that encourage customers to walk past a high volume of products, keep browsing and buy your products.

Take some time to study different store layouts and analyse the way people move through your retail spaces and those of other businesses.

Study customer traffic flow

Studying your customers' traffic flow will help you know where to place certain items to ensure your customers move through your whole store. Draw a map of your store and mark the way customers walk around it:

  • Is there a common pattern to the way they walk through your shop?
  • Are there any areas that customers rarely go to?
  • Are there spaces that customers leave quickly?
  • Which areas do most customers go to?
  • Where are customers gazing and how much are they looking around?

Direct traffic to your products

Your customers will pay more attention to your products if you place them in a way that helps browsers discover what they want. Here are the best ways to showcase your products:

  • Place high-profit items in high traffic areas and demand items in low-traffic areas.
  • Don't place feature products or important promotional material right inside the entrance to your store. Customers need a 'decompression zone' to adjust to the environment of your store and are less likely to notice detailed information in this area.
  • Know your 'strike zone'. It's the space you use to make first product impressions on your customers. Place widely appealing, affordable products here so customers don't get turned off by high prices.
  • Place impulse items - that is, the low-cost, repeat-purchase items - around the counter and in high-traffic areas.
  • Place your high-demand products at the back to draw customers through the store.

Direct traffic throughout your store

Retail designers use clever store design principles to help draw customers and increase traffic through the store. Here are some of the main store design principles:

  • Place your sales counter so it is not the first thing customers see. The cash register reminds them they're spending money, and forces your customers to engage with your sales staff before they've decided they're comfortable in your store.
  • Use lighting and layouts that ensure your customers can always easily see the way through and way out of your store. Customers who feel trapped or lost in your store will leave quickly.
  • Create aisle space that is narrow enough to slow customers down to look, but wide enough to be comfortable, clear and safe. Excessively wide aisles encourage customers to rush without browsing.
  • Consider access for customers with disabilities and special needs. For example, aisles should be uncluttered and wide enough to allow wheelchairs and prams.

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