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How to Have a Winning Retail Floor Plan

A retail floor plan is essential to your merchandising business.

A store plan that has been well-designed and executed can create a wonderful experience for your customers, generate more sales, and encourage product discovery. So if you haven’t reviewed or refreshed the layout of your retail space in a while, it’s worth considering doing so before we head into 2022.

retail floor plan

If you want to showcase your products in the best possible light, follow these pointers and practices:


1. Utilize the correct type of retail floor plan for your store

Let’s start with the basics. What are some of the most common retail floor plans? To answer that, here is a list of what you might find in stores:retail floor plan

Straight floor plan

A retail floor plan with straight aisles is perfect for retailers to maximize space and make their stores easier to navigate.

This floor plan is used to store products on shelves and make them easy to find. It’s not meant for displaying the latest trends or encouraging “discovery,” unlike other types of layouts.

A straight floor plan is also one of the most cost-effective store layouts and is mainly used in supermarkets. Shelving tends to be an effective way for stores to display their merchandise.

Racetrack or loop plan

One way to improve customer flow is by using racetracks or loops. Racetrack and loop plan to position your fixtures so that they create a path for shoppers around the store.

If you have a small store and want to encourage customers in your shop, the racetrack or loop floor plan is an excellent option.

For example, if you want customers to feel like they are being led through your space instead of wandering around aimlessly on their own accord, then using a racetrack store layout will make them more likely to follow.

Angular floor plan

This floor plan uses curves and angles to give off a sophisticated vibe. This layout is ideal if you sell much unique and attractive merchandise. According to the Houston Chronicle, the angular floor plan is usually adopted by high-end retailers, and it “reduces the amount of display area you have but focuses instead on fewer, more popular lines.”

As such, a tall and angular floor plan will be best for stores that sell only a few carefully selected pieces. If you have more than one or two products on offer, then this layout will not work as well.

Geometric floor plan

Retailers of clothes and accessories often find the geometric floor plan to be a good choice because it uses racks and fixtures, which display their products well.

This is an excellent layout for stores that need to use racks, shelves, and other fixtures. It’s most popular with apparel retailers.

Free flow plan

If you want to be more creative, a free-flow layout is for you. The floor plan or shelf placement does not restrict you.

Unlike other layouts, customers are encouraged to go in one direction around the store with an uncluttered environment that lets them browse without feeling too intimidated.

With a plan in place, now let’s talk about how to maximize your storage space.


2. Let your layout match the movement and behavior of shoppers

retail floor plan

Many people have a natural tendency to turn either left or right when entering a retail store. This depends on the country’s driving patterns, so in countries where vehicles operate on the left side of the road, it is more likely that customers will enter through one door and exit another.

Not everyone is a left-handed driver, but this means people who drive on the other side of the road should be careful!

This means that if you’re in a store and the entrance is on your left, customers from countries such as Japan will turn to their right when they enter. On the other hand, people who drive on the right side of cars (such as those in America) have been shown to move counter-clockwise upon entering.

This is why it’s essential to pay attention to how your customers move through the store. If you know that they’re more likely to turn right, then display the best items on the front-right side of your shop. Click To Tweet

If you want to see an increase in sales, then it’s time for a change. Look around your store and figure out what needs to be changed or added so that customers can view the freshest merchandise.


3. Plan your store

retail floor plan

Creating a floor plan for your store is essential. Map out where all the fixtures will go and which items should be displayed on each shelf.

Paper maps are great because they allow you to visualize how the store would look in person, which can help you figure out where products should go and what traffic flow will be like. Plus, it’s a lot easier than having to move things around when your ideas are still on paper.

But these days, it’s a lot easier to map out your store. Apps like SmartDraw and Smartsheet provide floor plan creation tools at affordable prices.

Tried to find the perfect spreadsheet software for a team, but it turns out that there are no one size fits. There are two different options with wildly different prices: $5.95 per month and $14 per month.

If you’re looking for inspiration, do a quick search on Pinterest. Here are some of the best results we found:

If you’re looking for a floor plan to set up your Diesel, here’s one that will help with where shelves and fixtures should go.

This is a floor plan for a kids’ store. It shows where the racks and fixtures are located and which products would go in each storage area.


4. Put nothing in your decompression zone

retail floor plan

For the past few months, we’ve been saying that if you put your best items in a place where customers can’t get to them, they’re going to walk right on by. And it’s true.

It’s important to note that your decompression zone is the first few feet of your store. The area in which people coming from outside would adjust and “decompress” after entering.

This is why your products will get overlooked when they’re in this zone, so it’s best to place them elsewhere.

Retail experts Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender recommend that you keep this space open and uncluttered. “Floor signs, baskets, class schedules, etc., belong just beyond your Decompression Zone where shoppers are more likely to see them.”


5. Leave Ample Space Between Different Elements.

retail floor plan

When designing your store, it’s important to leave ample space between different elements. Make sure to leave enough space for people to move around without any obstacles.

The retail industry has always preached that having plenty of space in your store makes it more attractive. This is because high-end stores typically use a lot of extra room to show off their products and make them seem like they are worth the money. Click To Tweet

But if you’re selling to bargain hunters, then it’s okay for your shelves to be pretty full.

To keep your store from being too crowded, make sure to have plenty of space so that customers can walk by without bumping into each other.

If you don’t keep your displays neat, customers will be discouraged from checking out what’s available. One or two “bumps” can lead to an unfortunate occurrence where shoppers abandon the display in frustration.

In his book, “Why We Buy,” Paco Underhill wrote about an experiment that shows the butt-brush effect in action. He explained:

While reviewing the tape to study how shoppers negotiated busy times, we noticed something strange about our tie rack. Shoppers would approach it and stop in front of it while looking at all the ties until they were bumped by someone entering or exiting.

If you watch people’s reactions in a clothing store when someone brushed up against them, you’ll notice different things. Though primarily women responded negatively, men didn’t like being touched from behind either. They’ll walk away from an item they like to avoid.


6. Slow down shoppers as they move around your store

retail floor plan

Speed bumps are designed to slow down shoppers as they move around your store. They help people take their time and browse the products that line these hurdles.

The issue with these tables is that they can be a big distraction. They are often filled with unique items, and during the holiday season, Target would set up displays to showcase popular gift ideas.

Not sure if it was the confusing layout or just plain impatience, but these displays did a great job slowing down shoppers as they navigated between departments.

Stores can use displays and setups to encourage customers to touch the products. For example, there was once an installation of bouquets for people’s hands in a store at Cerritos mall.

Creating speed bumps is an integral part of many online businesses. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when you’re creating them: – Keep it simple; the more complicated your form becomes, the less likely people will complete it – Make sure they know what information they need before submitting their contact info.

  • Use great lighting. Accent lighting is recommended. A speed bump is meant to slow down customers, but it won’t do an excellent job of that if it’s displayed under dull or unflattering light.
  • According to retail enthusiast Karen WW, it’s best to use display stands with lockable wheels. According to her, this will “make it easier for you to move things around frequently without a lot of effort.”
  • She also echoes Nicole Reyhle and Jason Prescott’s advice in Retail 101, where they recommend having “about five speeds bumps for every 500 square feet of retail space.”


7. Provide customers a Wow experience!

retail floor plan

To get the most out of your store, you need to think about more than just how products should be displayed—creating a space that people want to come into and experience something new is important.

You could also use a space in your store for product testing. For example, skincare retailer Aesop does this exceptionally well.

Aesop has a wide variety of locations, and each place has an area where people can test out their products.

Meanwhile, Gymboree created a coloring station for kids at the Del Amo Fashion Center. This way, parents can pick out clothes or pay for their orders without worrying about how much noise there is.

Other shops are finding ways to incorporate community events and face-to-face interactions into their business model. Windfall Natural, a health store in the UK, recently opened up its own retail space that’s able to change depending on what people need.

The Windfall Natural store has relocated to a new space with more options for shoppers. It’s now easier than ever before to find everything you need, all in one place.

The holiday season is a time of giving, and so, for this year’s Christmas campaign, we’ve partnered with @Dresden_Farms to raise money. Dresdens have been providing fresh produce from their family farm in western New York since 1853.

According to @retailfocus, Windfall Natural’s new store paves the way for “an extended product range, more storytelling, and regular events.”

They have a table set up at the front of their store for all you curious shoppers. They also have signs inviting people to talk with them if they need any advice. Click To Tweet

What about you? Do your customers come to buy products, or are they there for the experience? If it’s just a product sale, consider adding some customer service perks. Here’s how!


As the year comes to a close, it’s time for us to start thinking about how we will improve our businesses in 2022. You can do that by changing your store layout, so customers have more opportunities to discover new products and enjoy themselves.

Now that you know about the retail floor plan, what are you going to do?