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Which Store Layouts Are Best For Your Business?

Your floor plan is crucial in managing store traffic flow and an understanding of which store layouts are best for your business is more important than you might think for the overall performance. The right layout design will allow customers to shop in your store easily. Your store layout is a powerful tool for retailers to communicate and create the image of your store to customers.

There are no restrictions on the layout of your shelves or floor patterns when it comes to a free flow layout. This allows for complete creative freedom when designing your store because it does not encourage people to follow a particular path around your store unlike other designs. Instead, it allows shoppers to browse and move in any direction they please. Read on to learn which store layouts are best for your business.

What is customer flow and why is it important in store layout and design?

Before we dive into different layout options for your store, let’s discuss the importance of understanding your customer flow and how it affects sales.

The flow of customers through a store is how many people enter and exit the store, and at what times.

You can track the flow of customers in and out of your store in a few different ways, such as:

Customer flow is important in store layout and design because it helps you understand how customers move through your store and what areas are most popular. This information can help you optimize your layout to improve customer experiences and increase sales.

It’s important to understand customer flow in order to optimize store layout and design. By understanding how customers move through the store, you can identify areas that are visited frequently or not visited at all, which can help inform your visual merchandising plan. Additionally, monitoring customer flow can give you insights into overall customer behavior.

Knowing how customers flow through your store will help you create a planogram that will be more effective.

You can use data from store visits to determine which areas of your store design are helping you make money and which ones might be causing you to lose sales.

When you have a well-designed store layout, customers will move through the space in the way you want, and your sales will go up.

You can improve customer flow in your store by evaluating your entire store design or just the layout of a particular area if you find that many areas aren’t getting any shopping traffic and inventory isn’t moving.

Retail Store Layout Design 

Some stores arrange their products in dense rows, while other shops spread them out for shoppers to browse. This depends on the types of products that the store sells.

Some retail stores utilize signs to help guide their customers. This can be helpful for customers who are not familiar with the store layout and can also help with navigation. Some shops choose to space out their products for more casual shopping.

It’s also possible to mix in traditional retail shop designs in unique and interesting ways. We’ll give a few examples below.

Consider the layout of your retail store. You can divide your floor space into different “zones”, use “focal points” to draw customer attention, and vary the “merchandise” you display.

Which Store Layouts Are Best For Your Business

When selecting and planning your layouts, consider your products, desired consumer behavior, and the square footage available when deciding on a layout for your retail space. Consider the grid if you have many dissimilar products.

Free-flow arrangements may be more suitable for smaller products. Mixing loop and free-flow styles can help shoppers slow down and browse.

It is important to understand the bones of your store. This can have a direct impact on your sales.

There are several factors to consider when putting together a floor plan for your space.

Retail store interior design

This is the visual aspect of your space and requires the use of floor plans and strategic space management. This can be used to tell your story, as well as make your retail store appealing to the eye.

Customer behavior

This is how a customer navigates the store and interacts in stores. The pattern that customers follow when they enter a store has been proven by observation and tracking techniques. For example, 90% North American customers will immediately turn to the right. Most shoppers, especially women will avoid areas that could lead to bumping with other shoppers.

Your store’s geographical location

Customers are already making unconsciously formed opinions about the place they live before they even step foot in your store. Your retail location is not only a determinant of rent but also sets expectations for your store. For example, if you are a high-end retailer selling homewares, you won’t want to be in a poor neighborhood.

Window appearances and entry

Window displays are often ignored by many retailers, especially smaller ones. This is a mistake. Linda Cahan, a retail visual designer expert, says that each window should tell a story. Just like the eyes are windows into a person’s souls, store windows provide glimpses of the treasures inside.

Consider your market. If you are a high-end retail shop, it is important to remember that luxury space conveys luxury. Think of jewellers. Only a few pieces are displayed in windows at a given time, indicating that each piece is unique.

Store Exterior and Decompression Zone

All businesses, regardless of size, have one thing in common: their entrances. The storefronts or windows can lure customers in, while signage can guide them.

The exterior of your business can be a great place to promote specials, new products, or new lineups. By using eye-catching signs, you can draw in customers and let them know what you have available.

Customers will first enter the store in the Decompression Zone. This area of the shop is designed to get them used to their surroundings and show them what products are available. By having all sections accessible from here, it makes it easy for customers to find what they need.

When a customer enters a retail store, they are usually greeted with a “decompression” area. This space is designed to give the customer a preview of what the store has to offer. By placing all products in this area, stores such as BestBuy help their customers find what they need. Also, signs can be used to direct customers to different departments or highlight top-selling items in a prominent location.

Signage can be used to help direct customers to specific departments or to items that are most popular. Placing these items on a “power wall” will help draw customer’s attention.

90% of your customers will turn left upon walking in, so make sure your products are set up in a way that encourages them to explore.

Because of this, many stores place their cash registers to their right, while placing their impulse items to their left.

Grid Layout in Retail Stores

The most common type of retail store is the grid format.

This type of shelving is common in stores that have a lot of products, like supermarkets, drug stores, and big box stores. It’s used to make the most use of space by organizing many different kinds of products.

Pros of the Grid Store Layout

The grid layout is simple and easy to use. This layout design strategy has many benefits, one of which is that it is easy to categorize products. This makes it easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for. Additionally, the grid layout is simple and easy to use, making it a popular choice among shoppers.

Pros and Cons of the Grid Format in Retail

The “grid” or “list” format is not the most engaging, and can be difficult to use to create an enjoyable shopping experience. The “one way” flow of the layout means that customers cannot easily shortcut to what they want, and that items are not clearly visible. This forces the customer to look down every aisle, and up every row.

Despite its flaws, the grid layout is popular among retailers because they know how to use it to increase sales. Some ways they do this include

While the grid layout is very common in retail, there are some drawbacks. One is that it can be repetitive and boring for shoppers. Another is that if not done well, it can be confusing and hard to navigate.

Herringbone Store Layout Design

The open, circular design of the Herringbone Store Layout Design is perfect for smaller spaces. The aisles are laid out in a grid pattern, making it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for. This is ideal for small stores, such as hardware and grocery stores, as well as public libraries.

This approach is ideal for small hardware stores and even community libraries.

A disadvantage of a herringbone layout is that it limits the visibility of products. To combat this, consider adding end caps to your display. This will increase customers’ awareness of the products and boost your profits.

The Loop Store Layout is a type of single-page website that guides visitors through all of the available items before leading them to the checkout page.

This store design strategy has many benefits, including maximizing exposure to products, streamlining foot traffic, and limiting opportunities for customers to browse.

One of the best-known uses of a loop layout is by Swedish furniture giant, Ikea, which encourages shoppers to meander from section to section of the store. Loops are also used in museums and specialty stores.

Free-Flow Layouts

Free flow layouts are the opposite of linear, where visitors are guided through your site in a predetermined order.

This distinction between a free flow and a spontaneous design is subtle, but important. Both follow certain guidelines, but to the average eye, one looks more planned than the other.

A retailer’s store layout is flexible, but customers need enough space to walk around and browse. Instead of traditional aisles that are organized in rows, products are grouped in clusters that follow the “shopping principle” of grouping similar products together.

Free flow displays place high-value items at eye level, while staples are put towards the back of the store. Departments are set up in more of a “free form” style, without aisle dividers.

A free flow design strategy is an excellent choice for stores looking to display different products. However, it does limit the amount of space available for product listings.

Free flow displays are often found in small boutiques or in more open areas in large retail stores. These allow customers to move about freely without following a particular route.

Mixed, or Free Flow, Layout

This layout can be adapted to any retail space, in any shape or size.

Since customer behavior is the only thing that’s constant in this store, we know that they’ll enter and go right, and that they don’t want to go up or downstairs. We also know that they don’t want aisles to be too wide. By keeping in mind these customer behaviors and creating a floor plan that accommodates them, we can design a store that maximizes sales.

Pros and Cons of the Mixed Layout

This format is best suited for stores selling small amounts of products. This arrangement makes it easy to guide customers through the store. This setup can be used to highlight certain products or promotions.

Pros and Cons of the Mixed Layout

The mixed layout can be less space efficient and may be more confusing for customers.

If the store’s layout is not logical, it can cause confusion for shoppers and disrupt traffic flow. This can lead to shoppers leaving the store without making any purchases.

People who are shopping at the store often leave soon after they enter and rarely buy anything.

Retailers use promotional displays and visual merchandise to control traffic flow. The hope is that shoppers will be enticed to jump from one promotion to the next.

A power wall is a large, visually appealing display that can be used to grab the attention of shoppers as they move along the store.

If customers are not finding what they need, retailers can change the store layout to guide them to the desired product. This can be done by changing the placement of fixtures and signage.

Visualizing your store layout design

Experimenting with different layouts for your office space can be time-consuming.

When trying out new stores, it’s important to have samples of the products you want to display. This is why so many retail stores are relying on digital retail layout and design tools to help them optimize their space.


Now you know which store layouts are best for your business. Remember, store layout and merchandising have a direct impact on your traffic in the store, dwell times, and sales. It is important that you spend the time and resources to ensure that your stores look great. A well-designed store layout should make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for and guide them through the space efficiently. Your

Remember also that your work is never done when it comes layouts, displays, or merchandising. Keep looking for new trends and ways to improve your game.