We supply custom made shop fittings to retailers, brands, shop fitters and retail-designers. Often retailers will ask us for advice about store layouts and the best configuration for shop fitting equipment. So we need to understand the different options.
There are many distinct types of shop layout, but there are only four main ones. It is important to understand the best option not just for your products but also for your customers.
I recently visited a family-run mobility aid store. I was with an infirm relative and the aisles were too narrow for her wheelchair. It would be a fair assumption that wheelchair users would be within the customer profile and someone should have ensured that the store layout was in accordance with legislation around access before the design was finalised.
But, back to the four main types of layout.
Grid, Herringbone, Loop (or Racetrack) and Free Flow
The Grid Layout – is where merchandise items are displayed alongside each other on long aisles. Most supermarkets are quite square and so often use this format. Most supermarkets also place staples such as bread and milk at the back of the store to encourage the customer to walk past the impulse purchases on the way! This layout also helps shoppers to see the variety of merchandise and, of course, can increase impulse sales. The grid is not fresh though, and fashionable brands would probably not opt for it.
The Herringbone Layout is useful in long narrow stores and is similar to the grid layout but makes greater use of the side walls for offers as the customer will be facing them as they shop. As the customers are not always visible from the checkout area, it would be wise to invest in a security system!
The Loop Layout is the easiest way to guide your customers around your store. Think Ikea. I love Ikea, but you have to go prepared, with bottles of water, sucky sweets and comfy shoes! This type of layout increases impulse purchasing and, when space permits, merchandise can be “displayed in displays” – like those great room sets in Ikea, where you can see how your whole house could look. This type of design does not support a “quick pop to the shop” though.
Finally The Free Flow, not to be confused with free for all, is the layout that least conforms to rules, but can go the most wrong just because of that. I would suggest that this format would be best utilised in a more exclusive retail environment – like boutiques.
We make a range of excellent value custom made shop fittings to suit all types of layout!