Is your Store Design Turning Off your Customers?

Every small business owner in the retail sector knows how important store layout is in maximizing customer sales. In this article, guest writer Josh Astor outlines some of the mistakes we may be making. Learn from these and stop losing sales.

Your store layout can make or break your in-store customer experience. As a Harris Poll conducted for the Cintas Corp. shows, 93% of U.S. adults would not return to a retailer if they experienced some type of issue related to the facility. That means that your in-store experience is critical to making sure that customers return, from the lack of personal space for customers to a cold, unfriendly experience. If you want to be sure that you’re offering the best possible experience for your customers, make sure you’re avoiding these common mistakes.

You have merchandising positioned in the “decompression zone.”

When shoppers first walk into your store, they might not take note of displays in the immediate space around them. Ideally, you want to avoid placing merchandising displays within fifteen feet of the entrance, depending on the size of your store. Those displays are more likely to be unnoticed. Instead, assume that the average visitor is going to turn their attention to the right and position your merchandise accordingly.

There are counters everywhere in your store, and your staff stays grouped behind them.

The presence of counters psychologically separate store workers from customers. While this is often comforting for your staff, particularly if they struggle to interact with customers or need a short break, it can turn customers off and make them feel separated from the salespeople and unable to get the help they need in order to make their selections. Instead, minimize countertops and only keep those that are necessary. When employees throughout the store aren’t occupied behind the counter, encourage them to wander through the store just like the customers to make them more comfortable.

Personal space is limited.

The “butt-brush effect” means that customers will avoid pursuing merchandise that means bringing another customer’s backside into close proximity. They’ll avoid making a purchase, particularly an impulse purchase, before coming into close personal contact with another customer. Make sure that aisles and floor space provide adequate personal space for every customer in order to create a better customer experience and make it more likely that they’ll come back to your store.

Your products are everywhere.

The goal is to make items that are close together make sense to one another. Create a clear sense of sections and segments throughout the store, rather than a random jumble of merchandise that doesn’t actually appear to go together. When possible, group items that are similar together, rather than making your customer walk across the store to find a new pair of socks to go with their shoes or a necklace that matches their earrings.

Your store displays are outdated.

If your store looks exactly like it did three years ago, then you have a problem. You should be rearranging your point of sale displays every few months—or potentially even more often—in order to highlight new sales, show off new products, and enhance customer interest in everything you have to offer. Make sure that you’re taking the time to consider what displays actually interest your customer. Consider what items are high-profit items for you and which ones are difficult to sell. The more you know about your customers, the better you can design your displays to fit their needs. If a display isn’t working, change it! There’s nothing that says you have to keep a particular display in your store.

Your store design is a multi-sensory experience where everything counts. Your store should have a smell that reflects your brand—and at the very least, it should be clean, not musty. If you’re selling food items, a faint fragrance that reflects those items will help encourage customer purchases. A clean visual appearance is critical to customer appeal. Even the sense of touch—dust-free displays and clean countertops, for example—helps enhance that critical customer experience. When you provide customers with a pleasant experience from the start, their opinion of your store improves, and you’ll find that they’re more likely to return in the future.


Bio: Josh Astor works for Marvolus manufacturing, a leader in the the store display industry for over 60 years. Marvolus prides itself in being a true manufacturing company and importer that partners with select suppliers on custom projects to deliver innovation that helps you become more profitable. Please visit their website to learn more

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