The best use of retail floor space

Updated February 21, 2017

Retail merchandising is one way stores try to entice customers to spend money on their products. The phrase "buyer beware" has never been more appropriate as retailers have evolved the ways they use floor space to improve sales and profits. The best use of your available space involves developing a layout that will maximise the likelihood that a customer will purchase from you.

Transition Zones

Design a transition zone that includes all of the elements that will get the customer in the buying mood. Transition zones are the areas located at the entrance to a store of department that will take the customer out of "their" world into "your" world. Appeal to all of the customer's senses so that they are interested enough to move ahead. This is the place where your mood music and any smells you pump in through the air conditioning should make contact with the customer. Place featured products that are visually interesting or items that people may want to pick up and touch in the transition zone. Also place your shopping trolleys or baskets inside the transition zone.

The Pathway

Develop a pathway through your store that you would ideally like your customers to follow. You may use the design of the floor to guide them by making a tile path through otherwise carpeted areas or simply arrange merchandise to form the pathway. Customers (especially first-time shoppers) have the tendency to walk in the door and take the first right to begin exploring a store. This choice is subconscious and is known as "invariant right." This tendency is related to the fact that most people are right-handed. Keep this in mind.

Try blocking the way with displays of inexpensive items that are likely to be added to the cart. This slows the shopper down and allows them to see other items in the immediate vicinity. Design your user-friendly path so that aisles do not empty out next to the register, as this may tempt the shopper to go ahead and check out before they have looked through your entire store.

Lure Them In

Men pose a specific challenge in many stores. Many men only go into stores for a specific item, pick it up and walk straight to the register to pay for it. Interfere with the "man plan" by placing items that appeal to men in locations that are visible and obvious from the transition zone but are actually deep into the store near lots of products that are appealing to men or who men shop for.

If the customer walks back to the area to get a better look at the item, they are suddenly faced with lots of interesting items and you have opened their eyes to the fact that they could buy other things here instead of walking straight to the shelf and straight out the door.

End Caps And Checkout

Place high-profit items with a low retail price on the end caps of your aisles. People assume end caps are reserved for sale merchandise, but often they are simply obviously placed profit-makers. Take advantage of impulse shopping by placing low-ticket everyday items (batteries, gum) next to the register.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.