When we talk about “retail traffic flow,” you may be picturing a rush hour highway instead of the way shoppers move throughout your store. In a way, your mental image of a busy street isn’t so far off the mark. Most of us move through stores and aisles following ingrained traffic laws like “keep to the right” whether we’re on foot or four wheels. Read on to learn about the subconscious “traffic laws” your shoppers follow – and how your store’s layout can optimize that natural retail store traffic.
Get On the Grid
A good retail floor traffic flow allows your customers to move through every part of your store efficiently – while ensuring that customers don’t just grab what they need and walk right to your register, missing over half your merchandise. How customers move through your store can depend on what you’re selling.
For example, if you’re a store selling products that don’t require much explanation from customer service representatives, or if people generally know what products they’re going to buy when they come to your store, consider creating aisles to keep things from getting too crowded. This type of floor setup is commonly referred to as The Grid, and uses smaller counters as well as aisles to break up store space. If you want to break up your store, but don’t quite have the space for full aisles, you can create your own customized retail floor displays that show off popular items and create intuitive segments for shoppers to move through. Plus, this encourages those who originally come in for a single item to learn more about the products in your display, increasing the chance of the revenue-raising impulse buy.
The Grid plan is especially useful if you have a lot of stock, since you can store more items in the fixtures. If you’re concerned about how to make counters and retail floor fixtures appealing, consider investing in some standalone customized retail displays that tell shoppers more about a specific product, or even smaller retail displays to sit atop counters and registers.
Create Shapes and Angles
If your store specializes in more boutique items, or those that may require a bit of a tutorial, consider the Free Flow store layout. Create displays in fun, unexpected shapes for your retail displays, and arrange them in a more open plan – think of it like hopping from one lily pad to another. That way, customers have a chance to interact with and learn more about your products. Plus, they’ll be more likely to try new things if they can already see what’s going on at another “display station.” Get creative with your displays in a Free Flow layout to encourage browsing. Customers can check out what’s at another table or display while they wait for the one they came in for to free up – who knows what they’ll walk out with?
A few more tips to make shoppers more comfortable:
- Don’t bombard customers with enormous “SALE” signs the second they walk in the door. Not only will they go right to the sale table, ignoring full-price merchandise, they are also more likely to forget to come back to it later if they walk in focused on finding specific items. Let them hunt for it!
- Put trial size items and “impulse buys” right near the register. Think about the “little things” you always seem to need more of, or forget to buy! A tried and true trick of the trade? Placing smaller, fun items at children’s heights while they wait in line is sure to boost sales.
- Remember that lighting matters, too. We follow traffic lights, don’t we? Make sure your high-traffic areas are well-lit and cast a bit of a shadow on areas you’d prefer customers didn’t linger in. And use accent lighting to cast a glow on newer items!
We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about how to be the perfect traffic controller of your store. Don’t let a poorly-managed store layout turn every day into Black Friday. Keep checking back with our blog for more tips.