The layout of a shop can make all the difference when it comes to getting customers through the door. Get it right and you will have a store that is easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye. Get it wrong, however, and customers will be left tripping over clutter and unable to find what they are looking for, possibly choosing to shop elsewhere as a result.
But with so many different store formats and sizes, what may work for one business may not work for another. In light of this, Booker retail development controller Paul Birch paid a visit to Knighton Field Store in Leicester, run by brothers Mitesh and Alpesh Kanabar, who are in the process of changing their shop layout with the help of Booker.
- Always keep high value goods, such as alcohol, in full view of the main counter. This will act as a deterrent to potential thieves and will cut down on theft.
- Before undertaking a store refit, ask your customers for their opinions on improvements they would like to see. Planning your layout around the needs of your customers will give them the confidence to continue shopping at your business.
- Use advice from manufacturers and wholesalers to determine the best location for key product categories, and adapt your layout accordingly. Doing so will attract the attention of shoppers and lead to more sales.
- Use EPoS sales data to help you manage your store layout more effectively. Increase or decrease shelf space accordingly to ensure clutter and waste is kept to a minimum.
1 Know why and when shoppers visit your shop so you can plan layout
Having visited the shop previously to start the process of change, the first thing that immediately strikes Paul is the removal of a partition that used to run down the centre of the shop. Mitesh explains that this was the first thing he had discussed with Alpesh in regards to changing the store layout. “With the centre partition in place, no-one could see over the other side because it ran from the floor to the ceiling,” he says.
With the partition up, customers would enter down one side, make a beeline to the Post Office counter at the back of the store, and then exit out of the other side without pausing to browse.
To rectify this, the brothers have now opted for individual shelving bays and gondola ends that run parallel to the shop’s front window, which has made the aisles easier to shop. The height of the shelves has also been kept around head height, meaning customers can search for what they are looking for more easily.
2 Use the right location for key categories so they are easy to find
As well as changes to the existing layout, Mitesh and Alpesh have also introduced additional shelving units to increase their shelf space for a wider range of products. Examples include a promotional bay being erected at the front of the store, designed to pick up impulse sales as soon as customers step through the door and show the shopper the great value available.
A three-tier open dairy deck chiller is also being installed in the next few weeks close to the front counter, which will allow Alpesh and Mitesh to expand into sandwiches and other chilled food-to-go snacks. Paul says food-to-go products are continuing to grow in volume, and stocking these would further build the store’s reputation as a top destination for convenience goods.
3 Make your layout accessible to all, without obstructions
While working with Booker to come up with initial design plans for a store refit, one of the key considerations for Mitesh and Alpesh was providing their customers with more accessibility to make it easier for them to get around the shop.
To achieve this, the space between each shelving bay has been given enough width to allow staff to refill shelves without obstructing shoppers browsing the aisles.
Mitesh and Alpesh had also shown their understanding of effective store layout during a refit completed a few years back. This led to the installation of an electronic front door and an access ramp for wheelchair users. Alpesh explains that this has also helped elderly customers who previously had difficulty using the steps that were in place before.
4 Minimise loss by placing high-value lines in highly visible locations
On top of the changes that are being introduced, Mitesh and Alpesh are also aware that certain parts of the store layout must remain. More specifically, the alcohol section, which is located near the front counter, will remain in place. Paul agrees this is the best course of action, as this will help staff keep an eye on high-value goods, which will act as a deterrent to potential thieves.
5 Keep the store tidy and well stocked for maximum effect
With additional product categories being introduced to the store, there is a potential risk of more clutter developing on the shop floor while staff restock the shelves. Paul says Booker will continue to monitor sales data from the shop to determine which lines are selling well and which are underperforming. With this data, Mitesh and Alpesh can adapt their shelving bays to accommodate additional lines, which in turn will keep waste to a minimum.
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