How to design the right retail layout

Kate Rowe, founder at Spaceworks Interiors, talks about what’s key when implementing the right retail store layout for customers.

Founded by husband and wife partnership Kate and Michael Rowe, Spaceworks Interiors aims to make a difference to independent and family owned businesses, which are a key driver of entrepreneurship, employment and innovation. They have worked with brands such as Woods – Dorchester; Barbours – Dumfries; and Gillies – Broughty Ferry, to name but a few in the furniture space.

What is key to a retail layout?

Creating a magical mystery tour, keeping your customer guessing as to what is going to come next – a sense of exploratory, a sense of being able to linger as it’s a pleasant experience to – not because they’re lost and can’t find their way amongst a sea of furniture – make things easy and clear – messaging, lighting, pricing – appeal to the senses and engage with your customer to spend time.

Maximise the layout potential by knowing your customer and why they are shopping you – and layout your store according to those needs – Demand purchases– I need a new sofa, ours has come to the end…. and impulse purchases – “I’d like a velvet fashionable sofa, as they look hot in this week’s style magazine” …. and then browser products – “by the way, I fancy a reclining chair and footstool”– ensure you place your demand products where customers have to pass your impulse products and leave plenty of room for the browsers for customers to deliberate – and soon you’ll have a winning formula to maximise your retail journey.

And what’s not? 

Making the journey too obvious – don’t be too excited to make the route around the store too easy that it can be done visually by your customers from the entrance at a glance and therefore dismissed to get any further. Ensure sight lines and clear across the store to places in the distance of interest, build expectation early from the entrance and make sure you deliver on the journey to meet those expectations. Avoid overcrowding aisles, and blocking up with too much noise and distraction of fixtures, displays, stands and messaging – customers can be confused quickly, disheartened and leave too soon.

Any layout trends?

Where retailers offer experiential journeys and customer engagement – what more are you offering your customer than of the expected? Supermarkets offering free tasters, using IT to find our more about certain products, Theatre and Wow displays – using props and merchandising to create innovative and unique displays that are memorable and changing – key points of customer focus in store are used to display ‘best in range’ dressed displays, cross mechanised to offer more and entice the customer to stop, like and buy – customer service points that are clear and welcoming with staff to match – all these elements will ensure our shoppers return to repeat the experience and find out what’s new next time.

Any top tips?

Know your target audience and current customers – ensure products they want to buy are easy to find yet they must travel past and experience other items along the journey. The Flow – a strong store layout should flow seamlessly and allow access to all of your products and areas of your store without causing blockages. Lighting – this is often key and overlooked as unnecessary – good light draws attention to your products and enhances appearance. Strong displays – you’ve got your customers where you want them, now make an impression and persuade them to buy. Dress the sofa set with accessorising cushions, add a side table with a small pot of flowers, place a rug on the floor and ensure price tags are clear and clean to read.

Image caption: Designed by Boundary Space and realised by Spaceworks Interiors

Save this article for later

You can revisit this article if you save it as favourite news!

Leave a Comment


Keiran Hewkin, founder and CEO of sofa-in-a-box brand Swyft, talks about their recent ownership transition and what it means for the business moving forward....