It can be tempting to utilize every commercial space available in a retail store. After all, the more the fittings, the better the shopping experience, right? Well, not really. Like with fine arts, using empty spaces appropriately can yield impressive results. It can even drive sales to your store when you least expect it. The goal of a retailer is to improve the customer’s shopping experience and this can be achieved by creating a mixture of product displays, shelving, and aisle navigation.
By using empty spaces the right way, you’re able to create a road map that guides your customers towards your featured products. It’s about organizing in-store elements in a way that maximizes sales per square meter. A great example of this is grocery stores which are laid out to guide customers to the best-looking products — fresh food.
1. Create an effective decompression zone
If you want to create the ultimate shopping destination for your customers, you have to know how to maximize empty spaces in your retail store. Here’s how you can do just that.
The first space your customers step into when they enter your store is called the decompression zone. This area opens their mind to the whole shopping experience and invites them to browse and explore. An efficient decompression is composed of the following things:
- Has a wide, open space that’s free of clutter
- Has easy access into the store with a clear overview of the products
- Is free of distracting advertising or marketing gimmicks
- Welcomes customers by giving them a bit of space
- Design elements that entice customers to walk inside
What this does is it transitions the customer’s distracted mindset into a calmer state, ready to embrace the actual shopping experience and engage with your products.
2. Use visual breaks to encourage impulse buys
Plenty of retailers use visual breaks called “speed bumps” to provide shoppers the opportunity of making seasonal/impulse buys. Speed bumps are done by placing signages, popular items, or special products halfway along a section. This catches the customer’s attention, slows them down, and zones in on your retail displays.
Retailers often stock staple items (products that customers buy frequently) at the back of the store to maximize the amount of time the customers spend inside, thus increasing basket size and producing more opportunities for impulse buys. You can also remove windows on empty spaces to minimize distractions and keep your customers inside the store for longer.
3. Add visual appeal thru blocking and negative space
A tiered formation is a form of visual appeal wherein retailers create a triangular composition using style or colour to highlight certain products. For example, some products are high in the back while others are tumbling to low in the front. Some products are placed in a center feature and merchandise out in a symmetrical manner, placing the best sellers upfront in a prominent location to attract customers to buy using visual appeal.
Making use of negative space also achieves the same effect. Negative spaces in between items helps distinguish them from one another and creates a visual divide that separates generic products and your premium, high end items.
4. Shelf spacing
Shelf spacing is about strategically positioning your fixtures in hopes of manipulating your customers to buy more. This is a constant topic of debate amongst retailers, with some believing that eye-level is the sweet spot for shelves while others believe that a higher positioning is much better. Some retailers even use “end caps” where products are displayed at the end of an aisle, with the reason being those items receive the most exposure.
Regardless of the position you choose, one thing’s for certain; don’t overdo your shelving systems. Using too many shelves actually reduces product availability and will negatively impact their presentation while too little shelves creates an empty space that distracts customers away from the products. Find a happy medium that you think will enhance the shopping experience of your customers.
5. Direct customer flow
Retailers know how important it is to make it easy for shoppers to find what they’re looking for. Most of the time, retail stores implement a customer flow that goes from right to left, since most people are right-handed. But if you want to switch things up and capture the attention of your customers, a left to right customer flow will provide them with new stimulation when shopping.
By implementing these 5 tips, you’ll be able to maximize empty spaces in your retail store and create an aesthetically pleasing layout that your customers will surely appreciate. If you’re looking to hire professional shopfitters to help with your retail store, contact us at 360 Shopfitters today.