3 Store Problems That You Can Fix With Clever Floor Planning
There is a lot that can be said about the power of strategic floor planning. For one, it can help you to build a store that your customers want to shop. It can also tempt them to buy more. And then there is the fact that it can help you to address many common store problems.
Let us explain.
We’ve already written an article about why smart floor planning is the way to your customer’s heart. You can read that piece here. But there is more to the argument.
Clever floor planning is not just there to please your customers. It can also help you to fix (and avoid) many common stores problems that you face. Like the three we’ve listed below.
1. You’re struggling with store layout consistency across all your stores
When a customer walks into a store, they are expecting to find what they’re looking for without too much fuss. That’s even if they’ve never been into your specific store before.
For example, if you’re an FMCG or pharmacy retailer with a few different shops throughout the country, they’d expect to find the same store layout at each. Or, at the very least, one that is similar and thus recognisable.
As a side note, when we talk about a similar store layout, we don’t mean each one of your stores needs to have the exact same amount of space per category. Or, the same product assortment within each category. That’s usually not the case. There’s your target market to consider as well as your store location.
Instead, we’re referring to the fact that the positioning and ordering of your categories should be similar so that you don’t confuse your shoppers. Also, it doesn’t help to have the same core product range.
For example, after walking into one of your stores, they visit another. They’d expect to find your Bakery on the left-hand side of your store, since that is where it’s located in the first store they visited. So that’s where you should place it too. The same goes for if they expect to find Refrigerated Goods at the back or your Fruit and Vegetables category at the front of your store.
2. You’re struggling to maximise your selling space (and increase your sales)
It’s not uncommon to hear a retailer mention in passing that they’re struggling to maximise their selling space. Or, that they’re seeking new and innovative ways to increase their sales and profit. We’ve heard it many times before.
Fortunately, in both instances, floor planning can assist. Let’s begin by looking at how it can help you to maximise your selling space.
To understand how it can do this, it’s worth looking at what a store floor plan is. As mentioned in another article, it’s the macro view of your store - a visual representation of where and how to position your categories in your store.
That means that an efficient store floor plan assists you in allocating space and positioning to each of your categories. Of course, no matter your retail experience, you shouldn’t have to guess how much space each product grouping needs.
Instead, you need to include retail data. We’ve mentioned it before: building a floor plan without retail data is a waste of time. With data, though, you can apportion the correct amount of space to each category according to their performance. More than that, you can give each category the appropriate amount of space to match the role that you’ve chosen for them.
For example, if you’ve chosen to give your Dairy category a Destination role, you’d look to provide it with more space than your Chocolate category, which follows a Routine role. As a side note, when it comes to choosing your roles, you aren’t limited to one category per role. In that sense, you can have a handful of categories in one store that follows a Destination role.
The obvious benefit of this is an increase in sales and profits. But that’s not the only way that a floor plan can lead to more sales for your store.
Smart floor planning also increases your sales and profit by creating a logical category flow that not only pleases your customers but pulls them through your store. This is done by grouping related or complementary products together and spreading out your categories.
For example, you could place a traffic building category (high unit movement) such as Dairy at the back of your store. That encourages shoppers to walk past other categories, see products they might not have realised they needed and then fill their baskets either on the way in or on their way back to your checkout point.
Cross-merchandising is also a powerful technique to use in this instance. For example, you could place your meat spices next to your butchery section.
3. You’re struggling with a congested and unshoppable store during peak shopping hours
Let’s get one point straight: your customers dislike shopping a congested store. In fact, ‘dislike’ might be too mild a descriptor here. That’s especially true if this happens during peak shopping hours.
Hundreds of customers crowding your aisles in search of products at the same time is not a pleasant scenario for anyone.
Unfortunately for you, if you don't optimise your store floor plan, the prospect of it happening during that time is almost guaranteed. However, if you approach your floor plan strategically and with your customer’s expectations in mind, there is every possibility of avoiding this problem altogether.
Let us explain.
To reduce floor congestion in your store, you need to create a space that is easy for your customers to shop. More than that, you need to organise your space so that shoppers will want to spend time in your store. That means you need to spread out your high-traffic categories evenly across your store instead of packing them all in one place.
As a side note, you need retail data for this. By analysing the sales and unit movement of each of your categories, you’d know which are your high-trafficked items.
For example, if you know that your customers enter your store to buy Bread and Milk, you wouldn’t want to place them next to each other. Instead, you should look to set them far away from each other. You could even consider putting them on opposite sides of your store.
Again, the benefit is that you’re creating a floor space that pulls shoppers through your store, which encourages them to fill their baskets. More importantly, you stand every chance at increasing your sales and profit.