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Essentials For Your Macro Space Planning Strategy
DotActiv TeamSep 13, 2022 4:37:13 PM8 min read

5 Essentials For Your Macro Space Planning Strategy

Setting up your store impacts how your customers shop and spend money, which is why you need to be strategic. A carefully laid out floor plan*, for example, can tempt them to not only shop for one particular product but also others. That includes enticing them to buy multiple other products while in your store.

Imagine this: 

A customer walks into your grocery store on their weekly shop to buy bread, milk, eggs and maybe one or two other items. Nothing too extravagant. However, as soon as they enter your store, they notice that you've placed signage near the aisles they visit, enticing them to add an extra item to their basket. It could be because of a discount or simple signage advertising a new product.

Customers Shopping In An Aisle In-Store

Do that throughout your store, and your customers will leave with a fuller basket while you benefit from additional sales.

Mind you, your customers benefit because you're ensuring a better shopping experience for them. 

That aside, spacial awareness plays a critical role in helping you to increase your return on investment. You want to create a floor plan that requires shoppers to walk through your store and view the maximum number of products to steer them towards the want to place more items in their baskets. 

But what does into such a floor plan? Macro space planning or floor planning has become an essential tool, and you must understand the fundamentals that can assist you in creating an effective macro space planning strategy.

Consider Your Available Space And Optimise It

1. Consider your available space and optimise it

As a retailer, you need to optimise the space you have available to you. That's if you want to maximise your selling potential.

Your first step includes determining how you want to allocate your available square metres amongst your various merchandise and product categories. Do you want to give more space to specific products and less space to others? 

When deciding, you need to remember your customers too. Your goal should be to allocate enough space to the right products to provide a satisfying shopping experience for your customers. Anything less will result in frustrated customers, directly impacting your monthly sales. If customers can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll go elsewhere.

But also keep this in mind: the more products your customers see and walk past, the more opportunities you’ll have to entice them to fill their baskets.

So what are our best tips when considering your available space?

  • Ensure your aisles are spacious so that customers can move around comfortably. Nobody likes bumping elbows when shopping in a store.

  • Allocate the maximum space to selling areas and minimise any non-selling areas. Kind in mind that you need to find a balance so that you don't overcrowd the store or make it claustrophobic to shop.

  • Allocate product space based on the sales history of the product. If a product isn't selling well, reduce its shelf space and replace it with products that are providing a good return on your investment.

  • Invest in a space allocation tool like DotActiv Enterprise. With DotActiv Enterprise, you can create customised strategic floor plans that draw shoppers through your store, increase their basket size and reduce floor congestion during your peak shopping hours.

Use A Store Layout That Keeps Shopper Traffic Flowing

2. Use a store layout that keeps shopper traffic flowing

The store layout you choose must keep in mind how you want your customers to shop in your store. It also needs to consider your available floor place.

For example, it's not advisable to choose a loop layout if you have a large store and want your customers to browse your various products. Yes, it provides your shoppers with enough space so that it doesn't feel like your store is overcrowded. However, it defeats the point of what you want to achieve.

Your goal is to expose customers to the maximum amount of products while keeping shoppers walking through your store.


Did you know? With a DotActiv solution, you can draw customers through your store, increase their basket size and reduce floor congestion. Book a complimentary custom consultation with a DotActiv expert today to find out how.


It’s also critical to understand how the different parts of your store interconnect to design a store layout that helps shoppers navigate your various sections.

Your store layout should also enable customers to locate merchandise easily and motivate them to make unplanned impulse purchases. Pick a store layout that will guide your customers to where you want them to go once they enter your store. 

A few popular store layouts include:

  • Grid layout;
  • Loop layout;
  • Free-flow layout; and
  • Herringbone layout.


Each floor plan and store layout will depend on the type of products you sell, your physical location and how much money you can afford to put into the overall design of your store.

Consider The Fixtures You Use To Display Your Merchandise

3. Consider the fixtures you use to display your merchandise

Fixtures are free-standing or wall-mounted displays designed to attract attention and bring shoppers to the department you want them to visit, where you feature the latest and most exciting merchandise that you have available.

When presenting your merchandise within a department, you'd usually present it according to:

  • Brand;
  • Category;
  • Size; and 
  • Price

As for where best to locate your merchandise in-store? That does depend on your goals for a product or category. Do you want to increase sales for a specific product over a chosen period? Or do you want to grow the overall sales of a grouping? 

According to KVS Madaan, author of Fundamentals of Retailing, the most favourable locations include:

These are not the only tips worth mentioning. If you want to be strategic when placing products, we cover a few more tips and tricks based on the essential findings of retail product placement experts.

As for how to use your retail fixtures to improve your store, we have advice on that too. In short, it’s not only your store layout that can (positively or negatively) impact your overall sales - your retail fixtures can play just as critical a role.

Set The Right Mood To Create A Positive First Impression

4. Set the right mood to create a positive first impression

Stocking the right products to meet consumer demand is a surefire way to please your customers and encourage them to return. 

It's not the only way, though. There is also the atmosphere that you create in-store. It’s called atmospherics and can go a long way to setting the right mood and creating a consistent and positive impression.


Do you want to create a good first impression for any shoppers who visit your store? Book a complimentary customer consultation with a DotActiv expert to find how out we can help you achieve that!


When setting up your macro space planning strategy, it's vital to include powerful visual hooks and set the right mood, which you can achieve with atmospherics.

That includes the following:

  • Lighting: You can use overhead lighting to provide your store with the correct illumination. There are many different options, including general or ambient lighting, task lighting, accent lighting and decorative lighting. Each suits different parts of your store and fulfils a specific role. Then there's the case of looking at the products you sell and matching them to the type of lighting that will help you highlight them best.

  • Music: When choosing the music it's best to ask yourself what type of mood you want to create in your store. Do you want to create a fun, upbeat atmosphere? Would you prefer to have a calming and relaxed atmosphere? Also, what type of customer do you want to attract since it will go a long way in helping you decide the genre (and tempo) of the music you play in-store.

  • Scent: Did you know you can use smell to enhance the shopping experience? By choosing a scent that speaks to your customer. be that floral, baked bread, lavender, vanilla or something else - you can invite them in and even encourage them to shop for longer. 

  • Colour: As we mentioned in an article which focuses on atmospherics, people attribute certain emotions to colours. It's also why colour is a powerful visual merchandising tool and one that you should consider using. When choosing your colour scheme, consider your target market and what they like. But don't go overboard by choosing too many colours.

Besides these, it’s also critical to consider your signature.

By using the correct signature, you can guide shoppers from one category to the next, making it easier for them to find what they want. That includes using directional signage (hanging signs from the ceiling) or category signage within each department to help shoppers identify the type of products on offer.

Understand Consumer Behaviour And Traffic Patterns

5. Understand consumer behaviour and traffic patterns

This might be surprising to read, but shopping habits are surprisingly easy to predict. So long as you have the appropriate data gathering tools and established processes, it's easy to understand behaviour and react accordingly. 

You can (and should) optimise your macro space on specific customer information such as:

  • What shoppers buy;
  • How they buy;
  • When they buy and why they buy;
  • How these patterns shift throughout the day; and
  • The role your categories play for customers.

It's also advisable to base the above five elements on thorough research, data gathering, analysis and review. Without that, you'll be second-guessing. What will end up happening is you could stock the wrong product in the incorrect areas of your store, which will frustrate and anger your customers. 

We also advise this: never think that you are finished. Your macro space planning strategy should be under continued review as consumer demand and expectations change.

Customers Walking Around A Store Shopping For Different Products


Your macro space planning strategy will be dependent on your overall business strategy and needs to be considered in light of specific data gathered. It is important that your strategy remains focused on your customers’ needs and motivations.

Are you interested in a category management solution that can help you entice customers into your store and keep them returning? Why not book a custom exploratory consultation with a DotActiv expert here and we can show you how.

*This article was updated on 13 September 2022.


DotActiv Team

The DotActiv team comprises category management experts lending their retail experience and knowledge to create well-researched and in-depth articles.