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Floor Planning

Table of Contents 
 
What is Floor Planning?
What is the Purpose of Floor Planning?
Financial and Practical Benefits of Floor Planning
Debunking Floor Planning Myths (And Finding Out the Truth)
Common Floor Planning Mistakes
Store Problems That Floor Planning Can Fix
Macro Space Planning Strategy Essentials
How to Create The Perfect Floor Plan For Your Store
When Should You Update Your Store Floor Plan?
Understanding Store Floor Congestion
How DotActiv Approaches Floor Planning
Download Free Store Planning Ebook
 
 
 
WHAT IS Floor Planning? 

 

Floor Planning describes the entire layout of your store at a category level. In other words, it’s a visual representation or retail blueprint of where and how to position your categories in your store. By taking this big picture view of your stores, you’ll also often hear it described as “macro space planning”.

But that is not its only function.

Along with this macro view of your store, your floor plan also allows you to determine how much shelf space each of your categories should receive. This space is divided up according to the overall sales contribution for each of your product groupings.

 
What is the purpose of floor planning?

 

When it comes to any discussion around floor planning, one of the first questions to ask is about its purpose. And it’s a valid question.

The answer, however, isn’t as simple. That’s because any discussion will result in a conversation about multiple goals. A floor plan shouldn’t only attempt to fulfil one aim. Instead, it should satisfy three. And simultaneously so.

These objectives are:

  1. To please your customers with a logical product flow;
  2. To reduce floor congestion during peak shopping hours; and
  3. To maximise the selling potential of your retail space.
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The Financial and Practical Benefits of Floor Planning

 

When it comes to answering the question about whether a floor plan is worth implementing, let alone worth building, you only need to look at the financial and practical benefits.

As a side note, the benefits below also speak to the objectives of pleasing your customers and making you more money.

First up, let’s look at the financial benefits. After that, we dig into the practical benefits.

 
Financial Benefits:

 

        1. Maximise the selling potential of your retail space

By apportioning the correct amount of space to each of your categories, you can ensure that you don’t waste any of your floor space. By re-evaluating your retail data every six months - our recommendation - you can ensure that your store floor plan performs optimally.

        2. Grow your categories

As we noted in the previous section, a well-built floor plan shouldn’t only strive to meet one specific objective. In that sense, your floor plan should allow for your different product groupings to grow. That happens when you give each category the proper space allocation relative to their overall sales contribution to your store.

         3. Increase basket sizes

One of the reasons for designing a floor plan is to create a pathway for your customers to walk. If you’ve done it right, you’ll pull your customers through your store. As a result, you’re encouraging them to shop more of your store, and in so doing, increase the size of their baskets.

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Practical Benefits:

 

        1. Create logical floor plans

With the help of a data-driven floor plan, you can position your categories in a way that meets (and exceeds) the expectations of your customers. More importantly, a logical floor plan both maximises customer experience and minimises any irritations.

       2. Reduce floor congestion during peak shopping hours

When a store is busy, it becomes unpleasant to shop. Since one of your goals is to please your customers, you need to find a way to attain that. By analysing the sales and unit movement of each of your categories, you can design a floor plan that spreads out your high-traffic categories. As a result, you reduce the possibility of congestion in your store during peak shopping hours.                                                                                                                                                                          (Return to Table of Contents)

 

Debunking Floor Planning Myths (and Finding Out the Truth)

 

Just as there are myths about any other retail topic, there are also those that surround floor planning. That said, the first thing you should do after hearing a rumour is to confirm it for yourself.

That includes researching the topic on your own and cross-referencing what you’ve found with different sources. Because as soon as you do, you’ll find out the truth.

Below are three such floor planning myths, debunked.

Floor Planning High Level

Myth: You only need a high-level store floor plan

There is a perception that when it comes to building a floor plan, you don’t need anything more than a high-level version. That is, of course, not true. Not that it’s difficult to understand where this rumour originates.

Many view a floor plan as a sketch of how a store should appear. Looking at the definition of what a floor plan is could make you believe the same. What muddies the waters even more though, is that from one angle, it’s true.

It is a high-level view of your floor space.

However, there is so much more to a floor plan than that. As much as it’s high-level, it’s when you get into the details of your floor plan that you understand its real power.

It determines how your customers shop your store and can mean the difference between a pleasant or unhappy shopping experience. For example, by spreading your high-trafficked products throughout your store, you expose your customers to more of your merchandise.

Thus, the truth is this: A performance-enhancing floor plan is the culmination of detail and data. More importantly, there are no shortcuts when it comes to building your floor plan. At least not an effective one. It takes time.   

Floor Planning Data

Myth: You don’t need data to build your floor plan

In this day and age where artificial intelligence and machine learning filters into just about everything, it’s difficult to understand why there is still a belief that you don’t need to consult data when building a floor plan.

In fact, it’s reckless to believe that.

That’s because of the simple fact of what you can do with data at your disposal. For one, you’ll know which of your categories are popular and thus highly-trafficked. As mentioned above, with this information at hand, you can spread out your most popular product grouping, thus avoiding floor congestion.

On top of that, by spreading your categories out strategically, you can increase foot traffic around your entire store and expose your customers to more of your merchandise. That means more money in your pocket.

Of course, it’s not just for your benefit. This is as much about pleasing your customers as it is about increasing your sales and profit. Then again, if you focus on your customer first, and provide for their needs and wants, the direct result is a boost in your bottom line.

Not using data to build your floor plan should thus be obvious: you’ll be working blind, hoping that what you’re doing is right.

The truth is you need to base sound business decisions on both logic and data. The same goes when it comes to floor planning.

Floor Planning Software

Myth: You don’t need floor planning software

When building a floor plan for your store, it’s not enough to filter data into it and believe that you’re all set to go. While data is vital, you need something else to leverage it. That’s where specialised retail floor planning software comes in.

Let us explain.

If you’re not using specialised software, the chances are good that you’re using Excel or a similar program to build your floor plan. While it may be working for you, and it’s certainly cheaper, you need to think long-term.

As you do, you also need to think objectively about where you want to take your retail business. If you do, you’ll realise that it’s not using specialised software will cost you far more than you expect. That’s because of the threat of human error and time-wasting as a result of making mistakes.

Meanwhile, there is floor planning software that negates all of this and reduces the time spent on deciding your store layout.

Since it also incorporates your retail data, it’ll help you to apportion the appropriate amount of space to all of your categories according to their performance. And reliably so.

Of course, you could argue that software costs a lot. That said, over time, it will end up paying for itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (Return to Table of Contents)


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Common Floor Planning Mistakes

 

There is no harm in admitting that you’ve made a mistake. They happen. Sometimes more often than not. It is instead what you do after the error that counts. Of course, mistakes can also wreck your chance of success. That’s why it’s best to avoid them.

But how can you avoid them if you don’t know about them?

Here are three floor planning mistakes that you should know about so you can avoid them. As a side note, if you have made one of these mistakes, it’s never too later to correct them.

Mistake: You’re not using data to build your floor plan

We've mentioned the importance of data a few times on this page. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t repeat it. That’s especially true if you consider that the most common mistake is that retailers don’t use data to build their floor plans.

Since we’ve already mentioned what you can do data, we’re not going to go into it again. Instead, we’re going to look at the data that you need to build a practical floor plan.

That’s because you can’t use any old retail data. You need data that considers your Product, Period, Fact, and Market. Along with that, you need to know the physical size of your store as well as your retail fixture dimensions. With this information at hand, you’ll be able to determine not only your store layout but also your maximum selling space.

On the other hand, if you don’t use retail data to build your floor plan, you’ll end up with a store that doesn’t reflect the actual behaviour of your customers and how they shop. In short, you could end up placing favourite products in the wrong sections of your store, thereby frustrating shoppers.

Mistake: You’re not thinking about how your customers shop at your store

When building your floor plan, it’s not only about what you want to achieve as a retail business. In fact, you shouldn’t even think about yourself when building your floor plan.

Instead, you should be thinking about your customers first. More specifically, you should be thinking about how they shop your store. That’s because by understanding them and knowing what they buy, you can design a floor plan that meets their expectations.

Here’s an example to further illustrate our point.

Imagine a customer walks into your store with a shopping list. However, once in your store, the first product they’re looking for isn’t where they expect. Neither is the next one, or the one after that.

Before you know it, you have a customer who is flustered and confused. They’re not having a good experience in your store, and they’re even questioning why they entered your shop in the first place. That’s one of the last situations you want.

What is worse is that they’re likely to complain about your store to their friends and family. If someone close to them also has a horror story to tell about your store, that further entrenches the belief that they shouldn’t return.

Mistake: Your floor plan isn’t supporting the strategy or role of each category

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when creating a floor plan is first to build one and then try and fit the strategy or role you’ve chosen for each of your categories into that plan.

In truth, it should always be the other way around.

Only once you’ve chosen the role for each of your categories - and you’re satisfied with them - should you begin building.

That’s because, with each category role, there are strategies that can help you meet your specific goals.

For example, if you want to give one category a Destination role, you’d be better off following a strategy that builds traffic or generates excitement. Meanwhile, if you’ve given another grouping a Convention role, you should instead implement a plan that generates profit.

As a side note, there are four central category roles - Destination, Routine, Seasonal or Occasional, and Convenience. While some strategies overlap each role, many have their specific plans to help you achieve your goals as a retailer.

It’s also worth pointing out that you can either implement all four category roles in your store or decide on giving all categories one role.

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Store Problems that Floor Planning Can Fix

 

There is a lot to say 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 tempt them to buy more.

And then there is the fact that it can help you to address a myriad of problems that you can face as a store.

Problem: You’re struggling with store layout consistency across all your stores

When a customer walks into your store, they’re expecting to find what they want without too much fuss. That’s even if they’ve never visited your store.

Fortunately, smart floor planning can help you. A well-thought-out floor plan can ensure that each of your shops, no matter where they are, has the same store layout.

As a side note, when we talk about a similar store layout, we’re referring specifically to the fact that the positioning and ordering of your categories should be the same. It doesn’t matter so much about having the same amount of space per category.

In fact, you can’t expect to give your product groupings the same amount of space in all of your stores. For one, the floor area of your different stores will prevent that. Also, not each store caters to the same demographic. You should first consider your target market and location and then localise your product assortment accordingly.

If you’re an FMCG retailer, for example, whenever a customer walks into your store for the first time, they’ll know from having visited another of your stores that the Bakery is on the extreme left. The Butchery is besides that, and nearby is your Fresh Vegetables category.

Problem: You’re struggling to maximise your selling space

Finding new and innovative ways to maximise the selling space of your store is a problem that we’ve heard many times before.

That said, it’s a problem with a reasonably easy solution. That solution, of course, involves floor planning. More importantly, it includes a floor planning driven by data.

Let us explain.

A store floor plan assists you in allocating space and positioning each of your categories in your store. That said, you can’t do this effectively without retail data. And it’s not just about allocating the correct amount of space to your categories according to their performance. It’s also about giving each of your categories the exact 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 need to ensure that it has the appropriate amount of space to reflect that. That includes giving it more space than another category such as Cereals which follows a Convenience role.

The result is you’ll have more money in your pocket since you’ve given shoppers the impression that you have all of their Dairy needs covered. Of course, there is more to it and other ways to maximise your selling space.

By creating a logical product flow, you please your customers. More than that, by spreading out your high traffic categories across your store, you’re exposing shoppers to more of your merchandise, subtly encouraging them to buy more.

Problem: You’re struggling with a congested and unshoppable store during peak shopping hours

For many shoppers, the whole shopping experience isn’t one to look forward to. That’s especially true if it’s the weekly (or daily) grocery shop that can’t be put off. Keep in mind, though that in instances such as this, it’s not your fault.

It only becomes your fault when the cause of their frustration isn’t so much that they have to go shopping but that they have to shop an individual store. Here we’re referring specifically to instances where a store is far too crowded to shop.

The likelihood of facing a problem such as floor congestion becomes that much more plausible when you have a floor plan that you haven’t optimised.

So how can you use floor planning to correct this problem?

Simple: you organise your floor space so that you don't position all of your most popular categories alongside each other. You can use specialised floor planning software to help you determine which of your product groups are your top performers.

For example, after analysing your data, you’ve found that two of your best performing categories are Dairy and Household Goods. You wouldn’t want to place them in the same aisle. Instead, it would be better to set them far away from each other to avoid congestion.

Just a note of warning here. You do need to consider your product flow and how your customers shop when spreading out your categories. One of the last things you’d want to do is design a store layout that doesn’t make any logical sense to shoppers.

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Macro Space Planning Strategy Essentials

 

Spatial awareness plays a large part in helping you to make full use of your floor space and increase your return on investment. More importantly, it can go a long way to encouraging your shoppers to walk more of your store, see more of your product, and keep returning for all their needs.

In that sense, macro space planning - floor planning in other words - has become essential. But what do you need to create an effective strategy? Below are five fundamentals:

1. Space allocation

If you want to make the most of macro space planning, the key is to give each of your categories the correct amount of space on the shelf. In doing so, you’re providing your customers with a satisfying shopping experience.

More than that, by giving each category the right amount of space according to their overall performance in-store, you provide them with the opportunity to grow. It's one of the financial benefits of floor planning.

Here are a few tips:

  • Ensure your aisles are wide and spacious enough to shop comfortably;
  • Allocate most of your floor space to selling areas and minimise non-selling areas;
  • Consider sales history when allocating space to all categories; and
  • Choose a space allocation tool to make this process easy and painless.

2. Store Layout

The goals of your store layout are to present your categories in such a way that you expose your customers to the maximum amount of products you have on offer. At the same time, your floor plan needs to ensure that store traffic flowing smoothly.

It’s not a simple task.

That said, it’s also vital that you understand how the different parts of your stores connect so that you can design a layout that helps your customers to navigate your store easily. And don’t forget that your floor plan also needs to motivate them to buy more than they intended to purchase when entering.

Of course, you can’t pick any layout. Your floor plan and arrangement depends on the products you sell, your location, and how much money you can afford to put into the design.

 

3. Fixture Selection and Merchandise Presentation

The purpose of your retail fixtures is to attract the attention of your customers while simultaneously enticing them to visit a specific department.

Meanwhile, the presentation of your merchandise on your fixtures are usually organised from Brand to Category to Size to Price. To maximise your sales, you need to set your best-selling products and items in the most trafficked area.

Of course, be careful that you don’t overdo it and increase floor congestion.

As for the primary goals of your fixtures and product displays, that’s to develop a unique store image, which will ultimately create brand recognition.

The most favourable locations to merchandise your items include:

  • Feature floor displays;
  • Gondola or Aisle ends;
  • Eye-level position; and
  • Checkout and point of sales areas.

4. Visual Appeal

By creating visual hooks in-store for your customers, you stand every chance at creating a memorable first impression.

  • Lighting: Use overhead lighting fixtures to provide your store with enough light. That said, you can also use your lighting to direct shoppers down a specific path or highlight a product on display.
  • Signage: The proper usage signage can go a long way to ensuring your customers never feel confused or unsure of where to go when they enter your store. By using category signage, you also make the shopping experience that much more enjoyable.

5. Customer Behaviour and Traffic Patterns

If you want to understand how your shopper shops your store, then you only need to look at your retail data. It’ll tell you everything you need to know.

That said, it’s not only about knowing what they buy that will help you. To make full use of floor planning, you need to know so much more.

This specific customer information includes the following:

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

 

Perfect Store Floor Plan

 

How to Create the Perfect Floor Plan For Your Store

 

Building an effective floor plan for your store is about more than placing your categories wherever you want. Or, giving them any amount of space. If you aim to be successful, you need to be deliberate in your approach.

Step 1: Consider and decide on the roles of your categories

Before you consider doing anything around floor planning (in fact before your start with category management software), you need to decide the roles for each of your categories.

The reason for that is simple. Aligning internally with the role of a category is useful to understand how your customers behave towards different product groupings in your store.

More than that, the idea behind defining each product groupings’ role is to understand the purpose of each category so that your efforts consistently contribute to helping the product group reach its goal. As a result, your whole business will prosper.

As already noted, the four primary consumer-based category roles are:

  1. Destination category;
  2. Routine category;
  3. Seasonal or Occasional category; and
  4. Convenience category.

As a side note, this step is a business decision and happens outside of any category management or floor planning software.

Step 2: Draw up your initial floor plan

Once you’ve chosen your category roles, it’s time to draw up an initial floor plan.

It's merely an architectural or 2D drawing of your entire floor space. In doing this, you must ensure that you measure the actual size of your area to avoid any mistakes further on down the line.

Also, you must account for all of your fixed items such as your doors, fittings, till points and even obstructions. Once completed, it’s always helpful to walk your store to ensure that you haven’t missed anything.

That’s especially true if you’re tweaking an existing floor plan and it’s been a while since it was drawn up. You could find yourself coming across obstacles or additional fixtures that aren’t on your initial floor plan.

Step 3: Decide on the appropriate amount of space for each category

Now that you have a floor plan, it’s up to you to decide on where you want to place each of your categories.

Of course, it’s not just about placing your categories wherever you want. You also need to decide on the appropriate amount of space. You do this by analysing your retail data. The better a category performs, the most area it deserves.

As a side note, you shouldn’t just take your total sales into account when allocating space. You should also consider your units and profits contribution.

On top of that, you need to acknowledge what is to the left and right of your product groupings to ensure that it all makes logical sense to anyone shopping your store. Again, your product flow is crucial.

And then there is the flow of your entire store. While you usually reserve the front of your store as a promotions area, you'd place popular categories such as Bakery or Dairy at the back of your store.

Keep in mind, as much as retail data informs you of how much space to give to your categories, their role (and the strategy you pursue) plays a crucial part too. It also helps you decide where to place a category in-store.

For example, if you aim to boost the sales of a low performing category, you’d want to place it besides a high performing grouping.

Step 4: Analyse the performance of your floor plan

If you want to create a floor plan that works for you rather than against you, you need to have a way to analyse its performance.

That’s why it’s also worth investing in retail floor planning software. Let’s take the example of DotActiv’s software, which includes a Highlight feature.

Once you have an existing floor plan open and have populated it with gondolas, you can click on the Highlights button. This leads to a window popping up where you can select the type of highlight you want to create.

You can highlight by almost anything, including Days of Supply, Sales, Unit Movement and more. Once selected, you’ll see a heat map highlighting all of your categories. You can now start tweaking your floor plan, moving product types around to ensure that your high performing groupings aren’t all grouped beside each other.

By analysing the performance, you can also set about achieving the goals of floor planning, namely to reduce floor congestion during peak hours and maximise your retail floor space.

Click here to skip to the section on how DotActiv approaches floor planning.

Step 5: Repeat when necessary

When it comes to re-evaluating your floor plans, it’s advisable that you do it once a year. At a push, you can review it every six months. We go into more detail about how often you should update your floor plan in the next section below, including the two different chances you can make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (Return to Table of Contents)

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When Should You Update Your Floor Plan?

 

There are two different types of floor plan updates that you can make.

On the one hand, you can change the space allocation of your categories. On the other side, you can move your different product groupings around in-store. The second change essentially flips your store on its head.

Regardless of which change your make, you should handle each differently.

        1. Changing the space allocation of your categories

How often should you change the space allocation of your categories?

A best practice when re-evaluating the space allocation of your categories is to do it at least every six months. In fact, we’d advise you reassess your space more often than that, updating it on a seasonal basis and for special events and promotions.

For example, during November and December (maybe even October), you’ll want to create displays for Christmas. These displays will have an impact on your shelf space, which will, in turn, affect the immediate categories nearby. The same will happen if you create a display during any other seasonal occasion such as Valentine’s Day or Easter.

Fortunately, of the two changes that you can make to your floor plan, this is by far the least obtrusive. That’s because adjusting the space of your categories won’t confuse your customers. Your categories will still be in the same place.

Of course, when making such a change, you do need to be careful not to take away shelf space from your high performing categories. Also, when considering this change, it needs to make business sense.

What limitations do you face when making this change?

Whenever you want to make a change, there will be limitations and obstructions. That’s the way it works. However, if you know these obstacles before you begin, you’ll be better prepared. That means you’ll also know how to combat them.

In the case of changing the space allocation of your categories, there are two main limitations. They are Time and Money.

  • Time: The amount of time it takes to adjust your floor plan impacts your overall productivity. In fact, you could quite quickly find yourself needing to close down a section of your store during implementation.
  • Money: The cost implications of changing category space can be quite significant. Let’s say, for example, that you sell photographic equipment. If you need to update the space allocated to it, you might find yourself having to pack away the whole department during trading hours, which means a loss in potential sales.


        2. Moving your categories around in-store

How often should you change the space allocation of your categories?

While recommended that you change the space allocation of your categories regularly, as far as moving your product groupings around in-store, less is more.

In short, you shouldn’t make this change more than once a year. Of course, there is an argument to stretch that to every six months. While not recommended, If you do decide to go that route, you need to do it for the right reasons.

The justification for saying the above should be apparent. Changing your categories around can lead to shopper confusion and frustration.

You only need to imagine your average customer walking in expecting to find a product where it has always been located only to see it gone. As they long around, it’s not just that product. Whole categories are not where they were in the past. It’s disorientating.

On the other hand, you could find your staff preoccupied with changing categories around rather than fulfilling the roles they’re employed to do.

What limitations do you face when making this change?

You can expect to face the same limitations (Time and Money) when making this change as you would if you’re changing your category space. That said, there are additional constraints to contend with too.

  • Plug points: While it may seem insignificant, the number of plug points available to you can limit any ambitions you have for moving your product groupings around. Let’s say for example you have a category that is selling well and you want to move it around to encourage growth. However, it needs refrigeration and extra plug points that you don’t have.
  • Retail fixtures: The fixtures in your store can prove to be a headache. That’s especially true if you have fixed shelving that you can’t move and that doesn’t suit the products you want to place there. Also, since it’s best practice not to put unrelated categories alongside each other, you could find yourself with a problem if you begin moving them around.

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Understanding Store Floor Congestion

 

What is floor congestion?

There is no doubt about the fact that as a retailer, you want more customers. More shoppers in your store mean you’ll make more sales and see more profit at the end of the month.

However, there does come the point in time where having too many customers works against you.

For one, more customers mean you need to be careful about how you arrange your store. If you aren’t careful, it can lead to congestion. As the name indicates, floor congestion refers to the situation where your store is so busy that it becomes unpleasant to shop.

If it continues for a period, it could even lead once-loyal customers to consider sho

pping elsewhere.

As for how you can spot if your store is either already struggling with congestion or on the brink, there are a few ways. One approach is to monitor shoppers who walk in, grab a few items and quickly pay instead of browsing and spending time in your store.

Of course, it could be difficult to determine if this shopper behaviour is always a direct result of floor congestion. A better indication is if shoppers are walking in and out without passing your till points. If too many shoppers do this, you have a problem.

Why does floor congestion happen?

There are two clearcut reasons why your store suffers from congestion. They are:

  1. Incorrect floor planning; and
  2. Not implementing data-driven planograms.

Incorrect floor planning:

As we’ve already established, the purpose of a floor plan is to position your categories in a way that meets the expectations of your customers while ensuring a free flow through your store.

To ensure this happens, you need to analyse both the sales and unit movement of each of your product groupings. By interpreting your data, you can design a floor plan that spreads high-trafficked categories evenly across your floor space.

Not implementing data-driven planograms:

If you want to build a floor plan that meets the expectations of your customers, you need to use data in your planograms. After all, it’s the data which will help you to determine how much space each product should receive on your planogram. And it’s the data-driven planogram that ultimately fits into your floor plan.

That’s because of this reason: it adds to the overall flow of your store, ensuring the proper positioning of your categories to both avoid or reduce congestion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (Return to Table of Contents)

Floor Planning Updates
 
How DotActiv approaches Floor Planning
 

As part of DotActiv’s Enterprise solution, you’ll have access to our floor planning tool.

With this tool at your disposal, you’ll be able to build floor plans from scratch, import pre-existing floor plans, and analyse your floor plans using our Highlights feature.

How to build a basic floor plan from scratch using DotActiv’s software

Upon opening DotActiv Enterprise, navigate to the Space Planning tab. Under this tab, you’ll find a floor planning icon where you can click on ‘New’. This brings up a Floor Properties window where you can add the dimensions of your floor plan.

You’ll also be able to give your floor plan a name. Once you’ve added all the necessary information, click on ‘Okay’ and a canvas will appear on which you can begin building your floor plan.

DotActiv Floor Plan from Scratch

Your first step is to build your walls. You can do this by clicking under the ‘Tools’ ribbon where you’ll find a ‘CAD Object’ icon. A drop-down menu will appear once clicked on, giving you options from which you can choose. These options include ‘Wall’, ‘Line’, ‘Gondola Block (By number of drops - NOD), and ‘Aisle Indicator’.

Clicking on the ‘Wall’ option and then left clicking and dragging down on the canvas allows you to begin drawing the walls of your store. Once you’re happy, you can right click to exit the drawing function. At this, a window pops up asking you if you want to connect the last line you created with the closest line to complete the drawing.

Next up, you can create the gondola blocks where you’d like to place your gondolas (planograms).

To do that, click on ‘Line’ under the CAD Object icon. For easy navigation, you can hold your right mouse button in and scroll forwards or backwards with your mouse wheel to use zoom in or out. You can also highlight a specific item, hold the Control key on your keyboard and left click and hold to drag it out to create a duplicate of any gondola block.

You can also add any obstructions (by clicking on the Obstructions icon) such as till points, pillars and other immovable items.

Finally, you can add your gondola files to your floor plan. This involves first finding them on your desktop or in a folder and then dragging and dropping them onto your floor plan. From there, all you need to do to complete your first floor plan is rotate your gondolas to fit into the demarcated areas.

How to import a pre-existing floor plan into DotActiv’s software

If you’ve already built a floor plan and you want to import it into DotActiv’s software, you can do that.

Again, you’d open DotActiv Enterprise, navigate to the Floor Planning icon that appears under the Space Planning tab, and click on ‘New’. Once you’ve finished inputting your floor dimensions in the Floor Properties window, instead of building your Walls, you’ll click on the ‘Import DXF’ icon under the Tools tab.

Here, you’ll be asked to choose the location of the .DXF file that you want to import. It’s worth putting up a warning here: if you haven’t drawn your floor plan in DotActiv, you must be working with a programme that saves files as .DXF.

Once you’ve located the .DXF file and you’ve imported it, a window labelled ‘Layers’ will pop up. Layers include, among other things, your plumbing and electrical. You’d want to exclude these from your import.

DotActiv Floor Plan Import DXF File-1

After you’ve excluded the necessary layers, you’re ready to drag and drop your planogram files onto your floor pan. As a side note, if you can’t see your floor plan, right click and hold in to zoom out.

How to analyse your floor plan using DotActiv’s Highlights feature

A third action you can take using DotActiv’s floor planning tool in our Enterprise solution is to analyse your floor plan. You can do this using out Highlights feature.

As a side note, if you want to analyse your floor plan, you first need to have an existing floor plan open and populated with planograms.

DotActiv Floor Plan Highlight Feature-1

Once you’ve clicked on the ‘Highlights’ icon in the ribbon, a pop-up window will appear, asking you to select the highlight that you want to create. You can highlight by almost anything, including Days of Supply, Sales, Unit Movement and so on.

In the GIF, we’ve chosen a Sales Percentage highlight, which gives you a visual idea of which of your gondolas house your best selling categories and which are selling poorly. Then, on the right, you can select the type of Highlight. In this case, it’s Spectrum. Finally, you can customise what colours you want to use.

By clicking on ‘Okay’, you’re presented with a heat-mapped floor plan looking at Sales. If you want to look at your units sold or profit margins, you can repeat the process. Click on the Highlights button again, click on the Unit or Profit Percentage checkbox and choose the Spectrum highlight type.

In using the Highlights feature available in DotActiv Enterprise, you can understand which of your categories are your best performers and which are your worst. With this information at hand, you can begin to tweak and optimise your floor plan for the best result.

More than that, you can ensure that you don’t have too many high-trafficked categories grouped alongside each other, and in so doing reduce floor congestion.

 
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