Activating your retail space

Lauren Whitaker - Expert Merchandiser




Tip #1 

Have a clean and welcoming storefront.

Good impressions begin outside your store.

Your sign makes a big impression, so ensure that it is well lit and in mint condition. Change your window displays regularly; this shows vitality, and will inform, excite, and entice passersby. Tell product or brand stories in your windows that reflect your target market’s lifestyle, the benefits they seek, or promotions that associate with your brand’s concept.


Tip #2 

The longer a patron is in your store, the greater the likelihood of a purchase.

Traffic flow is the way the patron moves through the store.

Once inside, you want to guide the patron through the entire store via traffic flow and sightlines. This is influenced by the path you create, where you designate visual presentation zones and the placement of product fixtures. As the patron moves from one fixture to another, they move toward (and they look at) where the path leads. This result is a sightline, and it is a “hot” area in retail terms. What gets merchandised there will sell more than what is displayed in a “cold” area. Optimize sightlines by choosing to display products that are not only good for profit, but also reflect your concept values such as “we support local makers” or “we carry cutting edge, innovative products”. Incorporating brand value messages into your displays makes it easy for the consumer to identify the values you share while boosting their desire to purchase.


Tip #3 

You want to activate only select areas in your store to keep communication lean and easy to digest.

Not every square inch of retail space can be hot, and that is a good thing.

Remember to spotlight your presentation zones to further attract the eye. Rotate what products get featured and allow the rest of the product range to support positioning and context. It is all about putting the right message in the right place. If the message is clear and authentically resonates with your target market, it will result in brand loyalty and continued sales.


Tip #4 

Your cash desk is your ultimate fixture for communicating your retail image.

It can also seal your brand with a happy purchasing experience.

Keep the space orderly and allow several feet of space all around it for comfort and efficiency.


Tip #5 

From entrance to exit, your customer should feel guided through the entire space.

Delight people with visual presentations of key products/messages along the way so they walk away with a clear impression of your retail image.

Can you identify some areas of opportunities in your store to optimize sightlines and the messages told there? Perhaps some re-arranging of fixtures is in order to create new sightlines, along with re-evaluating how your product range can represent your story. Show and tell your customers what your business stands for!


You're invited!

Join Lauren as she shares her examples of store layouts in her seminar "Store Design for the Bottom Line" at the Alberta Gift Fair on Monday, August 27 from 10 - 11 a.m. in the Retail Resource Centre Hall FGH.