How to Find the Right Store Layout for Your Business

Tips on the Right Store Layout for You

Posted on 25, March, 2015

Last Modified on 30, March, 2015

Did you know that the layout of your retail space can make or break your business’s sales? Depending on the product or service for sale, certain floor plans and fixture arrangements should be strategically implemented to increase purchases. In this article, we’ll help you find the best layout to fit your business model, while encouraging sales.

Beware the Butt-Brush

Have you ever found yourself browsing in a busy store and bent over to examine an article of clothing or the label on a box of cereal when you feel your - ahhem - rear end brush up against something behind you? You immediately feel creeped out, and even a little violated, so you leave. Well, according to Paco Underhill’s essential retail book, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, the “Butt-Brush Effect,” is an odd, yet all too common experience, and it’s costing retailers dearly. Luckily, you can avoid this experience all-together with a well-planned sales floor!

Ask yourself - do you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to get to the product they walked in the store to purchase? Or, do you want to take them on a carefully choreographed journey through your merchandise, exposing them to exactly what products you WANT them to see? Depending on the retail strategy you want to employ, different store layouts may work better for your business model than others.


Free-flowing patterns of fixtures and merchandise on the sales floor, better for some than others depending on product type and sales floor space

Free Flow Store Layout


  • Visually attractive
  • Allows for easy browsing
  • Encourages impulse purchases


  • Loitering
  • Confusion
  • Inefficient use of space

*Warning: Layout may cause perfectionists unnecessary pain and discomfort


Fixtures arranged in grid pattern with long rows of merchandise

Grid Store Layout


  • Efficient
  • Customer familiarity
  • Increased visibility


  • Boring
  • Doesn't encourage browsing


Fixtures arranged in a circular pattern, which take the customer through the entire store, exposing them to a wide range of merchandise before they end up back at the beginning

Loop Store Layout


  • Exposure to the greatest amount of merchandise


  • Boring, no creativity


Fixtures arranged to allow for one main aisle down the center of the sales floor, with groups of fixtures/merchandise arranged on either side

Spine Store Layout


  • Browsing encouraged on sides while center aisle directs customers through the entire store


  • Inefficient use of space

Don't Forget to Make it Pretty

visual merchandising
Visual Merchandising is Key

Visual merchandising is also an important key to success! Your store can have an efficient and manageable layout, but if your goods look horrible when laid out, sales are certain to reflect their lackluster appearance. Don't forget to add some flair, take advantage of signage and endcaps, and think about your brand and target market. Above all, make sure customers know what your brand and your business represent.

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