Retail Store Design – Make it Profit Focused

Interior store design might not be one of the first things that you think of when contemplating ways to bolster your store’s profit. But maybe it should be.

It is an interesting time to be a store manager or owner. The realities of the worst economy since the great depression are putting an extreme amount of downward pressure on sales and profit. Therefore, It is important that you fight back and lift against this downward pressure with whatever means you find at your disposal. I suggest that you consider how a new store layout or interior store design might impact your success.

Too many managers are so tuned in to the mathematics of profitability, i.e. inventory turns, days on the book, gmroi, etc, that they fail to consider how successfully their store design interfaces with their customers. In an article titled Reality Check that appeared in the October 2009 issue of Hardware Retailing, Dan Tratensek, the author, made a strong case for the fact the managers don’t understand how customers define customer service. While the surveyed managers defined customer service in terms of people, knowledgeable and friendly, many of the customers said that it was about the environment instead. They spoke of selection of product, easy to find product and easy ingress/egress as important too. In fact over 30% of those surveyed said that these were more important considerations than were the friendly, knowledgeable employees.

That is strong argument for reexamining your store’s interior design and layout. For example if you redraft your store’s design exposing vantage points to the longest or deepest areas possible you will, no doubt, make the store appear larger. Make your store appear larger and your customers will infer that your store has more products and better selection. Contrast this against a store design that makes the shopper feel confined by tall gondolas set up in a fashion that blocks views. If the space in which the customer is shopping feels small or restricted, then not only does the customer feel uncomfortable, but she also senses that the store is smaller and now the inverse, feels that your store has less selection.

Consider introducing some space into your store design. Perhaps you’ve noticed that the trend is away from the towering gondolas that we saw being used so predominately just a few years ago. Makes sense to me. With lower gondolas one can improve turns, force their way into making sure the dogs are eliminated and once again, by opening deeper vistas into the store, make it appear larger.

Good retail store design is as much science as it is art. So, go ahead get busy. It’s time to reexamine your retail store design and make it profit focused