Retail strategy store development: The store lay-out

Toolbox Revisited

Within a succesfull branding process, a clear basic idea and the uniqueness of the products offered are not enough. The result should also be attractive in its elaboration. The quality of the translation of the basic principles into the store image is therefore an extremely important succes factor. In order to carry out this process in the best and most complete way possible Jos de Vries The Retail Company has developed a practical toolbox.

This toolbox contains all the tools to create a complete and distinctive store concept. Using this toolbox, you will avoid making random decisions about the store´s image. They will always be rooted in the basis principles of the formula.

The various parts included in the toolbox are:

Tool 1. Store lay-out
Tool 2: Store design
Tool 3: In-store graphics
Tool 4: Visual Merchandising
Tool 5: Shop front Design

The store Lay-out

A properly structures and intelligently developed layout is probably one of the most underrated characteristics of a successful store formula.This chapter will provide you with a systematic presentation of the layout. The layout will be discussed from all angles and specified in more detail on the basis of the "ten golden rules".

The importance of good layout

Why is good layout so important? Is it not sufficient to offer a well-adjusted product range at a good price in the right place? Surveys have shown that one of the most important criteria for customer satisfaction is the ease with which the customer finds his way in the store. Besides, the customer expects to be led along the main departments of the store. Therefore a good layout is a matter of customer satisfaction. Of course, there are also commercial factors that argue in favour of the importance of a good layout. A good layout provides you with the opportunity of influencing store turnover.

The appropriate shelf layout, the arrangement of the product range or a well-thought out spot for special offers all have a direct effect on turnover. So a good layout may very well create a boom in a store´s turnover!

Finally, of course, the layout also has an organisational component. Each store has its own best solution for logistic problems. This applies especially to stores with a fast turnover of goods, stores that sell products that are difficult to market or products that take up a large amount of space etc. Defining specific conditions is an absolute necessity for the sale of goods that require a certain (sales) ambiance. And, finally, it is important to keep both customers and sales employees satisfied.

Purposes of the store layout

A good store layout serves many purposes, such as for instance customer flow, the prevention of shoplifting and logistics. The main purposes are discusses in greater detail below.

1. Customer flow

One of the main purposes of the layout is undoubtedly to create smooth customer flow through the store. To achieve this, it is imporant to create the right balance between fast and smooth (customer) flow on the one hand and provision of space on the other. Creating smooth (customer) flow is necessary in stores that have a high frequency of customer visits. Well-organised routing and sufficiently wide aisles can achieve this.

The danger of too smooth a customer flow is the speed. If the customer is accustomed to walking through a store at a certain pace, it is important to slow down this speed deliberately, effectively and gradually. This can be achieved by means of certain ´tools´. It does not need to involve a different layout of the available space. It can also be accomplished by a special product-range or eye-catchers in the store.

A customer needs some time to decide to buy a product. The purchase of goods from particular product ranges is determined by ambiance. For instance, a customer doen not want to be disturbed by other customers when a choice has to be made between two types of lingerie.

2. Prevention

The layout also has a preventive task. The more poorly organised a store, the more opportunities shoplifters have to take advantage of the unclear situation.

When developing the layout, precautions can be taken that make it more difficult for shoplifters to steal goods.

Examples of this are: not to install the shelves as a poorly organised maze, adjusting the height of the shelves or placing theft-sensitive goods within sight of sales employees. These are just a few examples. At any rate, both preventive precautions and a deterrent policy can reduce the risk of a negative cash balance.

3. Logistics

You will also want to keep logistics under control. Studies show the so-called ´final 50 yards´ are the highest cost item of the logistics chain. This is where the turnover rate is highest and so are the proportionally increasing staffing costs.

A good layout cannot completely reduce these costs, but it can make them more controllable. Short supply routes, wide aisles where necessary and adjusting the warehouse build-up to the store are important factors that can result in an improvement of the cost structure.

4. Other functions

Naturally, a good layout has other purposes as well. In accordance with the principle that first impressions count, the layout can either attract customers or put them off. A layout can provide solutions or it can complicate matters. A logical product layout will help customers make a decision to purchase, whereas an illogical order creates confusion and dissatisfaction. Depending on the business type and the sales formula, there is an ever-growing need for increased flexibility. Product ranges change more and more frequently and you want to be able to respond rapidly to seasonal changes. A good layout allows for this. Flexibility is key where the need for space, margin in the market and presentation are concerned.

This chapter is part of the Book "Let me tell you a store"

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