5 tips to make your retail space work

So you’ve attracted the attention of passing customers with your fantastic signage and spectacular window displays.

Now you need to get them to take that extra step forward and enter your shop. Should be easy huh? The answer is that yes, creating a retail space that works is relatively easy.

The key is to put yourself in the shoes of your shoppers and make the space work from their point of view.

Here are some tips to help make your retail space as customer-friendly as possible.

1. Make the entrance welcoming

First impressions count, so the entrance area of your retail space is very important. Most customers will peer into the shop from outside, and a well-designed entrance will entice them in.

Your entrance area needs to be clean, fresh and welcoming. The idea is to create an open space that gives customers room to absorb your shop.  Cramped spaces that force people to brush past other customers or up against stock are unappealing and are likely to turn customers away rather than draw them in.

Ideally, customers will be able to get the best view of your shop and your products from just inside the door. They should be able to see what you’ve got so they can instinctively move towards objects they like.

2. Organise your retail space logically

This may seem obvious but it is often overlooked. You want potential customers to be able to intuitively understand what your shop sells and where to find it. Don’t have everything everywhere but organize products by type.

So if you have a clothing store, place your dressier clothes in one area, your sleepwear in another and your casual basics in another. The idea is to make it obvious to the customer where things are so they can easily find things of interest. You want to create a natural flow that leads customers into and through your shop.

It’s also important to have your best, most expensive products at the front and your cheaper items at the back. A clear ‘SALE’ sign at the back of the retail space will encourage people to enter and investigate.

3. Show off your best products

If you have a really exciting product, make an interesting display of it.  A fantastic but quirky cardigan will disappear on a shelf, but won’t when it’s displayed on a mannequin with matching clothes and accessories. But don’t overdo it. Too many displays clutter the retail space and make it hard for customers to focus. Less is definitely more.

Displaying your key new products in interesting ways is a great way to keep your shop fresh and to attract customers.

4. Be a shopper in your own shop

Pretend to be a shopper in your own shop. Walk up and into your shop. What’s the experience like? What did you notice? Did anything block your entrance? Did it smell fresh and look clean?

Get trusted friends to do the same. What did they like? What didn’t they like? Ask them to describe the layout of your shop to you. You may be surprised by what they say.

5. Watch your customers

The final piece of advice is to watch your customers. How do they move about your shop? Do they ask for help to find things? What are they most interested in or attracted to? Are people with prams not coming in? If not, why?

The answers to all these questions will help you make changes to improve the way your retail space works. Observing, changing and adapting are key to creating a retail space that your customers love.

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