5 Ways Big Retail Chains Maximize Store Layouts

By Steve Di Orio
Posted in Store Design
On February 13, 2015

Layout BlogEven small stores can learn from the big box retailers. They are successful for a reason, and being strategic when creating the store layout can help boost sales.


Make a Good First Impression: Many smaller stores don’t focus on their window display shelving, but windows are a customer’s first impression. Window displays let shoppers know the kind of merchandise they can expect to find inside and provide a sense of the style of your store. Make a good first impression by filling your windows with interesting and organized displays that represent the kind of products you sell. Be careful not to fill windows with too many products because a cluttered display makes your store seem unorganized and also prevents you from really shining a light on your products.


Keep that first impression flowing from the window display to the front of the store. Make sure your store fixtures are low enough for customers to be able to have a clear view into the store. Keep displays up front meticulously neat and well stocked to make sure patrons aren’t scared off the moment they step inside.


Guide Customers to the Right: Studies have shown that people scan the store from left to right and then head right. I can think of a local grocery store that always has a fresh display of flowers to the right. The bright colors and fresh smells always pull me in that direction. That is also where the produce is placed, which people tend to fill their carts with first.


Provide a Light at the End of the Tunnel: Smaller retailers tend to forget about having an eye catching display at the end of an aisle. Instead of letting an aisle dead end into a blank wall, put up wall shelves to take advantage of every open area and to create a more visually appealing space. Of course, if your store does not allow for this don’t try to cram shelves and merchandise in there just do have it, but if you have the space adding some design elements can’t hurt. If you can’t fit shelves consider hanging a mirror or artwork if aisles dead end at a wall.


Avoid Long, Continuous Aisles: One long aisle with no breaks is sure to lose the interest of shoppers. Break up retail displays whenever possible to keep the customer intrigued. Section off areas based on products that make sense to be grouped together.


Keep Displays Fresh and Interesting: Clients want to see intriguing and different displays when they visit your store. Always update them with your newest merchandise. Make them even more interesting by adding in fun design elements, like unique table lamps or interesting knick-knacks.


Layout lends a hand to the success of major retail chains. For a free way to get ideas, browse the aisles of some of these bigger stores and note your likes and dislikes. Take photos and ask friends and families for their opinions as well.

Steve Di Orio

Steve Di Orio


Steve has been with Handy Store Fixtures for over 15 years. After becoming the Marketing Manager in 2006, he was named Director of Marketing. Steven earned his MBA from Montclair State University with a specialization in Digital Marketing in 2019. When not at work, he loves to travel, play golf, exercise, and talk all things search engine marketing and retail display tips.