Depending on the type of goods you sell and the prices you set, you may get away with some degree of clutter in your retail space. For example, it’s fine to have small space between isles in a gas station convenience store, but it won’t work in a high-end boutique. Most people value their time and personal space and typically won’t go into a store that’s overcrowded or requires sorting through tightly packed items to find what they need. So how do you maintain that perfect empty space-to-merchandise ratio? Here are a few suggestions from our Maryland commercial remodeling experts at Northstar Commercial.
Use the Walls
Your store may not have been blessed with generous square footage, but let’s not forget that you also have walls. Use the walls to put up shelving units or other forms of display appropriate for whatever you sell. Make sure that all items for sale are placed within customers’ reach. This means your usable shelving space should be somewhere between 2-5 feet off the ground. Space above and below this range can be used to store additional items for restocking. And don’t forget corner shelves! Not only do they provide additional space to place your merchandise, but they also help maintain the flow and direct the customer’s eye to the next item on the adjacent shelf.
Add a Gondola Checkout Counter
Even if you are new to retail and don’t know the first thing about merchandising, we bet you’ve seen a gondola counter before. This type of checkout counter offers additional shelving upfront to display your impulse buy items. And it also has plenty of space on the cashier side to keep cleaning supplies, hangers, and whatever else they need to have on hand.
Gondola-style counters work great for food retail and pharmacies. However, if you are selling clothes of your own brand, you may want to use the front of the checkout counter to display your logo instead to help reinforce the branding. You can place impulse buys such as jewelry or gift cards on top of the counter to bring them to eye level.
Rethink the Layout
Are you making the most of your retail space? Or do you have “dead zones” that remain mostly unused because your display units don’t fit there? The problem with many retail layouts is that they don’t align with the customer journey. Does your store make a great first impression? Can the fitting rooms be conveniently found and reached from any point in the store? Is it clear where the checkout line starts? Is the best merchandise front and center? You need to break down your store into zones based on the customer journey and then make adjustments to make sure each zone is fulfilling its function.
Upgrade the Lighting
Although new lighting won’t add more room to your store, it can make it look bigger than it is. Strategically placed lighting can also illuminate the dark corners of your retail space, making them equally usable. Lighting, in general, is a great way to spotlight specific items, set the mood and even improve customer experience. It’s important not only where you place the lights, but also how warm/cold the lights are and how bright of an illumination they give off. To avoid blinding your customers, it’s best to use several layers of low-power lights, such as ceiling can lights, track lights, picture lights, lamps, etc.
Get Creative With Display Units
First of all, reevaluate your display units and see if you can find some that will fit in your space better. Maybe you can get taller units to fit more items? Or add shelving units with end caps to take advantage of every inch? You could also get creative and consider using non-traditional items to display your inventory. For example, if your brand has to do with vintage, artsy or rustic themes, hang your cross-stitched towels from an old garden rake recycled as a hanger. Or use an old picture frame with a lace insert to showcase your earrings. This way you can turn merchandise displays into store décor, eliminating the need for separate décor pieces.
We hope you’ve got a few ideas on how to reinvent your retail space! And if you need help planning the remodel and transforming your store, feel free to contact our commercial remodeling experts with any questions.