5 Tips for Optimizing Your Retail Space

Your retail spaces are valuable assets. Naturally, you don’t want to squander them away by improperly utilizing them.

Understandably, you might have had no choice but to rely on other people’s recommendations and standard industry practices when you started. But you shouldn’t stick to your current retail space plan if it runs counter to how your customers use your store.

Footfall Counting and Space Management

To ensure that you will have substantiated space utilization data from which to base your space management decisions, you need an accurate and reliable footfall counting system.

You cannot base your decision to rearrange your shelves simply on gut feel, or you might end up wasting your resources for nothing. Worse, your uninformed changes might even lead to a decline in sales, profits, or customer experience.

If you can, choose an AI-enabled footfall counting system. This will provide you with rich and detailed retail analytics. Using footfall data, you should be able to glean the following information, among other things:

  • How many people pass by your store.
  • How many stopped to look at your outward-facing store display, and how many of them went inside.
  • How many people come into your store at any given time of any given day.
  • Your busiest and least busy days and hours.
  • How customers move inside your store.
  • Where customers linger the most inside your store.
  • When and where queues form.

Armed with business insights from your footfall counting system, you should be able to assess how best to utilize your space to optimize space utilization, increase sales, and improve customer experience.

Retail Space Management Strategies

The following are some strategies you can use to manage your retail space. The goal is to improve space utilization, profits, and customer experience. Again, remember to base your retail space changes on confirmed and validated in-store customer movement data. Use the technique or strategy that applies, given your actual space utilization and customer data.

1.     The Decompression Zone

This consists of five to 15 feet of floor space measured from your store’s entryway, and it is the space you use to introduce your brand to your customers.

Ideally, the decompression area is well-lit and uncluttered. It should mirror your identity and deliver your brand’s message. If your brand stands for excitement, your customers should start feeling the excitement when they “step over the threshold” and into your store.

Using your footfall data, you will see how your customers use and experience your decompression zone. If people tend to linger there, perhaps you can hire a digital signage solutions architect to transform your decompression zone into a customer experience center using cleverly placed digital signages.

2.     The High-Impact Store Display

Use a high-impact display to entice your customers to leave the decompression zone and start exploring your store.

Your footfall tracking data should tell you which displays draw the most significant amount of attention in your stores. Now, reposition one of these high-impact store displays, so it sits right on the boundary of the decompression zone. Or you can design a new one based on where your customers mostly linger in your store.

Now, where exactly should you put this high-impact store display? It depends on your customer’s typical movement in your store. Your footfall pattern tracking should tell you if customers tend to turn right or left when they enter your store.

If it’s the former, place the high-impact display somewhere on the right to entice customers when they make the typical right turn. Otherwise, install the high-impact display on the left.

3.     The Money Makers

Moneymakers are your profitable products, and the way you allocate space to them will either positively or negatively impact your bottom line.

Your fast-moving, high-margin products deserve special treatment. Display them in a choice location in your store, and make sure there’s plenty of space around them so they will draw the eyes and become a focus of attention.

High-profit, low-volume items also deserve favorable product placement and quality retail space, although perhaps not as ample a space as your fast-moving, high-volume products.

What would make a high-quality location in your store? The center of your store is a natural choice. Check your footfall pattern data, too. Somewhere high-traffic but not congested and somewhere well-lit and well-ventilated will make an excellent location. It could also be an area in your store customers typically gravitate to, a place they generally find pleasant and comfortable.

Low-margin, high-volume items are what you’d call impulse buys. They’re generally inexpensive but attractive, so place them near cash registers to encourage impulse purchases.

Finally, your slow-moving, low-margin items can be safely relegated to your lower-quality spaces (say, congested areas with poor lighting and ventilation) or to the top and bottom shelves (the least visible) of the store displays.

4.     The Staples

This is most applicable in grocery stores. People go to grocery stores to pick staples or products that they almost always buy when they come.

If your store has such staples, allocate your retail space in a way that will encourage your customers to travel the length (and breadth) of your store to get them.

Station your consistent sellers to the back, then create unobstructed and uncongested paths to them to ensure a positive customer experience. However, along these paths, create visually enticing displays to attract customers to the products you wish to promote (say, your high-profit, low-volume items).

5.     The Guided Path and the Subtle Sell

The footfall pattern data from your people counting system will tell you how customers move through your store. Make sure to improve the quality of customer-preferred paths. For instance, you can allocate ample space to these paths to reduce congestion in these areas.

However, you want your customers to dwell in your store longer. So, in periodic intervals along these customer-preferred paths, place visually enticing displays that would interrupt your customers’ rapid movement through your store and make them browse and linger.

You should compound this strategy by creating visual cues to guide your customers along your “subtle sell path” when they’re exploring your store. It may be your customers’ preferred path already, but using visual cues like color coding and employing different floor patterns and textures can ensure most, if not all, your customers follow the same path through your store.

Efficient Retail Space Management Using Footfall Data

There are many strategies for managing retail spaces to optimize space utilization, increase profits and improve customer experience. Footfall counting data will help you choose which retail space management strategies to implement and how best to implement them.

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