Creating a SMART Store Layout Design

By David S. Chang

woman standing inside clothing area
Image by Korie Cull: CC0 Licence

Even though 49% of consumers prefer online shopping, customers value the personal experience of the physical store. Many shoppers find their products online but often go into the store to get help with their final purchase decision.

SMART businesses are able to use a multi-channel strategy that utilizes both online and a high-value in-store experience. It is important that your store layout help optimize and expose the right products to your customer’s through the proper layout. Their experience in your store is an important part of your brand. Here are some store layout and interior design tips to help!


Store Layout

Your web page design in today’s digital age is extremely important. Your physical shop layouts, however, deserve just as much attention. Store layouts are the foundation that guides the experience of your shoppers.

You want to position your exterior signage and window displays to draw shoppers into your store. Once they are in, they enter the decompression zone, or transition space, which is the first five to fifteen feet of your store.

Your customers will immediately look at any products in this area, then take a broad look at your’s store overall layout. Studies show that 90% of people tend to turn right after entering a space. As a result, SMART layouts essentially create a circulation trail through whatever store layout you’ve designed.

Place your top products in this area, known as the power wall, to get maximum exposure. Consider layouts that encourage customers to browse in a certain way based upon the type of products you sell and make it consistent.

Think of Best Buy, Walmart, and Macy’s. No matter which store you go into, they layout is familiar and helps them expose the right products to their shoppers. Put key items at eye level. And, of course, place complementary products right alongside each other.


Keep the Decor Simple

Online success is all about simplicity, and your physical space shouldn’t be any different. The goal is to optimize the experience for your customers. Avoid anything that will distract or take away your customers’ attention. 

Many companies opt for a simple industrial design, complete with bare walls and floors finished with concrete polishing. Neutral colors and tiled flooring can also be effective, depending on your brand and type of products you sell.

The key is to be consistent with your brand and use decorations that add interest to your products, not hinder them. Mirrors that reflect displays can be a good tool to use, as well as placement of product ads to help customers search for a specific product.


Optimize the Use of Light

Once you’ve taken care of layout and your shop surroundings, look at the way you use light. It plays a fundamental role in your customers’ shopping experience.

Even with the best layout, without proper lighting, it can make it more difficult for shoppers’ to find what they want and need. Use lighting to draw customers in and also to highlight certain products. Lowlights on lower shelves can help, as well as spotlights on your high ticket items. This, in combination with properly placed signs can help increase sales.


When creating the layout for your retail space, carefully consider your products, the space available, and the desired consumer behavior. Your layout can significantly increase or decrease your sales, so it is important to do it properly!

David S. Chang

Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Wealth Manager and CEO | Chief Editor, Author, Keynote Speaker, Consultant ArtofThinkingSmart.com | Political Consultant | Army Officer National Guard | Living To Fulfill Needs, Solve Problems, and Live Passionately!

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