Once you’ve decided on a layout for your business, turn your attention to space allocation. Seven fundamental principles should guide you:
- Show all merchandise to all customers. The more merchandise customers see, the more they will buy. You want to design your shop to entice customers to visit all departments or at least to see what the shop has and return another time.
- You can accomplish this objective through strategic location of signs, special values, escalators, stairs, dressing rooms and certain merchandise. (Many supermarkets place convenience items such as bread and milk at the rear of the shop to drive traffic though the shop.) Give choice locations, where inside customer traffic is heavy, to the most profitable items. High-markup and impulse items should be very visible.
- Discourage shoplifting. Keep small, expensive items under lock and key, use convex mirrors where blind spots cannot be eliminated, and install video monitors. By keeping everything wide open, salespeople can observe everyone in the shop.
- Experiment to stay exciting. To accommodate changes in layout and merchandise displays, you need to have fixtures that are movable and adjustable, so keep this in mind when you’re buying cabinets, shelving, lighting and other furnishings.
- Locate related lines next to each other. Ties should be located close to dress shirts, printers next to computers, vases next to flowers, and so forth. Locate related departments next to each other. Fashion departments complement each other.
- Cosmetics, accessories and jewelry often go well together. Cookbooks and gourmet utensils stimulate interest in one another. Departments and merchandise categories should be co-coordinated as much as possible for customer convenience and cross-selling.
- Play the winners. Give the most important lines the best locations in your store. Anything that is moving fast should be exploited in every way.