Designing Your Store Layout For Maximum Customer Attraction and Retention


Effective retail design is the fusion of interior, graphic, industrial and ergonomic principles with advertising and marketing practices. It is an art that focuses on attraction, using layout, fittings and audience understanding to create spaces that entice customers to come in, browse the products and make a purchase.

Much like a science, there are algorithms and tools that every retail designer can use to create the ‘perfect store’. However, professional retail designers can be costly and – with the expertise of the internet just a couple of clicks away – all you need is a strong brand and a little bit of creativity to design your store yourself.

Here, we bring you the basic principles of retail store design to kick-start your next transformation. Remember, attraction is the goal.

Choosing a layout

Although your product and your brand will greatly influence the layout of the store, it’s also essential you consider the space available and your budget for change. You don’t want to make budget-driven changes to result-based layouts, and you don’t want to sacrifice the effectiveness of a layout due to space restrictions. 

As well as budget and space, it’s important to consider the following concepts in choosing a layout for your retail store:

Prioritising functionality and movement

You need to make sure that customers can move freely throughout your store. Studies have shown that if a customer is accidentally touched by another shopper as they browse the store, they are more likely to leave a store earlier than a customer who isn’t. Consider if your store is accessible for people with disabilities. Can you add handrails, widen the aisles or incorporate hearing loops to accommodate every customer?

Focusing on visual impact

It is essential your customers are visually engaged by the products you have on display – this begins with the window display, and extends to in-store product positioning, smaller in-store displays and the way items appear on the rack or shelf. It’s also essential that customers can access those products that are on display easily.

So what is the best layout for you and your store’s needs?

Straight floor plan


This is the most space-efficient plan, making it perfect for smaller stores (this is also the reason why so many stores around the world use this layout). The straight floor plan requires all displays and fittings to be at right angles, so that:

  • You can use as maximise the use of the space available and;
  • Customers can easily move through the store

A great example of a brand that implements this layout is the Apple Store.

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Diagonal floor plan


This plan is great for self-serving stores where customers are able to pick up products and use them. It proposes that all displays and fittings be kept on a diagonal angle, so that staff can watch customers shop and provide assistance (or prevent shoplifting!) when required.

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Angled floor plan


This plan incorporates curved displays and fittings, and is often used by high-end stores. This plan provides less room for products, compared to the straight or diagonal models, and this draws attention to the products that are featured. Think about jewellery and boutique fashion stores that have only an exclusive collection of products for sale.

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Mixed floor plan


The mixed floor plan is a highly functional layout, however it requires a lot of space. A combination of the straight, diagonal and angled plans, this option is highly customisable and offers you the ability to display a variety of different products. This type of plan can be seen in department stores like Target, David Jones or Myer.

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If you’re still unsure about layout consider purchasing retail design software. Contact the Australian Retailers Association to enquire about the best software for you and your store’s needs.

Something else to consider

A new store layout often calls for new retail fit outs. Shop Supplies is your go-to option for fitting and shelving options. You will receive expert advice, along with a wide range of quality shop fittings, storage solutions, accessories, point of sale materials and signage options.

Between your brand new floor design, plus state-of-the-art retail fitouts, you’ll have your customers attracted and buying in no time!