What is a layout in Space Planning?
A layout refers to the visualization of the store space where not only permanent elements (rooms, walls), but also store furnishings are depicted.
Start from the floor
When creating a layout, everything starts with architectural drawings, i.e. drawings of the floor size of the entire store. In addition, Space Planner adds the arrangement of store furnishings in accordance with a so-called blueprint being an approved structure of the department arrangement within the framework of the store. If the customer enters e.g. Lidl, the first department he/she can see is Fruit and Vegetables. Bakery comes next, etc. Regardless of where the customer goes shopping, he/she is able to find quickly what he/she needs and leaves the store satisfied.
Which places are dead
During one survey, it was discovered that products offered at reduced prices were placed in the corner of the store. When the managers asked why, the staff members answered that the corner was the place where the customers did not go and so that the products did not need to be replenished and the shelves were not empty. A very comfortable solution, isn’t it? In every store there are places which are noticed by a majority of customers and those that remain nearly unnoticed.
Another such a dead place is often directly at the entrance. Surveys have revealed that upon entering the store customers automatically go to the right, which means that products arranged to the left of the entrance are less likely to attract the customers’ attention.
The places where customers spend most of their time for whatever reason are called hot spots or hot zones. The most important hot zone is at the cash desk where customers must slow down and pass by. It is an ideal place for impulse purchases and therefore chewing gums, batteries, sweets and other minor items that we usually forget to buy are placed here as we think that it is a good idea to put them into the shopping basket.
Lakes, forests, and mountains as a concept for store furnishings arrangement
In the effort to put as many store furnishings as possible on the floor, storekeepers sometimes create long rows of high racks where customers feel like in a tunnel. And what do you want to do most if you are in a tunnel? To escape, of course. Creating an environment similar to nature where low and high elements take turns contributes to pleasant feelings of shoppers. Lakes pass through forests up to high mountains that rim the horizon. In an enjoyable boutique, low tables with higher clothes racks are placed together with high „mountains“ at the walls that rim the entire space.
This concept is generally applicable and the Albert chain store utilized it within the framework of its Chodov store reconstruction where in the middle of the hypermarket a market place was created with higher modules that can be seen in standard hypermarkets arranged around.
Sufficiently wide aisles
Have you ever had to reverse your shopping trolley in a store as the aisles were too narrow to accommodate two trolleys going side by side? Narrow aisles are again the outcome of the effort to place as many racks as possible. The resulting space gives a confined impression. Paco Underhill, a specialist in the field of consumer behaviour, focused on the customers’ behaviour in various types of space and discovered that the customer who is too closely followed by another customer tends to leave the store as the intrusion of his/her private space by other persons does not allow him/her to concentrate on shopping. A proper width of aisles depends on the type of goods being sold but a confined space rarely gives a harmonic impression to both customers and staff.