When a customer walks into a store, first impressions really do matter. As retail grows more competitive, a clean, well-considered store layout can easily mean the difference between gaining a sale or losing one.
So, what do furniture and home decor retailers need to consider in order to design a showroom and product displays that convert?
In this post, we’re going to cover why store design and layout are central to your sales strategy, along with our top tips for designing a conversion-friendly showroom.
Why does the design and layout of your store matter?
Prioritizing your store’s design can provide a number of benefits, including the following.
It makes for a more enjoyable shopping experience
According to Entrepreneur, 53% of U.S. consumers say they feel very comfortable going back to shopping malls and physical stores in 2022. After two years away from regular in-store activities, consumers’ expectations will be high. This means that your brand standards concerning visual merchandising and displays need to be on point.
When customers encounter exciting and engaging displays at a retailer, they’re far more likely to stay in the store for longer and have a favorable impression of the brand. Conversely, poorly-maintained, lackluster displays are going to push shoppers away from purchasing from you.
A good layout increases the odds of conversions
The location of different types of products within a retail store is no accident (or shouldn’t be). The design of your store should be geared towards one key goal: getting your customers to spend as much as possible. This is why most retailers follow a series of well-known design principles when setting up their stores.
For example, it’s no coincidence that most furniture retailers will put their newest collections at the very front of the store, while sale merchandise is housed towards the back. The profit margin on sale items is much lower than full-price inventory. Therefore, a brand wants to ensure that shoppers must walk past their latest arrivals on the way to discounted inventory — with the hope that something will catch their eye.
A good layout helps you to monitor shopper behavior
Being deliberate about how and where you set up store displays makes it much easier to identify whether shoppers are behaving as you would like them to. Are shoppers navigating the sales floor in the way you prefer, or are they skipping past key displays? Are there areas that are getting overcrowded, and therefore making it difficult for customers to browse properly?
Paying attention to these kinds of developments allows you to refine your store layout and display strategy to create the very best experience for your shoppers.
Now that we’ve covered why you need to optimize your showroom, let’s look at some tips and examples on how to do it right.
1. Ensure the store floor is free from debris that could distract shoppers or hinder the browsing experience
The overall cleanliness of your showroom has a huge bearing on how easy it is for shoppers to navigate. The more cluttered and untidy the shop floor is, the less enjoyable the experience is going to be.
Although it might seem like common sense, retail stores fall foul of this golden rule all the time. Walmart even had its shares downgraded last year, in part due to sloppy presentation within its storefronts including empty displays, abandoned shopping carts full of inventory, and missing signage.
Ensuring there are no impediments to your shoppers finding their way around is key to keeping them in your shop for longer, increasing the likelihood of a purchase. If customers are finding aisles blocked by inventory or items stocked in the wrong places, they’re likely to give up and shop elsewhere.
Moreover, there’s a significant safety aspect to keeping your store tidy. Debris and clutter increase the odds of incidences such as items falling from shelves or shoppers and staff tripping over and getting injured.
2. Keep signage (directional and promotional) on point
Keeping store signage accurate and updated can feel like a full-time job for store associates. But this is crucial to ensure that customers can navigate your store efficiently and get accurate product information.
IKEA is well-known for its “fixed path” store layout, where shoppers are guided between departments via a series of yellow arrows painted on the floor. The purpose of this layout and signage is two-fold; for one, it prevents customers from getting lost within their maze-like stores. Moreover, this design exposes IKEA customers to as many items as possible within their store visit, meaning bigger, more profitable sales.
The same applies to your display signs. Accurate promotional signage is especially important for SKUs that come in multiple sizes. For example, if you have a discount on queen-sized bedframes from a particular brand, but not the king-sized version, your sign needs to communicate this information clearly to avoid confusion.
3. Accessorize your retail displays
Retail displays are a wonderful opportunity for your business to show off how customers can benefit from a product, so make sure you’re going to extra mile with them.
For example, when an apparel retailer puts clothing on a mannequin in a window display, they don’t just stick to a dress; they complete the outfit with a pair of heels, a coat or a scarf, and maybe a handbag for good measure.
It should be no different when it comes to furniture and home decor. For example, a living room set-up is much more compelling if it has throws, pillows, and even some reading material in addition to just a couch and a coffee table, as shown here by Flo & Frankie:
Curating an entire “look” inspires customers to purchase additional items they might not have considered without seeing your display. It also makes it far easier for shoppers to visualize a product in a real-life setting.
4. Product displays and merchandising must tell a story and encourage people to buy
Whatever products you are displaying, it’s important to take a holistic approach. After all, anyone can grab a selection of items and arrange them on a table or shelf, but this doesn’t mean the display speaks to the customer or will entice them to purchase.
Every merchandising strategy in your store should have a clear objective behind it. For example, a discount display geared towards shifting large volumes of excess product will look very different compared to a display that’s encouraging shoppers to explore a new arrival, as shown in this Instagram post by Anthropologie:
As such, you should be setting a clear objective for every product display so that shoppers understand your call to action and the unique value proposition being offered. Are you enticing people with a lower price point, a brand showcase, or a UGC content opportunity? You decide!
5. Make sure the items on displays are working
This might sound obvious, but your store isn’t a priceless art gallery; a good display should entice customers to interact and test out products to convert them to purchase. With this in mind, your displays must be more than just for show.
After all, where is the value of placing a lamp on a side table if that lamp isn’t able to be switched on and tested for ambiance? If you want shoppers to take interest in your wares, it’s important not to disappoint them with poorly-executed displays that don’t aid their shopping journey.
6. Store staff should be present to help people navigate the store
Even with the best signage and a logical, easy-to-navigate store layout, it’s still important to have plenty of store associates available to point shoppers in the right direction.
Why? Because some consumers might be short on time and want the location of a specific item quickly. Disabilities may make store navigation more challenging for some visitors. Others simply want a human touch within their shopping experience.
Whatever the case, having store staff on hand helps you to build a rapport with customers and provide an opening for cross-selling or upselling, meaning higher levels of revenue.
7. Make consistent audits of your displays
Whether you have just one store or several, regular audits are essential to make sure store displays are up to your brand’s standards. Yet audits are often put off because they can be lengthy, labor-intensive processes that take time away from selling to your customers.
With Bindy’s smart forms and checklists tool, it couldn’t be easier for retailers to build custom audit and inspection forms to maintain the quality of store displays. This makes it simple for you to identify common problems and look for ways to assist your staff with making your displays better.
Designing a showroom and maintaining brand standards can be an overwhelming process for retailers, especially when you have more than one location. By following the actionable tips above, you can ensure your store displays are up to scratch to engage shoppers and boost conversions.
About the author:
Francesca Nicasio is retail expert, B2B content strategist, and LinkedIn TopVoice. She writes about trends, tips, and best practices that enable retailers to increase sales and serve customers better. She’s also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores.
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