Retail design and customer experience: Racks, shelves and tables

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Welcome to part 3 of our customer experience series. In part 1, we learned how color can build customer loyalty. In part 2, we discovered that scent marketing can boost your brand's appeal.

No matter where your shoppers look, they'll see your store's racks and shelves. These basic building blocks of retail design are so important because the right layout can draw customers effortlessly through your shop. A badly planned layout, however, could keep them away.

How to choose the right racks, shelves and tables

Each time you make a retail design decision, you must keep your shoppers in mind. As you choose your shop's racks, shelves and tables, use your brand guidelines to inform the process. For example, a clothing retailer might decide to create a visual distinction between the women's and men's departments by choosing diverse retail shelving styles. Our industrial piping table, can promote an air of masculinity, for instance.

Our industrial piping table promotes an air of masculinity.Our industrial piping table promotes an air of masculinity.

Our gray boutique shelves lend themselves to women's clothing and bathroom linens, while our black melamine shelving may be better suited for the men's clothing and family room decor sections.

Rolling racks are a great option for modifiable layouts. Making small adjustments to your shop's floor plan between seasons can provide another visual affirmation that new merchandise has arrived. Choose racks that match your shelving so they complement one another on the floor.

How to lay out your retail shelving units

Once you've decided on shelving and rack styles, it's time to plan your shop's layout. Before you start this process, it's important to have accurate measurements of your usable floor space.

Even if you're working with limited space, it's important to create adequate walking room between shelves. Made to Measure Magazine reported that consumers are likely to walk away if they feel merchandise – even soft items such as clothing – brush against their backside while perusing other items.

Here's another handy tip: American shoppers tend to turn right immediately after entering a store, according to retail strategists and authors Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender.

A grid layout is best for shops with different kinds of merchandise. Shopify reported that the grid layout gives items plenty of room to shine, but it requires at least four feet between each shelving unit.

A free flow layout is better for stores with fewer items, reported Fit Small Business. Think of high-end handbag shops, with products displayed on pedestals. You can easily modify the free flow style to fit your space and merchandise needs.

If you have more than one room, a combination of styles may suit your needs better. For instance, you could use the free flow style in the children's section and a grid pattern in the men's and women's sections.

Does planning your shop's layout make you feel overwhelmed? We're here to help! Call our knowledgeable retail design experts with your store's measurements, and they'll help you choose exactly the right shelves and racks for your store!

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