At Mezz Floors, our mezzanines are used by a variety of different businesses, including commercial retailers. When we are designing and installing mezzanines we keep in close contact with our clients to ensure that we fully understand how they want their new feature to fit into their current building’s layout.
Deciding on your shop layout can happen at various points; when first starting out, or if you are planning on changing building or you just want to switch things around in your current building. Layout can have a significant impact on how customers interact with your shop so you should consider it carefully.
This is the most straightforward layout. Basically, this is most appropriate for you if your shop sells items that can be put on shelves, like books or food. You can arrange your shelves in a grid pattern that means a uniform, standard experience for customers. Customers have room to walk around and they can choose their own way around the shop.
The use of both the centre of the shop and the walls means that the Grid layout is a space-efficient one. However, since most grocery shops and supermarkets operate this layout, it’s not a good way to stand out and encourage customers to do much more than grab and go.
This is for when you want to guide your customers round in a certain way. There are a couple of reasons why you’d want to guide customers. First, to make sure they see every product or see products in a certain order. Second, to reduce congestion by making sure that customers go out a different way that they come in. Think of the checkout line at Primark – the way it funnels you past products you might be tempted by and then makes you go out a different way.
If your products work better in a more showy environment then you could go for a Freeflow layout. It allows for more creativity and lets you draw customers towards certain displays or groups of products. Freeflow is well-suited to shops that sell products that are eye-catching, such as antiques or vintage clothing.
Customers can wander about, going to whatever catches their eye, rather than grabbing and going or being funnelled along a predetermined path. Freeflow also allows for a more open feel. This ensures that are less things blocking sightlines, meaning that customers can spot new and interesting things from a number of different locations.
You don’t have to stick to one layout, you are free to combine bits from each or use different ones for different areas of your shop, for example, like with the Primark checkout line. The main shop floor is in a free-flow layout to allow customers to wander about freely, whereas the checkout directs them past certain products, like socks and umbrellas, that you might have forgotten before getting to the checkout.
Other things to consider
Decompression zone – A weird way of describing it, but this is basically the first area your customers come into when they arrive in the shop. This is an area where they are transitioning from the outside to your shop, so you don’t want to bombard them with advertisement and too much stuff. Ease them in and make them feel welcome.
Space – You could put four shelves across the floor, or you could give customers more room to walk about and only put three. Sometimes, the cluttered feel works, especially for second-hand bookshops and record shops, but generally, customers don’t want to feel trapped.