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Psychology of Store Layouts

Posted by Kathy Heil on Jan 5, 2015 9:51:33 AM

8 Tips to Turbo-Charge Your Retail Store Design


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Successful retailers know it is important to stock the items shoppers want most, whether that’s groceries or the latest trendy fashions. But must-have merchandise is not enough to ensure success. Your retail store design can make or break your profitability, because shopping – even for the most mundane items – is tied to psychology.

As a result, understanding the psychology of store layouts will not only attract more shoppers through your front door, but it will give them a more interesting shopping experience and plenty of opportunities to pick up impulse items. Here are several tips to turbo-charge your retail store design.

Game Plan For Your Floor Plan

Display arrangements typically fall into three categories – a grid with straight aisles, a loop with diagonal aisles, or a more free-flowing pattern. Especially if you’re a specialty retailer, you may want to custom-design a pattern that makes the most effective use of your space.

Nonetheless, there are some proven winning techniques that can accelerate the value of any store layout, starting outside the store:

  • Don’t waste your windows. Display something simple that captures attention and provides a taste of what’s inside.
  • Keep your “decompression zone” – the first few feet inside the door – clear, so shoppers can make a mental, as well as a physical, transition from the outside world.
  • Just beyond your decompression zone, place some small tables or specialty fixtures featuring seasonal products or brand new merchandise. These “speed bump” displays show customers there are multiple reasons to venture farther inside, while also encouraging them to slow down and examine your merchandise. Rotate these displays frequently to keep them fresh and interesting.
  • Now display some of your best merchandise immediately to the right. Studies show 90% of Americans automatically turn right when entering a store, so you want to make the most of this store layout strategy.
  • The right-hand wall shoppers see first is sometimes called your “power wall,” because it, too, benefits from that first-impression location. Your other wall space also packs a lot of punch when it comes to drawing your shopper’s eye.

Whatever pattern you choose for your retail store design, remember the “butt-brush effect” and make your aisles wide enough to afford comfortable personal space for shopping.

Emphasize Your Endcaps

Sometimes smaller retailers don’t realize the tremendous impact endcaps can have. Never allow an aisle to simply end, use it to display featured items on their own or as a lead-in to nearby merchandise. Like your “speed bumps,” these displays should be rotated often.

Optimize Your Cash Wrap

Because most shoppers will travel in a generally counter-clockwise path, placing your cash wrap area inside the front door to the left makes it convenient but keeps it out of your top selling spaces. This is a superb location for last-minute impulse items, but be sure to display them in such a way that customers still have enough room on your countertop to comfortably set their purchases.

Think about your store layout from your customer’s standpoint, and you’ll create the most profitable retail store design.

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Palmer Retail Solutions strives to offer our clients the absolute best combination of innovation, quality, service, and value for our diversified custom store fixtures and merchandising displays. For more information about our designs, retail fixtures, cash wraps, kiosks, or point of purchase displays, visit our website at:

Topics: Store Layout

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