When we have the time, most of us enjoy a little shopping trip now and then. Especially when we don’t have to take our husbands, boyfriends and other male friends with us…

Admittedly, some men enjoy a browse around a supermarket or shopping mall now and again, but we aren’t convinced they appreciate the intricacies of retail shopfitting like we females do.

For instance, there are certain psychological layout tricks retail shopfitters employ that we females have been navigating for years now. And it’s not easy. These layout ploys are incredibly smart – to the extent, consumer experts reckon as much as two-thirds of our basket in the supermarket contains items we hadn’t planned on buying when we entered the store.

So, what are these smart retail shopfitting strategies – and how do they work? Well, here’s some clever ways stores use their layout to direct shoppers and encourage them to buy, right here:


Turn ‘right’ here, madam…

Notice that when you enter a supermarket or smaller retail store, you nearly always walk to the right? And that’s exactly what the retailer wants you to do. That way you’ll pass by the displays they want you to see in a counter-clockwise fashion.

So, how do they get you to do this – after all, many of us are left-handed and might be more inclined to turn left? Well, notice next time you go into the store that there will probably be an enticement on the right-hand side when you enter. It could be a bright, new seasonal display or even colourful flowers. Then again, some stores use a wider aisle on the right than the left, making it look more comfortable to walk down.


Opening up the shop with crafty retail shopfitting

In small stores it can be tempting for the owner to have tall shelves to allow him or her to put more products on display. But, if there are tall shelves at the front of the store then it can block the view of the rest of the products and make the store feel a little claustrophobic. Also, if the products on that tall, set of front shelves don’t appeal to customers, they may just turn around and walk straight back out the door. And no shopkeeper wants that.


Placing premium items at eye-level

And, talking of shelves, notice how if there is a selection of the same type of item, the big familiar – and more expensive – brands are more likely to be at eye level? In other words, the second or third shelves from the top. That way you spot them first, before the bargain brands and store own-brands on the shelf below. This is such a well-known retail shopfitting device that brands actually pay to be placed on the eye-level shelves.

Smaller suppliers with more luxury or ‘speciality’ items usually get placed on the top shelf to add interest to the shelf display. On the second bottom shelf yes – you’ve guessed it – usually go the items the kids like, and can reach.

On the bottom shelf you will usually find oversize and bulk items, as well as, occasionally, store-own brands.


‘Angling’ the shelves for success

Most stores these days have shelves placed in a straight line so that the aisles are parallel with the walls. This is easy for customers to walk round, of course. However, another device is to slightly angle the shelves so that they point (arrow-like) towards the back of the store. That way you can highlight a particular area, or promotion. Just make sure that the aisles getting narrower towards the point are still wide enough for customers to get around without bumping into each other…

Even if the aisles are straight, there should still be something interesting at the end of the aisle for customers to focus on. Let’s face it, they are turning that way as they move forward – having them face a fire exit or entry to the bathrooms is just a wasted opportunity.


Take an aisle break

Sticking with aisles, if the aisle is particularly long then it’s always a good idea to give the customer a ‘break’ halfway along. This prevents tediousness. Many managers of big supermarkets don’t like long aisles because, according to one report, it can mean around one fifth of the store’s items are missed.

Of course, creating a break for the customer when it comes to retail shopfitting, also allows the store to make a special presentation for an item they have on promotion. You can add in a space in a long aisle using signs and a display. In terms of the latter you might have a special spread promotion, with a member of staff offering customers the spread on a plain biscuit or gluten-free oatcake etc. That way the customer gets a physical break as well as a visual one. The majority of aisle breaks will only be visual, but they’ll still prove more effective than no break.


Essential items are stored centre-store

Why do those cupboard staples such as tinned beans, packets of pasta, sauces and sugar etc always sit right in the centre of the store? Easy. There are all these booby traps that you have in order to reach these essential items. Just before the baked beans tins, for instance, you might encounter a display for ‘half price spaghetti with free bolognese sauce.’ You might never have dreamed of making spaghetti for dinner that night but at that price well, why not?

And finally, before the customer even enters a store the first thing he or she is going to encounter is the exterior – and the store window, in particular. Most people will have a look in the window, especially if it’s large and you have a display for them to look at. So, this is premium advertising space. Or, as one particular retail analyst put it: “Each window should tell a story.”

Just make sure that story is tight ie that the window doesn’t look cluttered by you storing too many things in. How many upmarket jewellery store windows have you seen where there are only a few items on display? Not only does it make the window look neat, but it also adds perceived value to those selected items on display. Another window dressing mistake is to have too many different colours. Keep to a theme – whether that is seasonal, colour-related or particular items.


Get in touch with the team

Need advice on retail shopfitting? Maybe you are considering changing the layout of your own retail store? If that’s the case then do get in touch with ourselves here at Steampunk fit-out in Perthshire. We can provide a free consultation when it comes to refitting and designing your retail outlet.

We have several decades worth of experience in shopfitting throughout the UK and work with a team of skilled craftsmen. In fact, why not take a look at our website www.steampunkfitout.co.uk right now, where you will find case studies of previous retail projects we have completed? We are also happy to direct you to past clients for a chat – all of whom are delighted with their fitout and project management of the work undertaken. Contact us by phone, tel: 0800 197 2922 or drop us an email via the website.