Retail Real Estate – Navigating Your Floor Space

When it comes to merchandising your store, every detail matters. So making the best of your retail “real estate” is vital in maximizing your sell thru opportunities through merchandising.

Retail real estate refers to the floor space within one store that is used to display products, identify selling opportunities, support sales transactions, and more. Anything that is represented within a store and is visible to consumers is part of the retail real estate mix. For example, if you have a cash wrap area that is designated to ringing up transactions, than that is part of your retail real estate mix. How you use your real estate will ultimately influence how it works for you as a selling tool. Afterall, when you are in the business of retail, the entire purpose is to make sales!

There are some key areas in retail real estate that will help define how you use your total store space through merchandising. They include:

1. Window displays
2. Entry way displays
3. Floor fixtures
4. Floor walking space
5. Wall displays
6. Wall fixtures
7. Wall decor
8. Cash wrap
9. Storage
10. Employees Only

Each of these ten points represent a purpose that is necessary in nearly all retail boutiques and stores. It is suggested that you highlight your key product, whether it be new product, sale product, or whatever you determine as key product, in the front of your store. You can do this both in the window displays as well
as in the entry way displays and fixtures. Double exposing your product allows your customers to see it more than once and for some customers at least once since all customers do not always see everything.

After determining your key product and highlighting this in your window and entry way displays, you should focus on the path in which your customers need to take to get around your store. Are they able to comfortably move from the right to the left and from the front to the back without having to squeeze by fixtures, displays, or anything else? Is the path clear for customers to see how they can get from one point to the next? If you have ever shopped in a store that is challenging to move around, then you know what the challenges of shopping like this are. Make sure your floor fixtures are used throughout your store so that they are visible and easy to shop, meaning easy to touch and grab product from (unless you are trying to prohibit this). While determining where your fixtures should be placed throughout your store, also consider how wall displays will help influence your customers to keep shopping. Because it’s possible to showcase product high on many walls, you want to make sure you still have product available that consumers can get to themselves. If this is not the case, then you need to be prepared to have your store associates help your customers access any product they can’t get to on their own. Remember that wall displays offer a great opportunity to grab your customer’s attention from the front of the store into the back since they can see the wall from further away. In addition to actual wall displays, consider using some of your wall space for decor. This helps “break up” the store into something more than just a place to shop, but rather offers ambiance and creates a hopefully enticing environment. Mirrors are great displays since they also provide function to consumers.

The cash wrap area is often overlooked as a place to highlight product. Yet in reality, this is one of the best places to double expose product as well as display product that is smaller in scale as well as cheaper in price point. Both of these attributes allow for an easy “add on sale” to a purchase that has already been decided. A great example would be offer lipgloss, earrings, candles, keychains, candy or anything else fairly small in size and less expensive that compliments your store’s product mix. Make sure to utilize your cash wrap space with product that can sell fast, allowing frequent customers to see new point of purchase opportunities each time they shop. In addition, make sure to get rid of anything taking up space on your cash wrap, such as piles of mail or your to do list, so that you can maximize this space as a sales tool.

Finally, when determining how to use your retail real estate, make sure that storage and employee only areas are kept neatly tucked away. Both of these spaces should not scream attention, but rather blend in or completely hide themselves within your retail real estate. Customers should only have to see what matters to them, not what matters to you. Of course, you can’t eliminate these areas, but make sure to consider where you position them in your retail real estate mix so that they do not take away from the points of your real estate mix that contribute to sales.

When merchandising your store, considering your retail real estate is only one step in many to fully maxmimze your sell thru opportunities at retail. Make sure you pay attention to all the necessary merchandising details of your store so that you can benefit from your retail space in sales!

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