In last week’s blog post, we served up five tips to make the most out of your retail space. This week, we’ll take a closer look at one of those tips: creating a more efficient layout for your store.
As a small business owner, the struggle with limited space is real. Resources to constantly reorganize your space are scarce, and more inventory than shelf space is a constant reality. But instead of stressing over your situation or thinking about ways to get bigger, focus instead on making the most of what you have. Here are four easy ways to create a more efficient layout.
Less is more. The first key to optimizing any space is organization. So cut clutter, always keep things clean, and aim for a simple, streamlined layout. While you certainly want to display your hottest products and show off your extensive selection, you don’t want to overwhelm your customers with too many fixtures or too many options. You also don’t want to make navigating your store a challenge. In the case of independent retail space, the adage of quality over quantity certainly applies.
Move on up. It never ceases to amaze how quickly shelf space can fill up. But you probably have more real estate than you think – simply look up. While you probably don’t want to place your most popular products beyond arm’s reach, don’t be afraid to extend your shelving and take advantage of the upper portions of your wall space. The extra space can be used to store overstock, display signage or even show off your personal design touches. Staggering your shelves and incorporating vertical design features can also break the monotony of browsing, create the sense of more space and draw the eye to more products.
Lighten up. Any expert will tell you that one of the most important elements in design is lighting, and the same holds true for retail space. While bright overhead lighting alone can make your space seem stark or industrial, you also want to avoid something too soft. Achieve a happy medium by incorporating lamps and built-in lighting, and using strategically-placed mirrors. Also be sure to use any and all windows to your advantage, as natural light is a great way to make any space look bigger. When in doubt, use the rule of thumb that a space worth filling is a space worth lighting.
Living in color. Much like sufficient lighting, proper paint can pay huge dividends in retail layout. You’ve probably heard that lighter colors create the illusion of larger spaces, which is true; you can never go wrong with whites and off-whites. But brighter, bolder accent walls can also make a big difference. “One dark wall makes the room recede farther,” says design expert Libby Langdon. Whatever you decide, be sure to stick to your branding – and have some fun!