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Retail Store Optimization: Part 1

Retail store optimization

Posted on 09, March, 2015

Last Modified on 20, March, 2015

Sales in the retail industry are affected by factors far beyond what inventory a store offers. Store owners need to focus on numerous different aspects in order to increase foot traffic, sales, conversion rate and more. This is part one of two of our retail store conversion guide. In this half we’ll be focusing on the different factors that affect the performance of your store. In part two we will discuss the best strategies to improve and take advantage of those factors.

Store Layout

Crowded retail store
A busy store is a happy store.

How your store is laid out has a huge impact on how customers interact with your product. Did you know that 90% of people are right handed, and therefore likely to begin browsing at the right side of your store? Or that aisle width will greatly affect how the pace of your browsing customers? These are a just a few of the many important things to take into consideration when laying out your store. Drawing an overhead map is a great way to layout and designate store space.

Customer Traffic

Find the ideal amount of customers you want in your store at once. This can affect whether more people choose to enter or keep on walking by. Empty stores will set off a signal for most potential customers to stay away. If a store is overcrowded than customers may also stay away to avoid long lines and packed aisles (may want to classify this one under the "good problems" category). Work with store designers to find that sweet spot - the ideal range of customers that looks the most appealing to passersby.

Make sure you have a more effective way of tracking than this:

One of the most effective ways to collect this data is people counting technology. Track how many people are in the store at once, how many entered/exited, how much time each individual spent, etc. Or you can try some more “old-fashioned” techniques like surveying customers & giving out different coupons at certain days/times to track performance.

Staffing

How stores align staffing is hugely important to how well it converts. As a basic rule of thumb, stores should staff more people during the hours the store is busiest. This may seem like common sense, but many staffers have a tendency to put more employees on when the most transactions occur. By increasing employees when there are more customers, there’s a much stronger chance of picking up extra conversions. Stores may be getting more transactions during certain time periods because of an already existing strong employee:customer ratio.

Product Placement

Putting the most in demand products in the highest visibility areas is one common way to increase conversions. By knowing how to mine sales data, profits can be increased even more. Some factors to look for include: What products are most often purchased together? Is there a certain time or day of the week that a product is purchased most often? Is one section of the store selling products at a higher rate than others? By answering some of these questions it will become much easier to incrementally improve conversions with some minor changes. Don't be afraid to experiment with new layouts - just remember to thoroughly record any changes made.

In part two of our “Retail Store Conversions” series, we will cover techniques, technology and strategies that can be implemented to start making improvements in areas discussed above.