As with any retail space, the goal of a convenience store layout is to maximize sales by exposing customers to more products. The more time your customers spend in your store, the more products they have an opportunity to view, and the greater the chance is that they’ll find things they like and want to purchase.
In a convenience store, you are challenged with exposing customers to products without impeding traffic flow—all within a confined space. This is a tough balancing act. Not enough exposure and you can hinder sales, but an overpacked design obstructing traffic flow too much can result in a negative impact on the customer experience.
Here are a few ways you can optimize your convenience store layout for better sales:
Optimized Traffic Flow
The best way to ensure your customers are exposed to all of your products is to subtly direct traffic flow throughout the store. Your convenience store layout begins at the door. As soon as a customer enters, there should be a healthy clearance to work as a “decompression zone,” or a transition from outside to inside.
It’s a well-known fact in the retail world that 90% of people turn right after entering a space. Your store layout should reflect that by directing traffic flow that way. From there, you have a number of options from which to choose.
- Grid layouts are the most common. They are ideal for stores that keep an eclectic variety of merchandise on long shelves and follow a familiar, predictable layout.
- Loop-style layouts purposely lead customers around the store in order to showcase every bit of merchandise before they reach the checkout.
- Free-flow layouts don’t deliberately direct traffic, but are great for small spaces, and can lend itself well to experiential retail spaces.
The best convenience store layout will expose customers to products without interfering with traffic flow. This allows your customers to have a comfortable, enjoyable shopping experience, while still encouraging them to spend more time and view more products.
Strategic Product Placement
The placement of your shelving isn’t the only thing that works to direct traffic flow. Where you place your best-selling and most popular products on the shelves and displays is also something to consider.
- Placing new or best-selling products at the front of the store gives customers a good first impression and offers the highest visibility for items you want to move.
- Placing popular items like carbonated and frozen beverages at the back of the store encourages customers to walk through aisles and view your other products on their way to the beverage section.
- Placing popular or promotional items at either end of the store also encourages foot traffic to move from one end of the store to the other, exposing customers to more products.
Beyond best-sellers, you also want to make sure you place small impulse purchases close to the checkout counter. These items should be inexpensive enough to not make much of a dent in the customer’s total, but profitable enough to boost your sales.
It’s impossible to know whether your layout is working without access to the right data. Review data anytime, anywhere from a cloud-based back office solution that pairs with your convenience store point of sale to see which items are most popular and which locations within your store offer the best visibility.
Rearrange your convenience store layout often. Whenever you notice that your loyal customers’ purchases have fallen below a typical pattern, it means that they’ve become used to the layout and aren’t being exposed to any new products. Continue to review sales data whenever your layout changes so you can determine whether your new layout is helping or hindering sales.
When creating your c-store layout, always remember the goal: Get customers to spend more time in your store and view more of your products. To truly optimize your convenience store layout, you need to know both your business and your customers. You have to understand what customers are looking for, and where they’re looking. When you know this, you can easily make informed business decisions that maximize your sales.
Petrosoft offers reliable convenience store POS systems paired with back-office software that give you deeper visibility into your store so you can see whether your layout is effective or whether you may need to switch things up. For more information on how our systems can benefit c-store owners, contact the industry experts at Petrosoft today!