Previously, we discussed different retail store layouts to consider and the benefits of each. In this edition we focus on three of the most popular layouts: racetrack, power isle and free flowing. Before deciding between the three, consider the following to ensure you pick the right layout for your store.

Racetrack Layout

The Racetrack layout features a racetrack isle that circles the entire store. The interior and exterior of the main isle will feature different sub-layouts, which allows for the maximum exposure to products on perimeter walls.

Free Flow Layout

The Free Flow layout is the most common type of layout for specialty or small retailers. It also allows for the most creativity, which can generate a unique feeling for your brand that will keep customers returning. In a Free Form Layout, there are no set isles or straight lines. This encourages shoppers to move freely throughout the store where they will be exposed to various products and displays.

Power Isle

The Power Isle layout has the fixtures parallel to the walls and is commonly seen in grocery or big box stores. This grid system allows the customer to begin in one corner of the store and navigate each and every isle while shopping. An added benefit of the Grid Layout is that end caps and outposts can be used effectively to draw attention to special promotions or sales.

Which One is Right for You?

The first thing to consider when choosing a design is the shape and size of your store. Racetrack configurations are generally not effective in small stores, whereas free flow layouts work well with limited floor space. An additional consideration is the type of products your store sells. Products that require strict organization (food, hardware, electronics) are better suited for a power isle or racetrack design over a free flow layout. Boutique and independent stores can benefit from the free flow layout, as it sets them apart from the larger chain or big box stores.

The most important consideration is the experience of your customers. While your products may be better suited for a free form layout, if doing so would hurt the customer experience then it is better to rely on a more traditional layout. Again, this is all dependent on the size and shape of your floor plan.

Experiment with different designs before settling on a layout, and you’ll likely find the floor plan that is perfect for you.