Visual Merchandising for Small Stores: Visual Merchandising Rules That Maximize Space and Drive Sales

If you own or manage a small retail store, you may discover that visual merchandising can be one hefty challenge. With such little square footage available for products and foot traffic, it can be difficult to figure out how to display merchandise that not only looks visually appealing but leaves enough space for customers to shop comfortably.

Visual merchandising in your small store doesn’t have to be as daunting as it probably seems. By following just a few simple rules, you can create attractive product displays that maximize sales and provide your customers with an excellent shopping experience.

Visual Merchandising Rules for Small Stores

Choose an Effective Floor Layout

When it comes to visual merchandising, the very first thing you should consider is the layout of your store. Think about the type of store you have, the products you sell, who your customers are, how you want them to move about your store, and how much decoration you will need in addition to merchandise and fixtures. All of these factors can help you decide on an effective floor layout. The following layouts are often the most successful when utilized in smaller stores.

  • Straight Floor Layout

The straight or grid floor plan is often used in smaller stores for many reasons. Not only does this plan free up floor and wall space, the layout makes it simple for customers to scan the merchandise in your store fairly quickly. A straight floor layout is also ideal for stacking large amounts of inventory on vertical display units and displaying merchandise on corner shelves or slatwall.

  • Loop Floor Layout

The loop floor plan or “racetrack layout” utilizes a center display table and ample amount of wall space for product placement. This layout is one of the most customer-friendly as it creates a pathway that guides customers around your center display and through the entirety of your store. This is an ideal layout for browsing, showcasing every product in your store, and increasing impulse purchases. The loop floor layout is most often used in high-end clothing boutiques and jewelry stores.

  • Free Flow Floor Layout

The free flow or mixed floor plan allows you to mix elements you like from other retail floor plan types. If your brand leans toward the more creative, artsy, or specialty side, this type of layout can be an ideal solution. When customers walk through your doors, a free flow layout will allow them to explore your store in any direction they wish. Low-standing retail displays like nesting tables are usually your best bet with this type of floor plan as they allow visibility throughout your store.

Select Space-Saving Retail Display Fixtures

When searching for display fixtures for a small store, you want to ensure that your displays look great but also leave enough walking space for your customers. The following retail fixtures will help you create attractive displays that allow you to make the most of your sales floor.

  • Slatwall Systems

Slatwall is a great option for utilizing unused display space on your store walls. It’s a popular, versatile way for displaying all types of merchandise while maximizing more of your floor space. Because slatwall showcases your products vertically, it can draw the eye up and create a sense of a larger retail space. When products are displayed on slatwall, customers are also able to find what they’re looking for rather quickly.

  • End Cap Displays

Retail end cap displays are ideal fixtures for small boutiques. Not only can they boost sales by keeping your prime merchandise displayed prominently at the end of every aisle, they are useful in stacking a lot of products in a vertical fashion.

  • Nesting Tables

Tiered nesting display tables are also an excellent option for small stores that need to free up more floor space. Because nesting tables are stackable, they will only take up the space of one display table. Tiered nesting tables are also versatile and offer the option of positioning each of the two tables in separate areas of the store if needed.

  • Cash Wrap Counters

Another effective way to increase your merchandise display area is to install a cash wrap counter. Cash wraps add extra checkout space and offer more display areas for merchandise. As customers are waiting in line to buy their items, they are sure to make more impulse buys if they see popular or seasonal products displayed prominently next to the cash register.

Let There Be Light

A great retail store layout and space-saving display fixtures can only be their most effective if you light up your store correctly. While a well-lit store is important in spaces of every size, it’s even more crucial when you have a small store or boutique. If just one display area of your store isn’t lit up well, it can cost you a lot of sales. Choosing the right lighting for a small store can draw attention to your merchandise, plus create mood. Here are some lighting rules to follow.

  • Brighten Up Your Store with Ambient Lighting

This is the basic light source for your entire store. Choose bulbs that aren’t too harsh or too soft, as these lights will be needed to help customers and staff see where they are going.

  • Emphasize Merchandise with Accent Lights

These lights are brighter in nature and draw the eye to certain products. Accent lighting is best used when showcasing seasonal items, new products, or retail displays.

  • Create a Mood with Decorative Lighting

The purpose of decorative lighting is to create a true experience for the customer. This is when wall sconces, chandeliers, or string lights come into play. In the end, decorative lighting is up to you and the mood you wish to create.

Choose the Best Retail Display Fixtures for Your Small Store

Visual merchandising is a science that can either make or break a customer’s shopping experience. Choosing the correct retail display fixtures for your small store can help you creative visually-stunning displays that drive sales, optimize floor space, and improve customer experience. If you’re ready to drastically upgrade merchandising in your small store, request a display fixture quote today.