by Tom Boyer for the Lasting Impressions blog series

This is the fourth post in my Lasting Impressions series about making the best impression you can with customers from initial contact to well after the sale. In this post, I’m going to cover your entryway and store layout.

In a previous post I talked about the importance of your store exterior and the experience leading up to entering your store. Once you’ve drawn people in, you need to make sure your entryway is inviting and your store layout is easy and intuitive to navigate.

What makes for an inviting entryway? A safe, clean, uncluttered space. Safe means that you have a rug for visitors to wipe their feet off on, especially if you have a tile, linoleum, or other potentially-slippery-when-wet type of flooring. Even if you do have carpeting, you can catch those initial steps that can track in mud, snow, leaves, etc. Additionally, make sure there is an open area free of clutter so as customers may be passing when entering or leaving, everyone can get through easily.entryway and store layout

It’s important to use your entryway to feature special promotions, make your sales flyers and shopping baskets available, and display seasonal or special gift items. As customers enter, you want them to find a clean, open area that gives a sense of the shopping experience they can expect in your store. Your entryway, in effect, sets the stage.

Once customers are in, your store layout is an important element to making a positive impression in those initial seven seconds. Shoppers want to be able to move around easily and quickly figure out which direction they should go to find what they want. I’ll talk about signage specifically in my next post, but do make sure customers can figure out which way to head to get to what they want.

You set the direction

Your store layout will dictate the traffic flow in your store. How you set gondolas, displays, checkouts and the prescription counter will determine the pathways that customers can take to get what they came in for as well as hopefully trigger some impulse purchases along the way.

I’ve seen pharmacies that have an aisle from the front doors directly to the prescription counter with greeting cards on either side. This layout provides no interaction with the store’s health, beauty, and wellness products and makes it easy for the customer to come and go without any impulse sale opportunities in their path. While there is something to be said for convenience, you are running a business that depends on sales from your front-end, now probably more than ever. Give your customers a path to the prescription counter that entails going through one or more aisles of your HBW departments. Place some displays in the path as well, as long as there is plenty of room to get around them.

If your store is large enough, don’t forget to offer wide aisles that will accommodate mobility devices. It’s also helpful to have aisles wide enough so that more than one person can shop in them at a time.

There is much to consider when thinking about the setup of your store. Focus on creating space and “four-corner exposure.” You want it to be easy to get around, accommodate customers with different mobility needs, and provide opportunities to show off as much of your merchandise as possible. Make the most of the area you have to not only give customers the impression that your store is easy to shop but also follow through by providing a comfortable, uncomplicated shopping experience.

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