In a growing city like Charleston, even smaller retail spaces can get quite expensive. As a result, many retail business owners have to find ways to maximize a minimal amount of space, which is often easier said than done. Luckily, we have a few tips to help you do just that. Check out these ten ways to make your retail space feel anything but small.
- Find the perfect layout
Your store’s floor plan and layout sets the flow of traffic for the store. There are a few different layouts designed to help the flow of traffic and make the most of even small spaces, including diagonal, angular, the default straight, or a mix of them all. No matter what layout you choose, remember that you are always free to adjust and put your own variations on your store’s layout, finding what works best for you and your customers.
- Go vertical
One of the best ways to make use of your space is to go vertical when displaying your items. Maximizing your use of vertical space not only saves space, but is also visually appealing to customers. Vertical displays and decor draw the customer’s eye up and create the illusion of a larger space.
- Avoid clutter
A cluttered store is detrimental to customer traffic flow. You may think that getting as much inventory out on the floor is more important than avoiding clutter, but displaying more merchandise will not help your sales if the space is too crowded. If a customer feels crowded or awkward, they will likely take their business elsewhere. A good rule of thumb to help customers feel comfortable is making sure that aisles are wide enough for two way traffic.
- Keep it light and bright
Lighting can either help or hinder maximization of your space. Use a combination of lighting methods, including floor lamps, ceiling lights, and table lamps to add variety and make sure every corner of the store is lit, making the most of your limited square footage. But remember that lighting should be bright, yet soft; harsh lighting is rarely aesthetically pleasing and often overpowering.
- Pay attention to paint color
Paint color should reflect the atmosphere you want to create for your space, but should not overwhelm the space nor the customer. When it comes to both paint color and decor, most retail spaces have primary and secondary colors. Primary colors are neutrals that should account for the majority of decor, creating a relaxed setting. Secondary colors are bold and complementary, adding flare and personality to the relaxed primary color. Darker colors may create a dungeon-like impression of the space, so you may want to stick with lighter paint colors and accents.
- Paint an accent wall
Another way to create the illusion of space in a small retail setting is to paint an accent wall. One wall painted a bright, bold color will make it look like the space is receding. While the accent wall should be a bolder color than the rest of the walls, the room will feel more spacious the lighter the color.
- Get creative with displays
While shelves are a great way to make use of vertical space, you may want to consider moving beyond shelves and getting creative when it comes to your displays. Some alternatives include ladders, hanging displays, or DIY displays. That doesn’t mean you should not use shelves whatsoever, just make sure to add some variety and depth to your shelf choices.
- Create the illusion of space with decor
In addition to vertical displays and decor and an accent wall, there are various ways to create the illusion of space in a small retail store. Mirrors are a quick and easy way to help spaces feel larger and brighter. If your space has windows, consider ditching window treatments, as they take up an unnecessary amount of room and may keep light from filling the space.
- Utilize visual merchandising
Following most of these tips will help you take advantage of visual merchandising, which refers to using elements of design and display to increase sales. This includes highlighting merchandise and products, maximizing space, and creating an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere for the customer. A customer forms his or her impression of a store not just by what merchandise sold, but also how that merchandise is visually displayed. Make sure that when picking a store layout, putting up displays, and arranging merchandise, you are thinking about visual merchandising.
- Decorate for the customer
Last but not least, decorating your retail space in a way that will be pleasing to your target audience can help maximize sales, despite the size of the retail space. Customers walk into a store hoping for and expecting a certain kind of experience; anticipate the kind of experience your customers want to have, and create your space accordingly. Teenagers likely want a fun, modern atmosphere with bright colors and decor, while older audiences might want a relaxing environment where they can feel calm and escape the chaos of work and home life. The more comfortable and at-home a customer feels, the more likely they are to make a purchase.