Right This Way

by Katie Lee

Maximizing your profits with retail displays.

By Misty Wilfing

No matter what you’re selling, a disorganized store filled with cluttered shelves presents an unnecessary barrier to customer purchases. Whether you’re looking to clean up your current space, expand, relocate or increase your inventory, it’s important to keep your store organized with high-volume, high margin products prominently displayed. A few small changes can have a big impact on your bottom line. Follow these tips to maximize your retail space.


Make a Good First Impression

The space directly inside a store’s entrance is known as the “decompression zone.” It’s important to keep this space open and clear of obstacles so customers develop a feel for the overall layout without being distracted immediately by products.

One method for balancing an inviting entrance with a sales opportunity is to place a display 10 feet to 15 feet back from the front door. The display should be well organized and show customers the types of products they can expect throughout the store. Nesting tables are a great choice for entry displays since they lend themselves to displaying almost anything.

When deciding what products to feature, look for new inventory and sales items that will make customers excited to explore the rest of your space. Premium, unique offerings will set the tone for customers’ experience and differentiate you from your competitors.


This Way, Please

A common challenge of retail stores is designing an organized layout. Many spaces start with a clear arrangement in mind, but as inventory changes, that organization disappears. Take a moment to consider the path you want customers to take and which products should be prominently featured on that path. The route should pass all of your products in order to maximize sales, but special offers and popular items should be featured prominently.

Aisles, like those found in grocery stores, offer a clear and organized path through the store and can be combined with end caps to showcase sale or high-profile items. If you are working with a circular space, remember that most people will turn right upon entering a room, and plan your most prominent fixtures accordingly.

Sweet Sassy 1547Consider freestanding fixtures mixed with high-quality tables to showcase unique or popular items. These versatile options keep your store organized, allow for the flexibility to change layouts, and offer different focal points to grab customers’ attention.


Don’t Neglect the Checkout

The space where customers pay is often overlooked when it comes to layout and planning. It’s important to make checkout spaces easily accessible and clear of obstructions to turn browsers into paying customers.

With the right displays, you can maintain organization while still displaying small, inexpensive items that customers are prone to buy impulsively. Frequently purchased items, gift ideas and small items that might get lost in your aisles are a great place to start. Cards, wrapping paper and batteries also are strong sellers near the checkout.

It’s important that a customer has enough space at the checkout to lay down their entire purchase at once. For example, clothing stores may need deeper checkouts so that long shirts, pants and dresses all fit comfortably. An unprofessional and cluttered checkout counter dissuades purchases and decreases your sales. It also creates a negative lasting impression of your store at the end of the shopping experience, and could stop shoppers from returning.


Choosing the Best Displays

Once you’ve chosen the types of displays that are right for your store, it’s time to turn your attention to finding the right manufacturer. Below are a few features to consider before purchasing your new fixtures.

Quality Build

Be sure to note the quality of the construction and materials when looking for a fixture manufacturer. Your customers will interact with your displays every day. Choose strong, premium materials to give customers confidence in your products.


Cheap fixtures can often cost more in the end due to repair and replacement costs. Think of fixtures as an investment in your company that can benefit your store for years to come.


Custom solutions are a great way to gain an edge on the competition. You can choose specially sized and shaped fixtures to fit your store’s odd spaces, and match the color to your existing color pallet. Ask potential manufacturers about what customization options they provide to see what’s right for you.

On-Time Delivery & Customer Support

Make sure you find a fixture manufacturer that has a reputation for on time delivery and strong customer service. Check rating websites like Yelp, Angie’s list or even Google when starting out. Asking for a list of referrals to call can help you understand the experiences others have had when working with a particular company.


— Misty Wilfing is the marketing director for Logan, Ohio-based Gabriel Logan, which has been designing, building and installing custom fixtures since 2002. For more information, visit www.gabriellogan.com.

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