Boost Sales with Customer-Friendly Layouts

Organize your store so customers feel confident and comfortable while shopping and buying products.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Cassie Gasaway

Should you rearrange your shop in hopes of selling more products and satisfying more customers? Those concepts might seem random, but they’re closely connected.

If customers can’t see a store’s products, they can’t buy them. Likewise, if customers feel lost or uncomfortable in a store, they’ll shop elsewhere. Well-designed floor plans transform shops so they’re organized and easily navigated. When customers easily find the products they’re seeking, they’re happier and more likely to buy.

Consider the following layout tips for improving customers’ shopping experiences.

Select a Suitable Floor Plan

Thought-out store layouts help customers navigate to items they want. Their in-store journey should be enjoyable and straightforward. Top retailers organize their stores in one of four design patterns: the grid, loop, herringbone or free-flow. A article, “The Ultimate Guide to Retail Store Layouts,” weighs the pros and cons of each design. Which layout helps your customers move through your store naturally? Layouts should also maximize usable wall and shelf space for products.

Give customers a space at the entrance to stop for a minute and adjust to your store. Photo credit: ATA

Make the Entrance a “Decompression Zone”

Help customers transition from the outside world to your store’s archery world with a decompression zone. Depending on the store’s size, design experts recommend a 5- to 15-foot empty space inside the entryway door to help customers mentally shift gears. This space should be open, inviting, and free of signs, displays and products that could confuse or overwhelm customers. A decompression zone helps customers evaluate the store’s layout, focus their attention on shopping, and determine their next move.

Keep this area tidy, too. A well-maintained entryway makes a good first impression, but don’t stop there. Clean and organize your entire store to boost your brand’s appearance and create lifelong customers.

Place Merchandise Strategically

Research shows 90% of consumers turn right when entering stores. Marketing experts Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender said that’s because people shop how they drive. Retailers should create a “power wall” or aisle just right of the decompression zone. Fill this area with best-selling or premium promotion items to ensure customers see them. Seasonal items and sales fit there, too. Consider featuring recreational or competition gear in winter, bowfishing equipment in spring, 3D supplies in summer, and bowhunting products in fall.

Stash sales or clearance items in the back because most shoppers hunt for bargains. They’ll navigate to the section regardless, and browse along the way. If they find something else they like, they might buy it.

Don’t forsake female shoppers. Archery stores are usually male-dominated, but retailers must make female customers feel welcome. A Deakin University article describes men as “pragmatic shoppers.” They typically enter, get what they need and leave. Women, however, typically wander before buying. If you place women’s gear near the front, they’ll immediately start browsing, which usually boosts business. Consider rearranging your shop with females in mind. Male customers probably won’t notice, so no harm done. If you don’t have a ladies’ section, put trinkets and household items up front. Most women decorate their homes, and enjoy shopping for these items. Also hang signs that advertise ladies-only events or women’s shooting leagues to show you support female archers.

Don’t forget small, valuable items like broadheads, SD cards and range-finders, which tempt thieves. Place these items near the checkout so you and your employees can monitor them. In-store cameras and security systems also reduce thefts.

Customers shop right, so try to place your checkout counter right by the entrance, but on the left. Photo credit: ATA

Place Your Checkout Up Front

Because most customers turn right when entering stores, consider placing your checkout counter in the shop’s front left corner. This location helps you and your staff greet customers as they enter, and thank them for their business as they leave. Making good first impressions and showing appreciation helps create lifelong customers.

If you can’t move your checkout, consider a bell on your door so you know when customers enter. Whenever possible, head toward the entrance to greet them. Strive to quickly connect with every customer. A personal welcome shows you care and appreciate their business. Be kind, be genuine and smile.

Place your inventory in sections that are easy to navigate and understand. Photo credit: ATA

Segment Your Shop

If you sell products for all archery disciplines — bowhunting, bowfishing, 3D and competition — try segmenting your shop by category. Create walls or displays for specific customers, be they youths, beginners, traditional or competition archers. Customers gravitate to the discipline that identifies them. If they find all the items needed for their setup in one spot, buying becomes easier. Learn more about this strategy here.

Get a Second Opinion

You might think your shop is already laid out well, but others might disagree. Ask another businessowner for an opinion. Try saying, “Don’t be nice; be helpful.” Also consider asking customers for input, which makes them feel valued. Once armed with everyone’s feedback, determine what’s practical and affordable, and redesign your layout.

Next, position every item to sell, ensuring everything is visible, easily accessible and clearly marked. Read the ATA article “What is Merchandising? Draw in Customers with These 4 Tips” to hone your merchandising skills. You can also improve your in-store marketing by clicking here.

To ask questions or get more information, please contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail-programs manager, at (502) 640-0944 or

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