When you visit shoe stores, as a client, do you pay attention to how the sales area is arranged: where is the checkout, where is the fitting area and is there enough of this area inside the store or there is a line of those who want to try on shoes, but cannot ; what kind of trade equipment and how it is located; Are the aisles between the trade equipment comfortable? These and many other questions are very important when designing a shoe and accessories store. Of course, all this is laid down at the stage of developing the design of the store and its adaptation to the area of a specific room. We asked Marina Polkovnikova, a permanent SR expert in visual merchandising, shop window design and retail space, and speaker of the business program of the Euro Shoes Premiere Collection exhibition, to tell about the basic rules for designing a shoe store.
Founder and CEO of VMC Retail, an expert in merchandising, window dressing and store building, a coach, analyst, and author of a unique teaching methodology.
In this article, I want to talk with you about the main rules for designing a shoe store. There are many of them, but the main ones are six.
Rule # 1: store zoning
When we rent a room, before starting repairs, we need to divide it into parts: in one we will locate the cashier, in the other we will have a warehouse, in the third - a staff room. We must immediately decide whether we will make a showcase, and what kind of showcase it will be - with a wall or without a wall; what area we will give to the showcase.
The total area of the store is divided into functional and technical areas. Technical zoning is when we divide the total rented space into work and service areas. And functional zoning is when we divide a sales area directly into areas for specific categories of goods, collections, brands, etc.
Rule number 2: integration and placement of commercial equipment
After we have completed the zoning of the store, we begin to work with the trade equipment. The following aspects are important here: what type of equipment we have, its dimensions, textures, materials, how much this equipment corresponds to the concept and type of product, because not every shelf is suitable for a particular one or another shoe.
This is already called - the arrangement of commercial equipment inside the store. It is important to consider here: the dimensions of the checkout area, the dimensions of the island and wall equipment, how many seats for fitting we must provide, plan and allocate - it can be 4, or maybe 10 fitting seats, here we need to build on the expected traffic of the shopping center and the store itself.
Rule # 3: Lighting Design
After the first two stages, we are already starting to think about lighting: what kind of light we want to choose - general, which gives an even illumination of the ceiling, or we want to highlight only our product on the walls and on the islands. Based on our wishes and the concept of the store, we choose certain types of lamps - they are ceiling and gimbal, built-in lights, linear lamps that help to visually lengthen or, conversely, shorten the ceiling and the store as a whole, track lamps that rotate around their axis and are mounted on the busbar and give us an accent light. Lighting is a separate story that requires serious study. Lighting plays a huge role in the display area; it should be brighter and visually distinguishable from the sales area. A special light should be in the checkout area, soft, uniform light in the fitting area - so that there are no shadows, so that the light falls on the client, because the client chooses himself in the chosen shoes, not shoes. All these details are important to consider, because the client in the mirror should like himself. And therefore, by the way, mirrors should be in full-length shoe stores.
Rule # 4: store front decoration
What the sign will be, how we will place it - this is the next stage. There are many questions: will a composite box be used, and the letters will be volumetric in the box, or, conversely, - only illumination along the contour, or there will be volumetric letters without a contour; where we will place our logo - strictly in the center or offset left and right; what are the dimensions of this sign - of course, the rules for working with signs are regulated by the shopping center, but we also have our own corporate style, and here it is important to organically fit into it.
After we have decided on the sign, we work with the showcase. The current trend is to make the widest possible entrances to stores, to abandon classic showcases altogether and create an inconspicuous passage to the store so that the client does not know and does not notice where is the store hall, and where else is the shopping center gallery.
In the display space where we offer our goods, it is important to take into account the technical equipment of the display - the level of illumination and the location of the lamps, podiums, cubes and other equipment that will best present our products in the display. Whether you will use screens, lightboxes, posters, or simply paint the entire showcase area in one color - all this is important, and here you need to go from the requests of your target audience and from what is embedded in the DNA of your store, and broadcast it through the showcase.
Rule # 5: working out the fitting zone
Now it is necessary to work out the area for trying on shoes - the number of seats, what kind of furniture it will be - armchairs, sofas, ottomans, where the horns will be located for trying on, will you offer socks-socks for trying on shoes, etc.
I would also like to say about mirrors, the dimensions and dimensions of which are very important. The minimum width of a mirror in a shoe store is 55-60 cm, so that a person fits completely into the reflection, both in width and in full height. Remember: a person chooses himself in shoes or himself with a bag, and not shoes on himself or a bag. Therefore, when we offer only short mirrors located at the bottom, no higher than 30-40 cm, it is difficult for the client to make a choice, because he does not see himself in the shoes he likes.
Rule # 6: integrating a visual merchandising system
The sixth rule is, of course, the integration of the VM system at all design stages, from the distribution of functional and technical zones to the rules for the arrangement of commercial equipment, standards in the aisles - 60-90, 120, 150 cm, the distance between the shelves, the depth of the shelves, dimensions, etc. table heights, etc.
We loop through the maze
Let's talk in more detail about the rules for placing commercial equipment, because there are a lot of nuances here, and only over some of them I will slightly open the curtain.
1.The arena principle - when we put the lowest type of equipment at the entrance to the store, most often these are tables in two or three levels, or a set of podium-cubes. After that, there may be higher equipment or walls. This is done so that the entire assortment can be seen from the entrance, and so that one type of equipment does not overlap with other, higher equipment.
2. The rule of the maze - when we arrange the equipment in such a way that the client makes a stop every 3-4 steps, gets acquainted with the product, with the assortment, stumbles upon the equipment and changes his trajectory of movement. But this rule is not used in all stores.
3. Loop Rule - when we loop the trajectory of the customer, and there can be several of these loops: one main - the key zone along the perimeter of the store from beginning to end, and inside there can be several loops of smaller dimensions. This rule is applied quite often.
4. Rule of parallel - when all commercial equipment is placed parallel to the walls or the entrance, there are no diagonals, only clean, even, clear lines with the same passages around the perimeter and inside.
5. Rule of focal point - when a zone of attraction is created, allocated in a special way, it is determined empirically. Attraction zones should always be the best, attractive and interesting.
And, of course, always remember about comfortable aisles according to your price segment: if you work in the mass market segment, then the minimum distance between the shelves on the wall and tables should be 90 cm, ideally 120 cm; in the middle price segment it is already one and a half meters, and if you work in a suite, then the aisles can reach 2-2,5 meters.
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