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How To Design A Shop Floor Layout?

Starting a business can be both a blessing and a curse. Whilst the payoff for a successful venture can change the lives of both you and your staff it’s a considerable amount of work. As such, there are some simple business techniques you may end up overlooking; such as putting decent consideration into the design of your shop floor.

Besides the limitations of your building and wallet, the world is your oyster when it comes to shop floor design. However, there are several basic ways to craft a store depending on your business type and desired clientele.

What you’re selling and who you want to attract also affects whether you choose to use the layout of your shop floor to guide customers or give them the freedom to browse.

Layouts For Guiding Customers

As you may have guessed, shop floors designed in this manner are intended to guide customers around the shop in a particular way. This can be subtly, by making certain routes more accessible, or entirely forced through a one-way system or strict path.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: When reducing the accessibility of a shop to control customer movement don’t throw disabled people under the bus! Your shop must be wheelchair accessible, and guided layouts aren’t recommended for stores providing an integral service; like pharmacies.

Pharmacy shelves for vets

Forced-Path Floor Plans:

A forced-path floor plan leads a customer through your entire shop and exposes them to every product. This has the advantage of exposing your clientele to items they may have missed otherwise and may result in them potentially spending more money.

However, forced-path floor plans aren’t always ideal. Customers are not sheep, some will want to move quickly through your shop to grab what they need. The time it takes to traverse while shopping may actually turn some clientele away, especially if you’re designing a larger store.

Loop Floor Plans:

A loop floor plan focuses on lining the walls with products, combined with a plateau of items in the middle. This creates the “loop” in which customers travel and generally allows them to see everything in the store at once, on the assumption that the centre plateau is suitably low.

A loop plan is a good middle ground between guided and non-guided. Here customers will still consider other products, but without having to dodge trollies before they can checkout. A loop floor plan doesn’t make efficient use of the space , however, so bear this in mind.

pharmacy shelves in shop

Non-Guiding Layouts

Non-guided layouts are more open to allow customers to browse products at their own pace. These layouts are generally better suited to stores selling specific goods like clothing, technology, or boutiques.

Grid Floor Plans:

Grid is perhaps the most common shop floor layout as it is an excellent way of utilizing the space available to you. Whether you’re setting up a small store selling mixed goods, or a warehouse-sized store just for gardening equipment; a grid layout is comfortable to consumers and allows for ample foot traffic.


This comfort does come with drawbacks, however; customers will spend less time in stores where they can access the goods they need freely. Not to mention, if you want to showcase specific products they either need to be where the customer enters or by the tills.

shop floor design
shop floor design

Free-Flow Plans:

A free-flow floor plan is breezier with mixed displays occupying a more open store area. They’re good at taking advantage of the space available – particularly in oddly shaped buildings. They provide a pleasant sightline and make it easy to remix the products available in store.

However, free-flow layouts can be less intuitive to customers, and generally, work best when displaying a more selective range of products.

The Choice Is Yours!

Remember these are guidelines only, feel free to pick and choose elements from various shop floors. Or why not do some mystery shopping and learn from your competitors? If it’s within budget to outsource the job, companies like Inov8 Medical also provide store design services as well as shelving.

You can also learn while you earn by listening to customers’ opinions, and moving elements of your shop accordingly. After all, there’s no harm in updating the feel of your store layout while also keeping up customer relations!

pharmacy floor plan design

Where here to help

  • If you are looking for some help designing your pharmacy floor space of shelving systems we have over 40 years of experience to help you achieve what you need for your business. Contact us here or call today on 0845 556 4371