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Store layout and visual merchandising are factors that contribute to the uniqueness of a store. The exterior and interior of a store convey several messages about the store to the consumers. The building that houses retail store, (whether new or old) and the exterior design of the store are important aspects of the design of the store. Marquees, walkways, entrances, doors, display windows, the height and size of the building, colors and materials used, and theft prevention are some of the key factors to be kept in mind while developing a store's exterior.
There are three kinds of layouts - grid layout, race track layout and freeform layout.
Allocating space to various merchandise categories in a store is very important. Allocation of space can be based on many factors, like historical sales, gross margins, industry averages and strategic objectives. Apart from allocating space to various merchandise categories, space has to be allocated for carrying out some essential functions. Such space includes the back room for receiving the inventories and sorting them out, office and other functional spaces, aisles and customer service desks, floor space and wall space. The interior of a store influences the purchasing behavior of the customers to a great extent. Designing the interior of a store in such a way as to influence customer behavior is referred to as visual merchandising. It includes optimum and appropriate use of fixtures, displays, color, lighting, music, scent, ceilings and floor, and designing all of these properly. Merchandise presentation is the most significant aspect of store design, because it helps attract customers' attention. A retailer can resort to many forms of presentation such as idea-oriented presentation, item-oriented presentation, price lining, color presentation, vertical merchandising, tonnage merchandising and frontal presentation.
Prevention of losses due to merchandise pilferage is a major cause of concern for all retailers. This issue should be addressed at the initial stage of store design. The retailer can use many electronic security systems like CCTV and EAS for the prevention of such losses. Thus, by appropriately integrating the various elements of store design (both exterior and interior), a retailer can create an excellent image of itself in the target customer's mind.