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How to Make a Small Store Feel Less Claustrophobic


Many of today’s store owners find themselves working with small amounts of space. A small footprint can create all kinds of challenges for store owners, but thankfully, there are plenty of affordable ways to make the best of any retail environment. Read on to find out how to maximize merchandise space and make smaller stores feel less claustrophobic.

  1. Use Vertical Space

Vertical shelving units are a must for any retail environment, but they’re twice as essential in stores with smaller footprints. Placing inventory on multiple levels is an easy way to display more goods without creating clutter or making the store look overstocked. Just try to avoid setting up shelves far above customers’ heads, as this technique can make already small stores feel even more confining.

  1. Get Creative with Displays

Not all goods are meant to be displayed on shelves. Stores that sell jewellery and other smaller wares typically feature different types of displays. Jewellery store owners who don’t have the money to invest in professional-grade display cases can get creative by making their own cork boards out of old paintings and canvases with unique frames. That said, expensive pieces that feature precious metals and gemstones should still be kept under lock and key in a standard glass case.

  1. Let There Be Light

Nothing will make an already small store feel more claustrophobic like a lack of adequate lighting. Even if just one corner of the space lacks sufficient light, it can have a dramatic negative impact on customer experience. Use a combination of overhead lighting, accent lights, track lights, and other specialized fixtures to ensure that the store is bright and welcoming, not dark and dreary.

  1. Add an Accent Wall

Accent walls can add a bright pop of colour to an otherwise neutral, boring colour palette. A coloured accent wall can also give the illusion of more space and add vibrancy to the whole store.

Store owners that don’t have space or time to paint a full accent wall can try patterned or boldly printed swaths of wallpaper, fabric, or curtains instead. The contrasting texture can create a unique dimensional effect that makes the store feel simultaneously spacious and cosy.

  1. Change Up the Layout

In larger retail stores, the layout is important but not necessarily essential to customer experience. As long as there’s plenty of space to move throughout the store and it’s easy to find things, customers are usually happy. In smaller spaces, it’s much more important to use every bit of floor space to the greatest advantage.

If the store feels crowded or it’s hard to find popular items, it may be time to switch up the layout. Try moving the most popular merchandise to the front and centre of the store, and don’t be afraid to change up the layout to accommodate seasonal alterations in customers’ buying patterns. Even just moving more profitable items to the most noticeable places can give a boost to the store’s sales margins.

It’s Never Too Late to Make a Change

Whether business owners have only recently moved into small retail stores or they’ve been dealing with cramped conditions and dissatisfied customers for years, it’s never too early or too late to make a change. Start by taking stock of the store’s current layout, lighting, shelving, and ambiance and come up with a plan for renovations. Having a solid plan in place will make it easier to implement positive changes without disrupting day-to-day operations.


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