There are four shop layout design & retail space design techniques that crop up time and time again.

These are commonly used by retailers large and small, setting their merchandise and shop layouts into four systematic merchandising plans.

We’ll cover what these four shop layout designs are below, however, we’d like to help retailers understand which display products should be used, and where they can be used most effectively. 

Shop Layout Design & Retail Displays


This is a great shop layout design for retailers with a lot of merchandise. 

Because of the simple nature of the layout, it will be easy and cost effective to find a shop fitting system that’s both modular and capable of carrying a range of merchandise. 

However, the structured nature of this retail space design limits its ability to cross sell and also lacks ‘brand appeal’. This might perfectly fit a store looking to sell a lot of products at a low margin, but wouldn’t necessarily be used for ‘experiential’ types of stores selling high value products.

This layout is typically associated with supermarkets and large retailers. Because of the high density of stock, it’s difficult to incorporate different types of retail displays that will engage the shopper.

One of the most effective displays in a grid shop layout design is a featured product promotion. In the past we’ve worked with Tesco to create end of aisle displays, that incorporated a LED Lightbox with easy change graphics and illuminated shelving, ensuring the focus was on Tesco's new hudl tablet whilst providing cross-selling opportunities below on the hook display system.

Shop Layout Design


Similar to the ‘grid’ retail space design, a Herringbone shop layout design is suited to spaces that need to cater for range of stock, but have limited space. This layout usually has a single central aisle, with separate walkways either side for products.

One of the best examples of Herringbone shop layout design is IKEA’s self service pick up area. Although IKEA and limited space might not traditionally go hand in hand, if you consider the amount of products they have to sell, and the single floor warehouse space, it’s quite a challenge.

In a similar fashion to our Tesco example above, end of aisle displays are incredibly effective for this type of retail space design. As retailers know what type of product the customer will be buying once they enter each zone, targeting them with specific promotions and displays when entering the area can increase the chances of cross-selling.

Active In Style are another example of a small retailer (in comparison to IKEA at least!) that expertly used their available space. 

Rather than viewing promotions and product displays separately, they used our Magnetik system to combine both. With a large Magnetik placed at the end of the store, customers were drawn deeper into the store, alongside tactically placed Magnetik displays that ran along each side, promoting featured products. 

Shop Layout Design


The ‘loop’ shop layout design provides a path for customers to take, making their journey more predictable and therefore making promotions easier to place.

Stock levels in loop retail space designs are usually high, however the path that surrounds the merchandise is wide enough to provide breathing space and plenty of room for high numbers of customers. This gives them time to browse before entering merchandised areas.

A great example of this is Selfridges. Usually once in the store and the customers have decided which direction they’re travelling, they stick to the main concourse until something catches their eye or they see the product they’re looking for. 

This also provides a perimeter that’s crucial in terms of retail display, where customers will be enticed into certain sections of the store. 

We recently worked with Selfridges to create freestanding handbag displays immediately facing the aisle customers would travel along. 

These handbags were high value items, therefore it was important that the products took full focus, while the display system complemented their appeal. By using a frameless glass enclosure, visibility of the products wasn’t compromised whilst the custom powder coated framework below was purposely designed to be unobtrusive, allowing customers to see beyond the display should they need to.

Shop Layout Design

Free flow

The name of this shop layout design indicates its nature - there’s no set style to the retail space design, it allows the most freedom and creativity of all the most common layout methods.

While customers may begin browsing the store in a similar fashion to what they would normally (usually by heading right as they enter the store), it’s then the visual merchandising teams job to guide their journey throughout the store.

This approach works well for fashion retailers, and retailers in general that are looking to maximise the opportunities of cross-selling and raising awareness of a larger range of products. 

River Island have launched their new concept store with a free flow nature to the shop layout design. Retail displays are interspersed throughout merchandised areas, however each area has a theme or a method of categorising products.

We helped River Island create freestanding illuminated shelving systems (and perimeter shelving) using our Kontakt system, a cable-free moveable illuminated shelving system. By integrating this into a freestanding unit, River Island were able to attract attention with custom LED Lighting despite the displays being within the floor section of the footwear area.

Shop layout Design River Islanf


Retail Display Specialists

With exceptional design experience, pioneering machinery, unique lighting capabilities, and advanced manufacturing skills, we bridge the gap between production and creativity. Injecting care, attention, and ingenuity into everything we create.

If you would like some advice on your next retail display, or to enquire about the manufacture of a custom solution for your stores, feel free to get in touch on 0161 655 2100 or [email protected].