The layout of a retail store can have significant impact on sales and customer experience, a fact well-known to retailers (take Apple's recent application to patent its own floor plan invention). But not every retailer or small business needs to follow the Apple approach. A recent blog on intuit.com listed six tips to creating the optimal floor plan. Here are a few of them:

Don't place merchandise in the decompression zone: When U.S. consumers enter a store, they tend to turn to the right, and not notice merchandise located at the front of the store. Position merchandise with this in mind.

Choose a store layout that fits your business: The grid layout, loop layout and free-flowing layout offer retailers various ways to plan the shoppers' paths.

Minimize counters: Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, says store counters often separate the owner and shopper and create an "us vs. them" mentality, sending the wrong signals. Phibbs suggests that owners ask unoccupied staff to wander the sales floor, posing as shoppers.

Read more about store design and layout.

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