Aspects to consider when picking a pharmacy layout for your business
You should think about your pharmacy’s layout as one of the most powerful tools that allow you to make maximum use of available floor space and improves customer experience. But what aspects should you take into consideration when deciding which layout to use?
There are many things you should consider when selecting the best layout for your pharmacy. Ideally, the choice of the layout is based on a deep understanding of customer behaviour, as well as on your merchandising strategy and the individual properties of your retail space. It is crucial to understand, that a layout that works well for one particular pharmacy, might not work for another. To pick the one that suits your pharmacy best, you will need to take into account:
- your customers and their buying habits (think about how customers usually navigate through your pharmacy and try to understand how they interact with your products);
- the type of products you wish to display;
- the available floor space as well as the individual properties of the building;
- your visual merchandising strategy.
Carefully selected and well-implemented pharmacy layout helps strategically guide your customers through your pharmacy. Skilfully combined with interior signage, eye-catching interior design and displays as well as with appropriate lighting fixtures, it allows your customers to shop the entirety of your pharmacy. At the same time, it can influence your customers buying decisions by directing traffic towards specific areas and facilitating impulse buys.
Depending on the type of pharmacy you have and the available floor space, there are numerous layout options for you to choose from. To help you make an informed decision, we put together a short guide on the various layout designs you can choose from.
One of the most commonly used layouts is the grid layout. Often used in pharmacies, supermarkets and various retail stores, it promotes the use of fixtures and shelves placed in long rows or ‘runs’. Being a space-saving option, it is the ideal choice for small pharmacies, since it allows for the best use of space at a low cost. At the same time, it allows for the best organisation of products and creates an atmosphere of efficiency. By having well-established aisles, it allows customers to shop the entirety of your pharmacy.
Although this layout is a popular choice for many, it does have its disadvantages as well. As such, the grid layout can create a sterile look, which can give your pharmacy an unwelcoming ambience. Due to its rigid structure, it might limit your options in terms of design. As a result, it can give your pharmacy an uninteresting look and seem overly simple for your customers.
If you feel that the grid layout seems a bit too rigid for you, you might consider opting for a free-flow layout instead. As its name suggests, this layout offers the most freedom for your customers to discover your products. But it also allows you to display your products in various areas using different types of display tables and fixtures. This flexibility is what lets you create more exciting designs.
In a free-flow layout, you can group various products, which means it allows for great cross-selling opportunities. Also, since there is no predefined path your customers need to follow, this layout allows your customers to interact with your merchandise and facilitates browsing. This, in turn, will promote impulse buys.
While there are numerous benefits of using a free-flow layout, there are also some disadvantages. One of the biggest drawbacks of using this layout for your pharmacy is that it takes up a lot of valuable floor space and can be quite costly. This means that it might not be the best layout for small pharmacies.
Loop or racetrack layout
Looking for something of a middle ground between a grid layout and a free-flor layout? Consider opting for a loop or racetrack layout. In this format, the main aisle loops around the store to guide your customers through a single path.
This pharmacy layout offers a unique way to display most of your products. At the same time, it creates a warmer and more welcoming ambience than a grid layout. It can be an ideal choice if you want to have more flexibility in terms of design and to facilitate impulse buys.
The main disadvantage of a loop layout is that it forces your customers to follow a certain path. This, in turn, might upset customers who come into your pharmacy knowing what they are looking for. On top of that, while this pharmacy layout does not waste so much floor space as a free-flow layout, it is not as space-saving as a grid-layout.
If none of the above-discussed layouts seems suitable for your pharmacy, here is our last option: a herringbone layout. This layout can be the best option for small pharmacies that have a narrow and rather long retail space, as it is composed of a single pathway running through the store. By adding a series of paths towards the walls, this type of layout allows you to display lots of products in a small space.
Paradoxically, it is the space-saving nature of this layout that can also be considered to be its main disadvantage. Thus, by cramming a lot of products in a small space, it can make your pharmacy feel cluttered and suffocating. Moreover, it is not the best layout design for browsing products.
So which pharmacy layout should you choose?
Choosing the best layout for your pharmacy is not easy. There are several options you can choose from, and each of them has its advantages and disadvantages. There is always a tradeoff. You either sacrifice space for versatility and design, or you opt for a simpler design in favour of more display space. Under these circumstances, you must ask yourself what is more important for you. Think about your own space, your business and your customers first. Also, remember that many successful pharmacies combine various types of layouts to create the most efficient space for their business. So you might as well try doing the same.
Feeling in doubt about the best pharmacy layout? As experienced pharmacy shopfitters, we know how to choose the best layout for each pharmacy and how to combine it efficiently with stunning interior designs. Contact us to find out more.