Commercial retail layout case study

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Project overview

Flagship visual layout for retail location

Designed and implemented a customer-focused experience for Patagonia that promotes product sales and strong brand values, whilst streamlining store logistics and employee workflows.


3 Months (including planning, scheduling, implementation and review)


Visual lead – responsible for the overall implementation of the layout and success via KPI metrics.


Myself, 2 x store staff for implementation, head office for supplies and scheduling.

About Patagonia

Patagonia, Inc. is an outdoor clothing and gear company known for its commitment to environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard, the company is renowned for its high-quality outdoor apparel, including clothing for climbing, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, and other outdoor activities.

Beyond its products, the company is widely recognised for its environmental activism, supporting various environmental causes and initiatives giving it the reputation as a leader in sustainable business practices.

Problem Area

Customers don't always see the value and potential of the products in-store and so cannot justify the higher price.

Customers do not always understand the strong brand values around social and environmental issues. Due to this, they are unaware of how they influence the product range and prioritisation in store.

Conducting research

Before I started this project, I looked to competitors of the brand to understand how they prioritised products and served the Manchester customer.

During this time as well, I completed a number of store observations of customers and how they moved and interacted with the product layout. What did people notice first? What was a popular category? Where did people struggle?

Competition analysis


  • Strong brand attention – Done via clear signage shown as the stretch canvas above the product bays.
  • Clear product categories – Customers were directed to each area via inspiring sports imagery.
  • Cross merchandising – Helps with upselling ti increase ATV (Average Transaction Value).


  • Product density – This is too much and looks cramped. Customers will not always shop this.
  • Stock availability – This is low on several lines and will affect sales when customers cannot get help from staff.
  • Accessories too high – Reduces the accessibility to these items. This can also make the items look disconnected to the display.

Store observations

The dashed line above showcases the common path through the ground floor of the store.

  • The back area of the store doesn’t receive as much traffic as other areas.
  • There is limited way finding to help customers navigate through the store to find items they are looking for without help. This is especially true with technical products.
  • Accessories are not suggested by staff or viewed by customers to help increase transaction value.
  • Customers are not aware of brand values and marketing campaigns as they walk through the store. 

Journey map showcasing the in-store customer experience

This map shows the emotions and experience that a customer goes through when looking for products in the store.

As you can see, the experience is negative when the customer is trying to find the relevant area of the store and locating the items they need. This suggests that way finding needs to be improved in the store.

Customers have questions about the features of the products that need to be answered when a sales assistant is unavailable.

Defining the design area

How might we increase footfall to all areas of the store to maximise commercial real estate?

How might we improve customer knowledge around product features, and educate them on brand values and campaign awareness?

How might we allow customers to find their way around the store without the need of staff help?

How might we increase product sell through rates and create a brand/customer relationship that generates repaeat business or brand awreness?

Success metrics

Sales data
An increase in turnover, including an increase in key product lines that were pushed as part of the layout.

Conversion percentage
Are customers buying items from the areas of the store that have had less footfall before?


Stock inventory
Part of the layout was reliant on certain key lines which were included in marketing campaigns. IF stock delivery of these lines were to drop then this would heavily affect the layout. The need for a contingency here is high.

Ensure all staff members are aware of the campaign products and the features/benefits of each to upsell them correctly.

Ideation and testing

Now that I had a better understanding of the problem and what the business needed, I could start to think about possible solutions to the problem. This would involve creating a number of different options through sketches and talking with peers to come to the solution that could be tested.

Planogram of the sales floor

To provide a clearer visualization of the sales floor layout, I crafted a 3D planogram. This strategic approach allowed me to grasp the spatial arrangement of the bays and effectively plan product displays. Additionally, it facilitated the identification of cross-selling opportunities and optimal placements for printed point-of-sale materials and imagery, enhancing customer wayfinding and inspiration.

Furthermore, I’ve discovered that developing these planograms offers numerous benefits. Notably, they serve as powerful tools for securing stakeholder buy-in, as they provide stakeholders with a tangible representation of the store layout. Additionally, they streamline the installation process for the team by offering clear directives and minimizing the need for extensive input or walkthroughs.

Trialing out POS (point of sale) around different areas of the floor

I worked closely with the head office team to understand important campaign/brand messaging within the current season. This allowed me to prioritise these messages and think about how best to highlight them around the sales floor whilst not overwhelming the customer with too much messaging.

A clever example here is the ‘NetPlus’ promotion which uses recovered fishing nets and turns them into fabric. The stretch canvas told the process of how the initiative works, the box below showcases this process in a more tactile way and merchandised here are product lines made from this fabric. This is a clear example of cross selling from campaigns and brand values. 

Feedback from testing

Due to the nature of this layout installation, there was a focus on iterating the design forward post installation after reviewing sales figures to see performance on products lines and postioning.

However reviewing the sales data, KPI metrics and observations gave the following feedback.

  • Having accessories near the cash desk had a visible increase in the ATV (Average Transaction Value).
  • Using images and mannequins around the store has been beneficial in directing customers to areas relevant to them.
  • Displaying infographics has helped both customers and employees to learn more about the mission of the brand.
  • Hiking products have proved commercially successful and have been kept at the front of the store to match our key customer profile.

Installation & delivery

To make the delivery as smooth as possible, I worked closely with a number of teams in the store and head office. This ensured there was minimal effect on customers and also that it matched with head office agreements.

Project reflections

After the project had finished there was time to look at the project in a retrospective manner to fins out what went well, what didn't work and what could be improved. Here are some of the key things that need to be considered for next time.

Ensure all operational staff took part in training for the new updated layout in order to support customers

Some members of the in-store team only work a small number of hours and so were not always fully familiar with the store layout and changes made.

To rectify this issue, once the new layout was implemented, I needed to schedule several store walkthroughs to capture all members of the team and update them on the changes. 

Doing this, allows everyone to benefit from the newly added efficiencies and support customers on their journey through the store.

Schedule additional staffing to process product backlog created during implementation

The nature of the layout change resulted in additional product sizes being removed from the sales floor. This was to make room for new products and marketing/brand messaging.

For the future, I need to plan in additional time for staff to tidy these products into the stockroom. This process will ensure an efficient replenishment process that results in better service and improved financial gain.

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