Common Store Layouts All Retailers Should Understand


The objective of your retail store is to move products. You need to encourage customers to make a purchase using a range of different strategies and techniques, from stocking the right products to having an effective pricing strategy. The layout of your store is important too.

The layout of your store affects customer flow and helps guide people around your store. It also helps to showcase your products in the most effective way possible, and it impacts the experience of customers, i.e., do customers enjoy shopping in your store?

In many respects, deciding on the layout of your store is the first step to effective store design. Here are the most common types of store layouts that you should be aware of.


Grid Store Layout

This is probably the one most people will be familiar with because it is the one that supermarkets use. In other words, aisles that are parallel and largely uniform, with checkouts close to the entrance/exit. 

This layout offers a lot of advantages, particularly for retail stores with lots of different products and substantial product variation – like a supermarket. You can also guide customers through the store by putting the most commonly purchased items at the back. Grid layouts are also familiar to shoppers, and shelving solutions are commonly available.

This style of store is not very creative or interesting, however. It’s more about function than design and can lead to frustration with shoppers when used in the wrong situations.


Free Flow Layout

The free flow layout is a common layout in boutique stores and is often the favoured layout in shops where there isn’t much space available. There are really no rules with a free-flow design. Instead, it’s about being creative and using the space you have in the best way possible.

While it is common in small stores, it usually works best in high-end retail outlets that don’t have many products to display. It’s also good for experiential retail spaces, and where you want there to be plenty of free space.

The downsides are less space to display products, plus it can be confusing for customers. This style of layout can also have unintended consequences, where the free layout of the store leads to a lack of focus on good retail practice.


Spine Layout

This is where you have a single aisle running from one end of the store to the other, with products displayed on either side of the aisle. It is common in smaller spaces, particularly where there are lots of products to display.

The biggest downside is space, as it can feel cramped, particularly when the store is busy.


Loop or Racetrack Layouts

A store with a loop layout forces customers to follow a pre-determined route around the store. A variation of the loop is a racetrack layout, which has a more varied design but with the same principle.

This layout is often used to ensure customers pass every product as they walk through. It also presents opportunities to strategically locate promotions for maximum impact.

However, it doesn’t suit stores where people know what they want to buy before they go in, as it can cause frustration.


Solutions for All Store Layouts

Whatever layout you choose for your retail store, we have the products and solutions that you need. Browse our range of over 3,000 products today.

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How to use display hooks to optimise your retail space

Everything in a retail environment is carefully designed to showcase products to look their best. Retailers try to maximise available spaces as well as arrange displays so that products are appealing, easily seen and accessible.

The entire arrangement of a retail space is treated as an exercise in visual merchandising. For instance, to promote the feeling of a healthy, wholesome space, the produce section is often placed at the beginning of the store. Essentials are placed toward the middle or the end so customers are incentivised to walk through the other aisles and browse other products as well.

What are display hooks?

Display is everything in a retail store and it does pay off to invest in clever display accessories that can create a browser friendly environment.  Display hooks are one such product that can clear up clutter, maximise your presentation and improve sales.

Hooks are detachable merchandising accessories that can fit in neatly on standalone or countertop cardboard construction displays.  They are available in various lengths and styles to suit a variety of purposes.

How can I use display hooks?

Upgrade your display

These hooks make it possible to save floor space by arranging lightweight, compact products vertically on hang-sell displays. This also makes it possible to place key products in your customers’ line of sight.  The hooks help to organise your displays neatly without making your space look like it’s crammed with products.

Versatile positioning

There are a variety of hooks available so depending on the display that you want to create, you can choose hooks that fit into slatwalls, pegboards, cardboard displays or wire grids. Each hook has an end that is bent slightly upward to prevent products from sliding off.

Suitable for a range of products

These hooks are sturdy and can hold a variety of different products including phone accessories, fashion accessories, jewellery, and packets of items. You can choose from different hook lengths to suit your purpose or invest in all the sizes so you have them on hand. This way, you can use whichever hooks work best depending on the stock you have at the time.  You can fix hook locks at the end of these to prevent high price tag items from going missing. Only a member of your staff can unlock and show the product for a customer to examine.

Convenient, easy to use and long-lasting

Display hooks are made with highly durable plastic to ensure that they are long lasting and can be used for years to come.  Display hooks are easy to use and can be fitted or removed by a member of your staff quite easily.


Thanks to display hooks, with minimum investment, you are able to put more products on display and sell more of your stock. The versatility they offer in terms of function and ease of use means that nearly anyone can to put together eye-catching displays for new collections or special products. Display hooks are a staple retail accessory and are not likely to go out of style. So buying them is an investment that you can reap the benefits of for several years.

Thanks to the multiple advantages offered by this clever device, display hooks are often bought and stocked in bulk by chemists, jewellers, dairies, newsagents, clothing and even sports stores. You can choose between plastic butterfly hooks, double loop hooks, multi display hooks or even single hooks.

If we have a confirmed order for pegboard hooks or multi display hooks by 12pm, providing it is in stock, we can assure you that we will dispatch your order on the same day so there is no waiting around, ever!

Specialists in retail display products

Mills Display is proudly Kiwi owned and is based in Auckland, New Zealand. We have built up a diverse collection of retail equipment and accessories to offer you. With over 3000 products in our inventory, there is plenty for you to choose from to create the perfect space. Our knowledge of local needs combined with our commitment to help you succeed and international buying power allows us to offer you complete solutions for your retail needs.

In addition to a wide range of display accessories that are already available, Mills Display also offers you in-house design, prototyping and we can develop bespoke solutions for your space.  If you are unsure of which product would be exactly right for you, our experienced team is happy to help at every step, so give us a call today.

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Do you have enough baskets in store? You could be missing out on sales

Convenience is a critical principle of the shopping experience and baskets are key to facilitating this. Having a basket or cart at hand not only allows customers to pick up all the items on their grocery list but also encourages them to add more.

It’s human nature to prefer convenience (be lazy), and shopping trolleys were first added to supermarkets for this very reason. Sylvan Goldman wanted to make it easier for shoppers to circulate through his supermarkets and browse the aisles with ease. But once their baskets had a few items, the weight prompted customers cut the trip short and go straight to the checkout counter. He decided that introducing shopping carts with large baskets was the ideal solution. It not only encouraged them to stay longer but also increased the possibility of them picking up more.

“When the shopper got their basket full, it was too heavy for them to carry and they stopped shopping, I thought if there was some way we could give the customer two baskets to shop with and still have one hand free to shop, we could do considerably more business.”

How can baskets be used to your advantage?

Studies have shown that when baskets are strategically used, it encourages buyers to spend more in your store. Shoppers who aren’t overly strict with following their grocery list, will almost always pop in a few more items since they’re in the store.

The pandemic has impacted shopping behaviour of customers. People are trying to make the most of each trip by buying more. This is another reason to have baskets or carts easily available to customers.

Consider placement

The placement of the baskets and trolleys in your store makes difference. Don’t place them directly adjacent to the front doors which is considered to be the ‘transition zone’ – customers may miss it here as they’re still getting acclimatised to the new environment that they’ve just stepped into. Place baskets and trolleys in a visible spot before the shopping floor area. The stack of baskets needs to be at the right level so customers are not bending too low to pick one up.

Businesses have also seen success in placing baskets around the store for shoppers who entered on impulse with the intention of buying only one or two essentials, but are now uncomfortably juggling quite a few items. Having baskets stacked strategically through the store will be useful to these customers. You could also have your employees offer baskets to customers who are jugging three items or more.

Basket design matters

Baskets and trolleys are useful in supermarkets of any size and in order to use them to your advantage, make sure you’ve picked the right design.  There are a number of different variants that you can keep in your store.

  • Basic baskets stack easily to maximise on floor space, they are fairly easy to manoeuvre through the store and are best for spaces where the items are not too heavy so the basket doesn’t get difficult to manage.  These are also perfect to place at frequent intervals through the store to give customers easy access. Baskets will work better in smaller convenience stores or produce sections rather than in bulk-buy supermarkets.
  • The advantage of the rolling plastic basket design is that these can also be stacked like ordinary baskets saving you a lot of room. But they offer customers the convenience of a trolley. They are also compact and easier to navigate the aisles with.
  • Large shopping carts allow customers to pick up everything on their long grocery list without needing an additional basket. The space for toddlers to sit in makes the shopping experience easier on parents.
  • For convenience stores and markets with narrower aisles, you have the two tier basket carts. These allow customers to shop with their hands free. Hooks are positioned on the cart to hold bags or purses.

Remember to always match the shopping baskets/carts to your space and to the products you have available. The products in a shopping market are generally pre-packaged and if you have large, bulky items, the carts should also be large enough to accommodate these.

A note on hygiene

Since the pandemic, shoppers are playing more attention to touch points and looking for safer, hygienic experiences. These shopping baskets, carts and trolleys are designed to be easy to clean so you can sanitize them before a customer picks one up.

Having enough of the right baskets and carts in your store makes a big difference in your customer’s shopping behaviour. Even though it is an investment at the beginning, this is a well-studied aspect of consumer behaviour to increase sales.

Mills Display –Your Kiwi retail specialists

Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Mills Display is a Kiwi owned company that has built up a strong reputation as the provider of quality retail accessories. Our knowledge of changing local needs coupled with our international buying power makes us the go-to brand for all retail display needs.

Our inventory includes a wide variety of over 3000 products. This collection has been put together very carefully to be able meet every retail requirement imaginable. Our experienced team is on hand every step of the way to ensure that you find the right products to help you succeed.

Our areas of specialisation range from shopping baskets, safety equipment and promotional display accessories to even literature displays, display hooks, shelf management accessories and food handling equipment/displays.  If you’re looking to upgrade your retail environment, you’ve come to the right place. Contact us today to chat about the baskets we have in stock, and can despatch to you today, or about personalising your baskets and trolleys to suit your branding.

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Controlling Customer Flow

Four tricks for effective customer flow management and increased sales

No matter what retail business you’re in, effective customer flow management offers huge benefits, with increased profits and a better customer experience that encourages return visits.

Customer flow management is about controlling the movement of visitors inside your place of business, and it begins the minute they enter the door. It involves arranging your space in such a way as to discourage crowding, preventing long queues from forming, as well as leading people to the items you want to sell. This helps to adapt a customer-centric approach that brings about a relaxed, calm atmosphere and enhances the overall experience.

The good news is that you don’t need to have a large staff to handle this. You can have effective customer flow management with a few common practices and versatile equipment.

Add barrier posts to reduce customer anxiety

Barrier posts have proven to be invaluable in retail spaces. This simple piece of equipment consists of a stainless steel post set on a wide, weighted base for stability. The top has a retractable belt fixed in that can stretch out to about two metres. This can be clipped into another post or a wall clip to form a continuous barrier. Each post has a 4-way clip at the top so you can form barriers in what ever direction required. These portable posts can be used in any set up whether it’s a public office, a fast food eatery, a supermarket or a retail establishment of any size.

Making sure that lines are moving at a good pace and customers are not getting impatient is important. To prepare for this, take into account the conditions during peak business hours and the madness of holiday shopping.

First, make sure that there is enough room to accommodate as many people as there are likely to be in the queue at any one time. Then, address one of the key reasons for queue anxiety: poorly managed queues. Setting up barrier posts is a simple way to keep lines organised, separate and with no risk of nefarious queue jumpers.

Keep customers engaged with product displays

Nobody likes standing in queues and a reliable method for reducing perceived wait time is to keep your customers engaged. Arranging product displays along the line can hold your customers’ attention and increase impulse purchases. Studies have shown that these displays encourage impulse buying by about 400%.

Have adaptable queues

Stainless steel barrier posts are not bulky and awkward. Your staff can move these posts around with ease so they can be set up wherever you anticipate a crowd to collect. Setting up a row of barrier posts can streamline any part of your set up. If you’re a supermarket with a sudden surge at the deli, or a retail store where you’re closing and opening tills, make sure you can move your barrier posts as needed.

Use signage to attract attention and increase sales

You can add ticket frames to advertise offers and new products. While they handily sit alongside barrier posts, you don’t have to limit them to your queue barriers. Use them to attract customer attention to bulk displays or bins. Have attractive displays at the ends of aisles, which have been shown to increase sales of some alcohols by up to 46%!

Freestanding ticket frame stand 800-1200, adjustable

Freestanding ticket frame stand 700mm, black

Ticket frame stand for barrier post

Ticket frame A5 in black, clear and carriers

Ticket frame A4 in black, white, green, red and carriers

Ticket frame A3 in black, white, green and carriers

Ticket frame A2 in black

Why buy barrier posts from Mills Display?

Our barrier posts are easy to store, durable and long lasting. They are made with stainless steel so they are extremely durable and can last for years. Unlike regular rope barrier posts, the retractable belts don’t get tangled. This makes the posts that much easier to store.

The pandemic has irreversibly altered a few aspects of our daily lives. Going forward, hygiene and safety will be top expectations of customers even in non-food related stores. These barrier posts are much easier to wipe down and sanitise at regular intervals that cloth ropes.

In light of the recent pandemic, effective customer flow management plays a crucial role in reducing contact between customers and ensuring adequate social distancing within your establishment. Improper management of customer flow can discourage potential customers from visiting and dissuade existing customers from returning. This can further impact your profits and negatively affect your staff’s productivity.

Despite the similarities retail stores share, every establishment sees some unique trends. To understand what works best for your retail store, study customer activity. Making decisions based on data that you collect will prove to be very effective.

Mills Display anticipates your requirements

Mills Display has amassed a comprehensive inventory of over 3000 products that can help you raise the bar for retail presentation by several notches. You can reach out to us for anything from product presentation to visual communication requirements.

Mills Display is a Kiwi owned enterprise and our local knowledge helps us to help you choose the right products for your retail needs.

We have short lead time roll outs for a whole range of products to sweeten the deal. Our experienced team works hard to assess your retail needs and set you up with products that will translate to a better customer experience. Contact us today to discuss what you need- by phone on +64 9 634 5962, email us at, or visit our display room at 327A Neilson Street, Penrose, Auckland.

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The Perfect Solution for Hygienic Food Ticketing

According to the WHO, there are over 200 diseases that are foodborne. These could occur at any stage of the food production and consumption chain. This is why it is vitally important for retailers to take food safety seriously.

These days, customers are more mindful than ever before of food safety. A strong commitment to hygiene could be all that you need to set yourself apart from the competition.

Why is it important to maintain hygiene in food ticketing?

Food ticketing is an important part of your fresh food displays. Research indicates that customers are more likely to buy products when the information and price of the product is displayed clearly.

Traditionally, this information is written out by hand. Some retailers try to laminate labels so they last longer. But there are still multiple issues associated with this method, including illegible writing and unprofessional script that takes away from the appeal of your display. These also lower hygiene standards and do not last well in cold or moist conditions.

Signs written by hand can’t be easily cleaned and can attract a host of germs. When they are washed, they retain moisture which provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mould. With this, you risk the outbreak of a food borne illness that will damage your business and reputation. Outbreaks of foodborne illnesses happen more often than you think, so it’s important to stick to strict standards at all times.

Edikio printers now offer you the ideal solution to all these problems. This cleverly designed system provides you with all you need to produce professional and hygienic labels.

Printable food ticketing cards

An Edikio printer is a compact machine that can print out cards with all the necessary details about your produce or fresh food. The software is standard and easy to use. You can also customise your prints and have the cards ready in seconds.

Food contact compliant signage

The food tickets for Edikio are credit-card sized, PVC signage that is food contact compliant. These cards are simple to clean and dry as their design is free of any joins or texture. Since you can clean them regularly, you can reuse them without fear of breeding germs in your display. These cards are also resistant to cold conditions and moisture so they can be placed in delis or the frozen food section without having to worry about their durability.

The food safe cards come in three sizes:

Food labelling compliant display

There are certain details that need to be mandatorily showcased on food ticketing, such as allergens, country of origin and nutritional information. These cards are prepared with this in mind and can hold all the information you need displayed. The clear print ensures that customers can easily read them. Any time that the price or other details of your produce changes, it is simple to update the tag by just printing a new card in seconds.

Versatile cards to strengthen branding across departments

With the ability to customise these cards, you can ensure a standard print throughout all your departments. Not only will this reinforce your branding, but it complements fresh produce and ingredients beautifully. Rather than look like signage at a run-of-the-mill supermarket, these cards lend an air of sophistication to your display.  Whether it’s for freshly baked goods, deli salads, frozen fish, meats or fresh produce, these cards give customers all the information they need in neat, crisp print.

Edikio printers are compact and don’t take up much room in your store. Its only consumables are ribbon and cards to print on. This one product gives you the ultimate solution to hygienic food ticketing in a cost-effective package.

Specialists in retail needs

A New Zealand owned and operated business, Mills Display uses their local knowledge to your advantage. By understanding local customer needs and concerns, we are able to outfit your retail shop with functional products that improve customer experience.

We are specialists in retail display needs and product presentation with a diverse inventory of over 3000 products to suit nearly every situation and department. Our products are on-trend and current so you can choose from the best to impress your customers, increase your sales, and improve functionality of your store.

To ensure that you find exactly what you are looking for, we have an experienced team that has thorough knowledge on all our products. They can suggest solutions that suit your business set up and ensure that your store is fitted with just what you need.

Our core areas of expertise include retail safety equipment, ticketing and promotional display accessories, display hooks and shelf management accessories, food and produce displays along with food handling equipment. Contact us to discuss what you need—we are happy to help find the perfect solution.

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Security tags for shopping baskets; stop them walking out the front door

As a result of plastic bags being phased out, supermarkets are facing an unexpected consequence – missing shopping baskets. Customers often carry their groceries home in these baskets, forcing retailers to spend time and money on replacing their supply.

Having to frequently replace shopping baskets is an avoidable expense that continues to eat away at profits. But there is a cost-effective answer to your baskets growing legs. Security tags are becoming a popular measure to prevent handheld shopping baskets from leaving the premises.

What are security tags?

Security tags are a form of Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS). They are small devices that can be attached to existing baskets, and when a customer takes them through the security gates, the alarms go off. This gives retail owners and managers an elegant solution to an unexpected problem. These tags are a discreet and effective method of keeping your baskets in your store.

A simple solution to shopping basket theft

Security tags are often used by retail stores to keep theft prone products safe from shoplifting. Extending this security measure to shopping baskets doesn’t take that much extra effort. The tags are easy to procure and often, their presence alone is sufficient to deter thefts.

All you need is to attach the lanyards and ensure your security gates are running, and your baskets will stay in store, a considerable cost saving.

Strong, simple design

In this lanyard security tag design, the lanyard and the tag are together so you don’t have to worry about purchasing them separately. These tags are secured with a three-ball lock (super strength) system and are available with an AM or RF frequency (AM -58kHz and RF -8.2 MH). The antennae to receive the signals are placed at the doors so you can be alerted when they cross the boundary.

Easy to operate

The one-piece design makes tagging so much easier and less time consuming. One end of the lanyard is fixed into the hard tag while the other end has a pin which is inserted into the tag and then locked. This sits securely on your shopping basket just as it would with any other product. It’s a task that takes seconds to do, and your entire basket stock can be protected in hours.

A cost effective investment

Investing in these tags can save you plenty of time and effort. These tags are durable but if they are damaged it is cheaper and more cost effective to replace the tag than to keep buying new shopping baskets.

Difficult to bypass

Without the right tools, it is extremely difficult to remove these hard tags. Customers will find it much easier to return the baskets rather than attempt to remove the tags. Happily, the managers at your stores will find it easy to fix in and remove the tags with the right equipment.

Every retailer is dealing with the issue of lost shopping baskets in their own way. Some have implemented a system where instead of offering plastic bags, they pack the shopping in paper bags and charge the customer for it. The only issue with this is that customers can refuse the charge as well as the bag. Others have staff members standing at the doors, to pick up baskets before customers leave the store.

The advantage of the security tag solution is that it puts the onus on the customer to return the basket. It is also more economical than having your staff use hours of their shift just to keep baskets in the store. Like most security systems, just the sight of it is sufficient to dissuade thefts.

Mills Display also has 20 and 26L shopping baskets in stock

If you do need a top-up of baskets, we have a full range of options. Our sturdy, recycled plastic baskets come in a range of colours, reinforced rims and base and comfortable double plastic handles.

20L shopping baskets in black, green, blue, red, dark green, orange and yellow

26L shopping baskets in black, green, blue and red

A one-stop solution for all your retail needs

Mills Display has everything you need for your retail set up. We are a Kiwi owned enterprise and our inventory is over 3000-product strong. Our range is diverse and includes both classic pieces and current, on-trend products so you can be sure that you have the best collection to choose from. We keep up with the latest developments in the sector so we are always ready to deal with new problems that you may be facing (such as walking baskets).

Our core areas of expertise include promotional display accessories, ticketing and pricing, retail safety equipment, food & produce displays, display hooks, shelf management equipment, and general literature displays (among others).

Our experienced team are happy to help you navigate our inventory and ensure that you go home with products that are best suited to your business. With a huge range of products in stock and ready to ship today, contact us to discuss what you want – we look forward to hearing from you.

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