A Customer’s Journey to the Shop Counter

If you’re in the retail business, your shop counter serves as the culmination of all your efforts to entice your customers to purchase your products. The design and positioning of your shop counter is vital. It not only affects the entire layout design of your store, but more importantly; it plays a major role in the first and lasting impression a customer forms about your store.  Given its important role in generating new sales and improving customer retention, it’s no wonder retailers across the country are investing in shop counters that are professionally designed and built.

shop counter journey

Based on our experience with hundreds of retailers all over Australia, here are some of the important things to keep in mind when designing your shop counter.

Location: The Perfect Spot for Your Shop Counter

When designing your retail space and looking for the best position for your shop counter, think of your store as being divided into separate sections, with some parts being more important than others.

One of the hardest sections to design is the threshold, which is the first few feet of space in your store. This part is called the decompression zone, which gives customers a chance to transition from the outside environment into your store.

If you have done any research on retail store layouts, you’ll know that the front right area of your store is a prime location. However, it is not an ideal location for a shop counter. Rather, use this lucrative area to generate more sales by placing your best products on display.

The customer is in the store, now where do they go?

You want to take your customer on a journey, which is why you’ll never see a shop counter at the entrance of a store – in the threshold area – or to the right after immediately entering a store. Use strategically placed displays to showcase items and create a pathway around the store which of course, leads them to the shop counter.

Here at Xtreme Shopfitting & Joinery, the location we find best for a shop counter varies from client to client, but generally speaking, I find the left side of the store – preferably near the front entrance – to be favourable. Take a second to visualise a couple of your favourite stores – where are their shop counters positioned?

Design: What Makes the Best Shop Counter?

Your shop counter is not just the place where your customers pay for their purchases. As the last stop your customer’s journey, it signifies your last chance to leave a positive lasting impression, so we suggest you make it count.

At Xtreme Shopfitting & Joinery, we suggest three different strategies to help make your shop counter effective, attractive and memorable for your customers.

  1. It should be inviting and comfortable. Make sure your customers feel comfortable when they walk up to the counter to pay. What this means is giving them ample space for their purchases as well as their personal belongings, such as a handbag.
  2. Take advantage of point-of-purchase displays. Encourage your customers to keep on shopping even as they wait for their transaction to be completed. There are two ways to do this. First, set up an attractive display behind the counter, and second, display items on the counter itself. Think of basic need products that your customers often forget or don’t bother shopping around for. Doing so will get them to make some unexpected impulse purchases, which can help increase your sales.
  3. Have your shop counter custom-designed. Make sure your shop counter is designed in a way that compliments and supports your branding scheme and your store’s interior design. Planning the overall look of your shop counter is very important, but it can also be challenging. There are a lot of things to consider, such as deciding what colours to use, which materials will work best and how big and how high the counter should be.

At Xtreme Shopfitting & Joinery, we custom design and build shop counters and complete retail fit outs for retailers across Australia. In doing so, we always take into consideration your branding scheme, so that the counter will be consistent with the store’s look and feel.


Your shop counter is a very important element in your store. In fact, the goal of retail store layout is to take customers on a journey, which ends as they make a purchase at your shop counter. To achieve this, position your counter correctly, display point-of-purchase products close by and have your shop counter custom designed to match the rest of your store’s look and feel.

If you need more information or advice on creating the best shop counter, give us a call today at Xtreme Shopfitting and Joinery, and we’ll give you a free quote.

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Ingrid Latham

About Ingrid Latham

Ingrid Latham is co-owner of Xtreme Shopfitting and Joinery and has been associated with the shopfitting industry for over 15 years. She has a vast array of knowledge when it comes to promoting a store and increasing foot traffic. Follow her on Google+ or