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What Is A Decompression Zone?

The purpose of this article is to provide an understanding of what a decompression zone is, why it is used in Floor Planning, and how to insert a decompression zone.

The decompression zone is an entry area of the store, the few feet of space that a customer enters when they step into your store. For example, fruit and vegetable and promotional products. It is situated 5 feet/1.5m inside the door for the smaller stores, and 15 feet/5m for larger stores.

Why Is It Used In Floor Planning?

A well-designed decompression zone should calm shoppers and help to prepare them for what lies ahead, encouraging them to focus and be more open to browsing.

A well-planned decompression zone entails the following:

  • Provides a wide, welcoming, open space, that’s free from stock and distractions.
  • Allows easy entrance into the store so that fellow customers don’t bump into each other.
  • Features lighting, flooring, textures and materials were specifically chosen to contrast with the environment outside.
  • Has one clear, strong visual display at the edge of the zone which draws the eye into the space and shop beyond. Flower and fresh produce displays, or attractive seasonal items, work well.
  • A larger store might have multiple decompression zones from one area to another.

How To Insert A Decompression Zone In A Floor Plan

Step 1: Open a new/existing Floor Plan

In the DotActiv Software, click on ‘Space Planning’ and click on ‘new’ under the Floor Planning tab.

Step 2: Using an existing Floor plan, insert the Decompression Zone

Under tools, in the ‘New section’, click on ‘Banner’. Using the banner will indicate the decompression point. You can either label the banner as a Decompression zone or label what the decompression zone will comprise. In the example below, the decompression zone is labelled as ‘Displays’ at the entrance of the store and the ‘Lighting Display’ deeper into the store. 

Note: If the client wants it indicated then you can use a banner or the highlight function (units). This will give an indication of where the most theoretical feet will be in store. This will then translate to areas with lower unit movement will potentially have fewer feet.

Updated on April 11, 2023

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