Ever go shopping and spend way more time in the store than you intended? Or have you bought more than you intended? You go in looking for a piece of furniture, you look at your watch and discover you’ve been in the store for 90 minutes. This is called dwell time, and national chains do a fantastic job of organizing their stores to increase it.
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
As with yesterday’s tip, in the spirit of becoming a source of business intelligence and a resource to your local clients who may not be aware of these concepts, we found an article in Entrepreneur Magazine where experts shared: 7 Layout Secrets of the Big Retail Chains:
1. Take Advantage of Your Window Space
If you’re not using your windows to create captivating displays, you’re losing out on a great opportunity. “Just like your eyes are the windows of your store, windows are the eyes of the store,” says store design and display consultant Linda Cahan of Cahan & Co. “Each window should tell a story.”
2. Your First Impression Should be Nothing Short of Dazzling
An eye-catching display should be the first thing your customers see when they enter your store. You want to slow them up to prevent them from hurrying through your store and buying little.
3. Direct Store Traffic to the Right
Studies have shown that most people naturally look left, then right, as they enter a store, according to retail branding firm Ikonic Tonic. Typically, shoppers then prefer to move right and circle around the store counterclockwise.
4. Create a Destination at the Back of Your Store
Do you have compelling displays at the end of your aisles? You’re wasting space if your aisles lead customers to, well, nothing—like the back wall, a stockroom or restrooms.
5. Change Up Your Aisles
Aisles laid out parallel to the store’s exterior walls is efficient, but you can create more visual interest by placing them at an angle. For example, you could angle aisles in, from both sides to a central aisle, forming an arrow layout that ends in a back-wall display. Keep in mind, though, that this layout will only work if you keep aisles wide enough for easy navigation.
6. Create Stopping Points
According to one retail expert, when studying shopping patterns with clients, it was discovered that up to 20% of the store’s merchandise is skipped over. Why? Because long, uninterrupted aisles don’t really grab people’s attention.
7. Don’t Forget to Include Some U-Shaped Spaces
Interestingly, people seem to be attracted to round and U-shapes. Get shoppers to stop at displays in your store by hanging a circular sign from the ceiling or creating a U-shaped background (a low wall with small sides extending forward). A U-shaped layout encourages people to enter the space, which is reminiscent of a person extending their arms for a hug.
Helping your local retailers implement these secrets from the mass retailers can help to make their stores more inviting, increase dwell time, and ultimately improve profitability. And they’ll have you to thank for it.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.