Interior Traffic and Design Plans to Increase Sales
A customer can’t buy it if they can’t find it or don’t even know you have it.
Create a path that (almost) takes the customer by the hand and leads them. IKEA is obvious with big directional floor arrows and meandering paths.
You will find links to merchandising tips and 4 standard retail store layouts below but for now, we are concentrating on increasing sales and how humans move through a space.
Paco Underhill founded Envirosell, a marketing company that placed cameras in stores and tracked customer behaviour. The information garnered has allowed retailers to design traffic flow with their customer in mind and maximize floor space to increase sales. We will incorporate many of Mr. Underhill’s findings below.
Create a Transition Zone:
Ensure a customer ‘transitions’ from outside to inside: a welcome mat, change of flooring, bell that jingles, a bird that says hello – anything that breaks up ‘out’ from ‘in’. Big Box retailers use double doors to slow down and acclimate customers: ‘Sally’ comes in first door, takes a few steps, pushes sunglasses up on her head, eyes adjust to lighting, keys drop into her purse, she slows down by the time she enters through second door and now exhales and thinks, ‘Okay, what do I need?’ She’s in.
The tips below are helpful for small retail shops. Watch your customers, who they shop with, how they move around the store, where they hang out, what they touch and adjust accordingly.
85% of shoppers go right after entering a store, so display your hottest inventory to the right of the entrance; shoppers will take a counter-clockwise route. You want them to see your entire store, but shoppers left to their own devices tend to cut corners.
The back right corner of the store is known as the ‘dead zone’. Change the colour of the back wall, change flooring, put a video screen up, add music/lighting, use signage to signal ‘Clearance’ pricing – all intriguing bold changes that will pull customers back because they sense something is different there.
You can also use the ‘dead zone’ as a service area – change rooms, mirrors, a children’s play area, guest seats, magazines, photo wall, community board, flyer stand or washrooms.
IKEA’s floor plan below shows each floor and how they move customers to the right, with their most sought-after department in the back right corner (kitchens). They put up regular ‘road blocks’/half walls to keep people focused in the zone they are in, to create a sense of adventure around every corner and to slow shoppers down. They keep large yellow store bags in every zone as they’ve strategically placed impulse purchases in bins along the path—you never want someone to abandon a purchase because of their human limitations on how much they can carry.
The next time you are at the grocery store, notice the layout. The produce is to the right and meat is along back wall with the dairy case. Long aisles lead you to the back, because everyone runs in for milk from time to time; once you pass those deals on the shelves, well, you just have to get the cookies on sale and the coffee, spaghetti sauce, etc. Place popular items in the back!
Tell people where things are. Chalkboards or picture frames are easy, inexpensive ways of changing signs. “Gluten free breads along back wall”, “1/2 price accessories in front baskets” or “Party supplies in blue zone”. You need to ‘push’ traffic.
Use colours, numbers, changes in flooring and merchandising styles to break up store into zones to create movement and intrigue. I’m a fan of product adjacencies: the birthday candles next to the cakes, the bug spray next to the camping gear. You can also create zones and use signs to push traffic and exposure shoppers to other zones of the store, ie. “Find Bug Spray on Must-Have Wall”).
Stairs on top of the peg board make you move forward; product matches the coloured zones, deadzone is bright with change room and stands out from store, lots of space to move (customer will likely have a stroller or young kids), interactive area with rocking toys and fun seating, rounded corners on shelves for safety, flooring leads to the back.
Don’t be afraid to move products around until you find the sweet spot. Keep a book at your cash to track how your customers are travelling through your business.
Systems to track dwell time and foot traffic: https://iot.telus.com/en/business/on/product/detail/retail-store-traffic-pattern-analysis-and-security
Grid, herringbone, racetrack and free-flow layouts:
If you missed Part 1 or 2 in the Retail Customer Appeal series, find them here:
Questions? [email protected]