Friday, March 09, 2012

Retail store layout - change and frustrate

Marvellous. Fantastic. Terrific.
I thought I was in a minority of one, as somebody who gets frustrated at the waste of time when the supermarket I shop at decides that for my benefit it is going to change the layout. I muse to myself that some silly sod in their HQ has latched onto the latest theory of retail layout and is thinks that by putting the milk where the dishwasher tablets once were it is going to make my life easier.

Of course I know that that changing the layout is really done to keep customers in the store longer on the expectation that they might spend more money . Well some research seems to confirm that I am not alone.

According to Aldata, a provider of retail and distribution improvement software, a third of shoppers are spending 20% longer in store when retailers change their layouts. Data from surveying a 1,000 shoppers, showed that adjustments within store layouts and placement of products have overtaken “out of stocks” and “empty shelves” as a key frustration factor.

A third (36%) of people over the age of 55 spend at least an extra ten minutes in supermarkets, frustrated by changed layouts.

Despite retailers aiming to give customers a better shopping experience, when they readjust their layouts, Aldata believes that the perception from loyal customers is that their time spent in store has become unnecessarily confusing.

Aldata's Head of Global Customer Support said: “The over 50s value convenience over cost and by making store layout changes where they see no perceived benefit, retailers are in fact risking their long term loyalty to the store.”

According to the research, 62% of shoppers don’t believe that changing layouts in store is for their benefit, but is instead a ploy by retailers to keep them in the store longer directing them to new or expensive product lines, helping the retailer boost sales.

The research also revealed that younger shoppers are more understanding, with most respondents having a balanced view on who benefits from shifts in store layouts. Almost half (47%) of respondents between the ages of 35-54, however, found it to be the most distressing part of their shopping experience, compared with just over a quarter (25%) of those aged 18-24.

Well the fact that young people aren't so perturbed by the changes isn't hard to understand since the average value of their shopping trolley will be about a third of the older age cohort.

Wake up retailers. You now have evidence that should curb your inclination to keep "improving the shopping experience of your loyal customers". Dick Stroud

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