Flooring The Consumer on Simple Marketing Now

Please visit Flooring The Consumer's new home on SimpleMarketingNow.com where you can subscribe to receive updates to blog articles in real time!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Kizer & Bender - First Impressions: The Art of Store Layout & Design

Surfaces 2008 featured a workshop titled First Impressions: The Art of Store Layout & Design by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender.

Not only did the session address my favorite topic - the retail experience - but it also included a walking tour of 3 Las Vegas locations: New York, New York, the Mandalay Place - a skybridge between the Luxor and the Mandalay Bay - and Caesar's Forum Shops.

Before we set off, Kizer and Bender offered advice:

Retailing should always be viewed in terms of the shopper's perception of your environment and retail experience. Consider becoming your own customer and walking in her shoes. For example, think how Disney creates and controls guests' perceptions of the experience.

A customer's first perception begins in the parking lot. You own the parking lot! Is it easily accessible? Do employees take the best parking spot? Is it clean, well lit? How comfortable would a woman be walking your parking lot after dark?

Does the front of your store make sense? Is it distinctive? Can you tell what it sells? Does the exterior need attention? Can you add shrubs, etc?

Have you positioned exterior signs for best visibility from different directions? [Did you know that blue is hard to see? It looks fuzzy unless you outline it in white.] Signs must be readable in 3 seconds or less. Otherwise, they are useless.

Walk inside your store: what impression does it offer? Those first 10 seconds determine how your customer will feel for rest of the visit. Do all of the design concept components work together in harmony to tell a story? Does it look fun and easy to shop?

The decompression zone takes up the first 5 to 15 square feet of the store. Don't try to do too much in that space other than refocus the customer.
+ where ever customers look, they should immediately be drawn to something intriguing
+ 90% of shoppers will go to right as they enter. Therefore the right front wall should be the power wall, featuring new, seasonal, hi demand, hi profit items.
+ locate the service counter in the center or to the left, but not to the front right.
+ pay attention to what is visible at eye level.
+ use a speed bump or display/fixture to slow customers down and showcase new products or colors

[I found this delicious Malcolm Gladwell article from an 11/04/1006 New Yorker article titled "The Science of Shopping. The American shopper has never been so fickle.What are stores, including the new flagship designer boutiques, doing about it? Applying science." re: Paco Underhill, the original retail anthropologist.]

Kizer and Bender mentioned two ways to set up a store:
+ the Free Flow Layout [often seen in upscale stores and boutiques]
+ The "V and the Vista" [form a 45 degree angle with your arms. That represents the most important wall of the store. Everything inside the V needs to be focused on.]

[Note: About.com describes these different types of store layouts.]

Look fresh!
+ Completely makeover your store every 3 to 5 years. At the very least, paint the walls. Their store decor rule: use neutral colors for 80% of your store, and limit an accent to 20%.
+ Re-merchandise your sales floor at least once per quarter.
+ Change your window displays frequently. Windows are the eyes of a store. How attractive are they? Are there any dead flies? List your phone number and website address on the windows in large white reflective letters.
+ Update your speed bump displays every week.
+ Check for burnt out lights every day.

Store lighting matters! It sets the mood, focuses attention on product or communicates store function.

Music in-store encourages shoppers to spend 18% more time in-store, leading to a 17% increase in purchases [per Muzak]. Also, your store seems friendlier and waits seem shorter. Play softer/slower music when you first open in the morning than later on when store traffic increases.

Appealing to the senses: consider using sensory merchandising to draw people into and through your store. The right scents can relax, engage shoppers in your store and make them more likely to buy. Scentair.com features interesting examples and case studies.

What about older people? America is ageing. This represents a significant retail driver. Think through how comfortable a consumer suffering from arthritis, or wearing bifocals or reading glasses will be shopping your store. Did you know that at 60, we need three times more light to see than we did when we were 23 years old?

The tour itself was both fascinating and overwhelming, each stop worthy of its own post [e.g., FAO Schwartz]. What stood out, as Kizer & Bender suggested, was the variety of speed bumps we encountered.

New York, New York we visited for the consistency and breadth of the branding examples [from manhole covers, to the carpet patterns, to the cobblestone streets.] The resort even features, outside, a 9/11 twin towers memorial and embodies the essence of this quote from Adrienne Weiss: a brand is "a country, complete with its own language, rituals, culture and customs." Everything within your store must go through your cultural filters.

Did you know that the Forum Shops represent the highest grossing mall in the world? Fascinating [also frustrating if you are tired] to experience the paths [including dead ends] you have no choice but to take through the mall.

Do ask yourself what kind of impressions does your store offer? What about your speed bump. Does it stop them in their tracks?

What are you waiting for?

In addition to the Gladwell article mentioned above, consider reading this Display & Merchandising Guide from George Little Management. It offers descriptions, sketches and resources to put store merchandising into perspective.

Check out, too, this PowerPoint from the University of West Georgia on Store Layout and Design. It includes a section on Free Flow Layout with a Disney example, a visual of the 45 degree sight line, and many visual merchandising examples.

Technorati Tags: Del.icio.us Tags:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Reminder: Please, no self-promotional or SPAM comments. Don't bother if you're simply trying to build inauthentic link juice. Finally, don't be anonymous: it's too hard to have a conversation. Thanks, CB

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...