Tuesday 19 May 2015


Sometimes it’s hard for retailers to see their store through their customers’ eyes but this is vital if they want to maximise sales. Why, because ninety percent of customers will do the same thing when they enter a shop. They’ll walk in the same direction, stop in the same places, look at the same shop displays and see the same things. If you know your customers shopping habits then your store layout and merchandising plan should match.

The problem is when you’re working in the same space for a long period of time you stop seeing, you start to assume things and you’re brain uses past memory to fill in the gaps, which may not match the present.

If you’re a retailer struggling to get a fresh perspective on how you do things here’s a few things to try.

To start with if you want to see what your customers are seeing create a visual customer journey by walking up to your shop door and around your shop with a camera or mobile phone in hand, just point and click. Photographs capture a contained image so it’s much easier to see things in this restricted way. When you look at your finished journey you’ll probably be surprised at what you see and, what you don’t.

The second part of this exercise is slightly trickier because the chances are you can only do this when you’re not too busy, unless you can call in a few favours from friends. Firstly, sketch out a plan of your shop including the area outside leading to the door and take plenty of copies.

Try to record customers’ movements on your plan, mark small arrows for where they stop and where you think they’re looking and larger arrows for their travel direction. Even if your shop is tiny this will still be useful. Make sure you record the information as accurately as possible and make a note of the date and times of day. You should finish up with a few dense areas of mini arrows within the overall space.

Once you’ve evaluated your findings you should have a good idea of the important areas of your shop, hot-spot selling spaces, the best places for communicating information and the general traffic flow of your customers. The longer you do this for and the more often you do it the more accurate the final information will be and this shouldn't be a one hit wonder, it’s something to be repeated throughout the year at regular intervals.

With accurate information on how your customers shop your shop you can fine tune your shop layout, your merchandising plan and how you merchandise. Even small changes can make a difference to how much customers spend so don’t miss out…

All the best

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