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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 24-Feb-12

 


Friday 24-February-12

Store designs that work

I read a great little book some years ago, called 'Why We Buy' by Paco Underhill. Underhill seems to have pretty much single-handedly pioneered store design through how studying customers behave.

An example is how, when people enter a store from the street or a parking lot, they often do so at speed. This results in a 'deceleration zone' as they enter the store, during which they are not really paying attention to what is around them. If the store owner has put any 'special offer' bins by the door then the customer is not likely to notice them. They are also unlikely to read any posters on or around the door.

What is amazing, years after this book was published and gained notoriety, is that so many stores ignore this and other sage advice. Too often, their key metric is how many products they can squeeze into a small area. An effect of this is what Underhill calls the 'brush-butt' effect, where people are uncomfortable if others brush against them (particularly women) and so will not tarry in narrow aisles.

One of the best designs I have seen was in a store where the aisles were laid out in a 'herringbone' style, so you could see what was down them as you walked along the main spine walkway. Other layout also showed they had been thinking and studying hard.

The potential for closely observing your customers is huge. If you are in retail or any business, then this should be a non-stop activity and should be linked to constant experimentation.


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