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Customer Paths and Retail Store Layout — Part 1

Customer Paths and Retail Store Layout — Part 1


The retail experience is being revolutionized by digital technology and physical stores are catching up to their e-commerce counterparts. Using services like digital WiFi marketing platforms and location analytics helps revolutionize the physical shopping experience by understanding their customers and tailoring marketing to their preferences.

Creating customer paths in a retail or department store is still one of the most important decisions that a retailer can make. Creating a layout that will entice shoppers into the retail store and engage them is key. In this series, we’ll go over how to create a layout for retail and then how new technologies can help refine it.

Customer Paths

A customer path is simply the path a customer takes through a department store or any other physical retail environment. A well designed layout for a store will effortlessly guide a customer through a journey in the retail store. This will not only make the visit pleasant for the customer but also create incentives for them to purchase more items.

The store’s look and feel is a primary motivator in influencing how much a customer spends and increases revenue. How the store is laid out will set the foundation for this based on years and years of customer psychology research.

There are quite a few different kinds of layouts, which we’ll explore in a later part of this series, but all of them have the same two principles in common. The decompression zone and the right hand turn.

Decompression Zone

A good layout will have an open space of about 5 to 15 feet from the entrance of the retail store. This is where a customer will transition into the new environment of your store and give them a chance to adjust to the new visual and audio of their surroundings.

The first place a customer enters the store sounds like a great place to market to them— but beware. When designing your layout you should avoid placing any signage, branding, or high-margin merchandise. Give your customers a chance to breathe and familiarize themselves.

The Right Hand Turn

While the entrance isn’t the best place for valuable merchandise, the next zone just past the decompression zone is. Studies have shown that around 90 percent of customers will enter a store and then look right. This area becomes one of the key places to promote your best products and is usually known as the Power Wall.

The Power Wall should prominently display your best products as well as any information you would like your customers to know. Anything that you think is the most important for your branding and selling should be located here.

Now that your customers have taken the first steps into your retail or department store, what comes next? Part two will dive into where your customers are likely to go from here and some common layouts you can choose from.

Part Two >

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