Palmer Retail Solutions Blog

How the Psychology of Store Layout Impacts Customers

Posted by Kathy Heil on Jan 11, 2019 11:21:12 AM

psychology of store layout

We know that color and music have a big impact on our shoppers, but what about store layout? Does your store layout really influence your customers? It does — in both positive and negative ways! Understanding the psychology of store layouts will not only attract more shoppers through your door, but it will also give them a memorable shopping experience and plenty of opportunities to pick up impulse items.

So, how exactly does your store layout impact customers?

  1. Everyone wants to know “the rest of the story.” Use window displays to capture attention and tease with just a taste of what’s inside.
  2. Cluttered entrances overwhelm customers because it’s impossible to focus on anything. When our eyes cannot “land,” we feel uncomfortable instead of intrigued. That’s not the first impression you want to make or the vision you want to stick in customers’ minds. So, keep your entryway clear. This also gives customers a chance to get their bearings and mentally transition from the outside world to your interior vibe.
  3. Perceived lack of personal space can send shoppers packing. We call this the “butt-brush effect.” Whatever layout you choose for your store, be sure the aisles are wide enough for comfortable browsing.
  4. Studies show 90% of Americans automatically turn right when entering a store, so reward that natural inclination by displaying some must-have merchandise immediately to the right. The right-hand wall that shoppers see first is a high-power location, too.
  5. Research shows that a typical customer sees only 40% of the merchandise you display. Many are on a mission, or their mind is elsewhere, and they simply won’t slow down and browse unless you give them reasons to do that. One way to arrest their attention is to break up long aisles into shorter sections so there are more slowing and stopping points.
  6. Newness attracts shoppers, too — to specific displays and items, but also to your store. When they know they’ll find something new with every visit, they will keep returning. This is why it’s so important to rotate displays often.
  7. Thanks to their obvious visibility, end caps have tremendous stopping power. They seem more important to customers. So, never allow an aisle to simply stop, use the end to display featured products or impulse items. End caps can also subconsciously lead customers around the corner to the next aisle.
  8. Customers crave convenience. Everyone’s in a hurry these days. The ideal store layout feeds their desire for efficient navigation while allowing you to show off your merchandise. There are three basic patterns — a grid with straight aisles, a loop with diagonal aisles, or a more free-flowing pattern. Create a floor plan that is convenient, but not so efficient that shoppers miss all you have to offer. (The rest of these tips will help with that.)
  9. When it comes to each customer’s in-store journey, your cash wrap provides the big finish. The psychology of store layouts affects your cash wrap in two ways. First, customers already made the decision to spend money, so they’re prime targets for last-minute impulse items. That makes your cash wrap an excellent sales space.
    Second, make sure the counter is roomy enough to accommodate your customer’s purchases. If her selections over-crowd the space, it could subtly suggest that she over-shopped, causing her to leave some items behind.

Understanding what drives customer shopping behaviors will help you design a store layout that invites exploration. It will also help you create an overall ambiance and tempting merchandise displays that reward customers with an exceptional shopping experience.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Retail Experience

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