Ecommerce stores keep changing their website content and designs time to time in order to look fresh, attract google ranking and to increase customer engagement. How about if we do the same in case of physical retail shops and malls?
Let’s discuss the impact of layout changes based on my recent visit to a near by mall.
I usually visit a near by Retail store (A super market actually) for mundane shopping. The shopping area is impressively big in size. During my visit to the store today I noticed a change in the store layout, the second time in the last one month. The latest one is not as major as the one I had observed earlier. After many years of operation, changes and maintenance the shop layout had turned very ugly and cluttered. The shopping experience was even awful in certain segments. Then came the layout update and it was surprisingly pleasant. Products and the store size has remained the same but clearly, now it is much more organized and easy to navigate. There are enough empty aisles and ample space to move around.
The one I have seen today was not an overhaul but just a change of place of few categories from one place to other. I have already lauded the first change as a consumer but the second change provoked me to think. Was it really necessary? What are the advantages and disadvantages of carrying out a layout change? What are the basic tips to update your retail store layout? Let’s try to find answers here.
Should you change layout?
As we all know, ‘stagnant water stinks’. Likewise unchanged layout spoils the look. A change, if done well always catches consumer’s attention. So, when you plan to change the layouts, you will have to consider two consumer categories.
- Frequently visiting customers
- First time or not so frequently visiting customers
Impact on customers
Change is very important for type 1 compared to 2. When they see staples or baby food at the place they have been picking shampoo and soaps for past few months, it will definitely make either a positive or negative impact.
- Frequent changes may annoy the customers, as a revised layout makes them spend more time in their buying process.
- If a visitor can not locate a product, it may result in the loss of sale.
- Change if not done well, may turn into customer backlash.
- Change if done well will give them a pleasant experience and there are very high chances that the consumer will spend more time at the store during their first visit after the change.
- It may also make them notice the new products at the old place and may increase the chances of buying them.
- Also looking for their desired products will make them crawl around the mall which may result in additional buying as well.
- A positive impact will make them come again into the store frequently and they will spread the word about their pleasant experience at the store.
- For a store, a major overhaul gives a great chance to make the environment clean and dust free.
How should you plan your layout change.
After understanding the advantages and disadvantages of layout changes, let’s have a look on some important tips to do it right.
- Change is good but should not be too frequent. Depending on the size of the store and footfall you receive you need to do major layout changes yearly or may be in 2 years. This can be supported by quarterly or biquarterly minor updates.
- Take data driven decisions. Take customer feedbacks with various online and offline methods. Notice their movement and expressions inside the store. Have a watch on your sales figures and compare them with the past. You can also use robotics and beacon technology for smart analytics.
- You might mistakes while reshuffling. Just learn to correct them without much delay.
- Everyone likes a fresh look, but not everyday. So don’t make even minor changes daily or too frequently.
- Train your store staff to help buyers in finding the products after the reshuffle. That will minimize the negative impact specially amongst your regular customers who are habituated to the older structure.
So next time when you plan for a change in layout of your mall or store, follow these basics. What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments below, we would like to know.