In my previous post “Leading the way!” I wrote about how strategic “attractors” can help pull the customers through space by providing a sequence of stimuli throughout the experience. Today I want to look at how care needs to be given equally to the layout of the path.
We believe that a store layout is more favorable when it allows for a customer journey without repetition.
Creating a round trip experience will keep the attraction and interest levels up. As they move through a choreographed sequence of experiences they will not realize their way through the store, unless the way is experienced backwards, even for some parts. The repeated path is usually without value for the retailer as the customer will have the impression “to already have seen it” and likely expedite their way through that area without any interest or interaction with a product.
A good example to this theory are IKEA stores. They have driven this idea to a point where it is impossible to turn back without loosing orientation. So customers are almost forced to complete the journey if they want to ever see daylight again.
IKEA store layout and customer path
The negative aspect of taking it this far is that not every customer possesses the same attention span and not being able to exit when you want can create adverse impressions and annoyance. IKEA may get some impulse sales out of a disoriented customer but the experience won’t have a positive perception. (see related article in “Daily Telegraph”) The journey should be offered, not forced.
Below is the layout plan of our store example from the previous blog – a jewelry store omni//form designed for the French brand Mauboussin in Singapore. We have mapped possible journeys from the main entrance as well as the secondary but equally important VIP drive way.
<omni//form for Mauboussin in Singapore>
customer journey mapping
red main, blue VIP
Even though the store is relatively small, it is organized to allow for a customer round trip with attractors setup along the entire journey.
Not every space configuration will necessarily allow for a comfortable round trip journey. Small retail stores very often are narrow and long. The trick is to get the customer to explore the entire space offering by setting up an attractor or a functional area at the very end of the space. When we designed retail stores for MAC Cosmetics with such conditions, we usually set up an attractor at the deep end of space .
This could be a stimulating light element, such as a large light box visual or video screen since humans tend to walk towards light in darker environments. Alternatively we would locate the cash register all the way in the back, so that we could be sure that the customer see the entire store offering before check-out.
A round trip journey can also be created by simply introducing island displays, if the space allows.
<regis pean for MAC Cosmetics in New York>
video screen at the end of the space as a far sight attractor
and island displays to encourage round trip journeys
<regis pean for MAC Cosmetics in Los Angeles>
light source and cash register at the end of space
island displays encourage non repetitive paths
<regis pean for MAC Cosmetics in Tokyo>
wall gestures and displays lead around the corner guiding customers through the space
store designs by omni//form, inc