You might also like…a new category to shop from

September 4, 2014By Assortment Planning and Placement, Behind the Shelf Blog

By Jenny Kosek

How many engagement zones are in your store? ran this thought provoking article about the revolution currently underway in store layout and merchandising strategy.

From the article:

In the past, stores were designed with departments and aisles to influence shopper behavior with an eye toward encouraging shoppers to view as many products as possible and add more items to their baskets.

However, increasingly retailers are looking at eliminating departments and creating more open retail spaces populated with thematic zones.

Blame the Internet. Think about how online shopping sites encourage shoppers to buy more items. If you just ordered cough syrup, the website does not suggest you also buy…more cough syrup. It will suggest you buy lozenges, or a thermometer, or a humidifier. And more often than not, you will (who besides me has racked up a larger Amazon charge than they’d planned as the site continues to suggest items you might also, and in fact do, like?).

This is the new way of shopping, and retailers have been slow to understand how to make it work in the brick-and-mortar landscape. Shoppers have grown impatient with being asked to traverse a store to collect the items they need by category and are embracing retailers who display the items shoppers want by groups or themes. This approach not only saves shoppers time, but increases sales for retailers.

It’s the Amazon effect: if our shopper is once again seeking cough syrup and is faced with a wall of only cough syrups, she will be more inclined to place the single item she needs in her basket and be on her way. Imagine instead if that cough syrup were positioned next to lip balms, facial tissues, lozenges, and perhaps even teas or prepared soups. She would find herself in the “Cold Recovery” section, and be more motivated to fill her basket with multiple items.

In the women’s athletic wear section of one of our nearby mass stores, yoga mats, workout DVDs, and handweights were displayed on the same table as fitness apparel. So, mass is getting the message – can independents keep up?

Don’t be afraid to break the category mold. Start with a creative endcap, and if you notice an uptick in incremental sales, expand the experiment to include other areas of your store.



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