When space (or lack of space!) is a factor in laying out your grocery store it’s important to learn a little bit about the psychology of customer buying behavior and then integrate that into your store design, color choices, product choice and product placement to make your most high margin items eye catching and irresistible.
As the most popular wholesale grocery distributors in the Midwest, we see a lot of c-store, gas station and grocery store retail displays and layouts. We see what works and what doesn’t. And this got us thinking about promoting some of the do’s and don’ts of POP or point of purchase marketing.
In general there are two major differences between how small business retail approaches store experience and marketing strategy: the fill-er-up method and the strategic method.
The Fill-er-up Method of In Store Marketing
The fill-er-up method describes a retail setting in which the store owner believes that if every inch of his store isn’t turning a profit then it’s going to waste. He believes that if you can shoe-horn another item or line of items into some tiny, otherwise forgotten space he must do it or else he’s bleeding profits. We’ve all seen small grocers or convenience stores like this. You walk in and are barraged by sensory overload.
One might wonder what this grocer’s inventory list must look like. And the sad truth is that the list often doesn’t exist. As much as he seems to prioritize increasing his merchandise count, just like his customers, he is often overwhelmed and not really sure of what items line his shelves.
His approach to marketing is analogous to the “shotgun” approach. Just throw it all out there and something will find its way into the customers hands.
The Visual Display Method of Store Marketing
In the restaurant industry it is said that people eat with their eyes. Visuals are an important factor in both customer experience and customer behavior. Where the fill-er-up shop owner believes that if you make everything available to the customer he or she will find something they want, the thoughtful visual display marketer knows that when the senses are overwhelmed customers tend to shut down.
Studies show that crowded shelves make customers go into “protection” mode, a behavior analogous to the fight or flight response to threats. In other words, overly crowded spaces in your store might actually be having the opposite of the desired effect on your customers.
When attention is paid to thoughtful, coordinated visual displays, customers feel relaxed, invited and even seduced to spend time and enjoy the shopping experience. They are comfortable and at ease as they move from clearly defined area to area, summoned by clear, attractive signage and displays.
Below are a few general visual marketing tips for small retail businesses. Let’s follow your customer through your store experience and watch her behavior.
The Convenience Store Entranceway
If your grocer or c-store is located in North America you might want to pay special attention to the area directly to the right once a customer has come through the door. Why right? Studies confirm over and over again that when a customer steps into your shop she is likely to look to the right and begin her counter-clockwise journey through your retail space.
Imagine your customer. What does she see when she walks in and turn right? Is she encouraged to explore with wide, clear aisles and sight lines that are inviting? Or, does she feel crowded, intimidated and uncertain as to what she might encounter if she pushes deeper into the cramped space. Consider ways your store layout might be subconsciously affecting your customers’ deep-seated fears or activating their impulses to explore and shop.
The Path To Profits
Assuming your path to the right of the entrance way is encouraging foot traffic to move forward unencumbered into other areas of the store. Pay attention to the overall “feel” of the customer journey.
With lighting there, too must be a balance. Lighting and design color palate are important factors in creating a variety of moods. Also, pay attention to whether or not your store has a “theme.” Coordinated colors, graphics and signage all signal to the customer that she is in a warm, predictable environment where she can let her guard down and enjoy hunting and gathering.
Pay attention to customer sight lines. Imagine your store as a kind of maze, but if she is able to predict the overall depth and content of the space she is more likely to explore. Are the food and beverage coolers in the back of your store visible from the front? If not, consider removing visual obstacles to pull shoppers in. Shoppers like to be able to see all the way to the back of the space.
Content is King: Stocking Desired Merchandise
Now that she’s in the door and being directed on her journey by proper aisle design, lighting, paint colors and signage, what items are our shopper encountering? It’s not simply a matter of only stocking the most profitable items, though profitability will obviously determine the direction of our choices.
If you’re in the midwest, you need only search for grocery distributors near me and you will find Four Seasons Wholesale at the top of the list. Four Seasons has an extensive list of profitable and popular c-store products that fly off the shelves of our many midwestern grocers, gas stations and convenience store clients.
Call us at: 618-234-1726 and we can help you put together a strategic plan for all of the high-profit items and their complimentary items that form the recipe for a successful and profitable convenience store or grocer.
The Checkout Experience. POP Display and Why it Works!
Point of Purchase Placement and Marketing is a concept that goes back centuries. The area near your cash register signifies a critical moment in your customer’s journey.
As she waits in line to purchase the items she has gathered from your shelves, she has time to browse with her eyes. She’s happily captivated: she doesn’t want to leave the line, but she’s also in a happy state of mind – ready to acquire the items she came for. But she’s also considering what else she might need before she leaves.
This is where Four Seasons Wholesale really shines! We excel in providing convenience stores and grocers with the last minute items such as CBD Products, sunglasses, lighters, energy products, phone accessories and more. We provide and help you set up custom displays to be placed prominently at your point of sale, cash register or customer service area display cases.
It all adds up to customer attention grabbed in real time for a last second increase in sales and profits that will satisfy her and bring her back to your store.
We look forward to being the reason she’ll return again and again, and the key to your increased profitability. To get started, just call us at: 618-234-1726