Store layout analysis examines the particular reasons why items in a store are located in the places they are found. When a store is being planned, careful consideration is given to product location. Some might say this is performed for the benefit of the customer. If the pasta sauce is not next to the noodles, it is terribly inconvenient. Others maintain that stores use basic psychology to entice consumers to spend more money.
When a supermarket's layout is initially generated, aisles are established which contain similar products. Pasta and pasta sauce, for example, are generally found in the same aisle. This certainly makes shopping easier for the consumer, but there is also a distinct benefit to the store. If a consumer enters the market intent upon purchasing a jar of pasta sauce, he might realise the need to buy some more pasta, too.
Clothing chains use the same technique. Certain stores, especially those offering women's fashion, will have shirts and trousers located close to each other. The store's intention is to have a consumer who is looking to purchase a shirt notice how well it matches a pair of trousers. As simple as that, the store has doubled the amount of items sold.
In many supermarkets, food is baked throughout the course of the day. The smells of doughnuts and bread in the morning or baked chicken in the evening help to make customers feel hungry while they are in the store. Hungry customers are prone to purchasing more food in an average trip to the grocery store than a customer who is not. Stores are more than willing to fan the flames of hunger by providing hunger-inducing smells, especially if they can do so close to the entrance.
Products on the Shelves
Beyond the layout of the entire store, there is a method to a layout of the products on the actual shelves. The items with high profit margins, and usually a higher price tag, are specifically placed at, or close to, an average shopper's eye-level. The less profitable brands are generally located at the top shelves or the bottom. A store's rationale for doing so is to capture your eye and draw you into buying the higher priced items.
Supermarkets realise that some products are more frequently purchased than others. These "essentials" are often placed in the back of the store, so customers will have to walk past, and be tempted by, all the other products in the store. As such, milk, bread and eggs usually find their home towards the back of the store.
In a similar manner, clothing stores often have their changing rooms located towards the back. By doing this, a customer might happen to notice and pick up a couple more items on the way to try on the pair of jeans initially intended for purchase. The basic theory is that the more a customer is in the store, the more he will buy. By placing items or changing rooms in the back, it increases the amount of time spent in the store.
If one is looking to purchase only a chocolate bar or pack of gum, they needn't go much further than beyond a store's checkout. Of course, very few people go to the grocery store for only candy and gum. People shop at the supermarket for the essentials. But these items are placed right by the checkout because there will be lines and, as consumers wait, they will see the candy and might feel the impulse to buy some. By having these particular products in this location, a store is able to generate even more revenue.