Proper Shelf Sets Exist for a Reason

Over the past week, I have had the occasion to peruse the aisles of both a large grocery and a national home improvement store. In attempting to locate what I needed, I was lost navigating the bizarre organization of the merchandise.

Let me offer some examples. One of the items on my list was Canadian bacon. Certainly, you could understand it being in two different sections—in one area with the regular bacon and another area with the pizza toppings. In this store, that was sort of the where it was. Except the bacon and Canadian bacon themselves were in two different sections of the meat department, with little rhyme or reason.

Another item on my list was an air freshener specifically for pet odors. Walking down the aisle, all of the spray fresheners were on the same shelves, at reach level or higher. Save one, which was separate from the others and at knee level. And that just happened to be the specific one I was seeking. True, it was in the same aisle, but it was separated from the rest of its competition, and not in a good way.

At the home improvement store, it wasn’t much better. First, I was looking for light switch covers for a recently renovated bathroom. My first thought was that they might be with the lights, but I knew better. Next, I expected to see them with the light switches themselves, since they go hand-in-hand. Nope. They were with plumbing supplies.

Second, I sought some decorative wood to match some original molding in the house. The wood was in two different aisles that were side-by-side, which is OK. They were separated, however, by duct work. And the decorative pieces were not together.

I’m sure the shelf sets and aisle arrangements have some purpose specific to the store. Unfortunately for them, the customer doesn’t really care about that. What the customer cares about is finding what they need where they expect to find it. That means the layout needs to be as intuitive to the person walking the store for the first time as it is for the professional who’s in there daily.

If people can find what they need or want, they’ll buy it.

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One Response

  1. I want to state my appreciation of your writing skill and capability to make reader to read the while thing to the end. I want to read more of your blogs and to distribute my thoughts with you. I will be your regular visitor, that is for certain.

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