It’s easy, when you’re a shopper, to believe that you know exactly how you would run your own store. It’s easy, as you walk through shop after shop to think about the things that you would do differently and, if you’re being honest, better. As a shopper, it’s easy to judge the choices that other shop keepers make. It’s only after you’ve opened your shop that you realize just how hard it is to keep a store open every day. Those displays and banners serve a real purpose after all!
As a shopper, when you walk through a store, it’s easy to get annoyed by how disorganized everything seems. Why, for example, do stores insist upon creating displays that have nothing to do with the aisles on which they sit. Why is there a display of history books at the end of the automotive section at your favorite bookseller? Why is there a display of soda at the end of the toiletries aisle?
The truth is that mixing and matching your displays encourages people to buy. For example, as you’re on the way to the Chilton Repair Manual you need, you pass the history display and are reminded of your uncle’s upcoming birthday. He’s a huge history buff! You snag one of the display books on your way out of the section and congratulate yourself for not forgetting his birthday this year. Ta-da! The store just encouraged you to buy something you hadn’t planned to buy and convinced you that the purchase was your idea.
Point of Sale Purchases
You know those smaller, often really low-priced, items that clutter up register space? In the grocery store, it’s usually magazines, tabloids and candy. In a clothing store, it might be small accessories, maybe some travel sized cosmetics, fragrances, or hygiene products. The items are rarely large, and are almost always less than ten dollars in price. As you wait in line you peruse headlines, consider the color of the lip balm or comb through the box of buttons or “penny” candy (which is never really a penny anymore). The cashier asks if you’d like anything else and almost without thinking you add something from the area around the register to your purchase. It’s only $5, what’s the harm, right? This is called an “impulse purchase”.
Would it surprise you to learn that, once again, the psychology of shopping has come into play? It’s true. Point of purchase displays are not put out simply because the store is paid to promote a certain brand or product. Usually, it’s the exact opposite. The store owner very carefully chooses these items based on his or her clientele. If you’re already spending $50 on clothes, what’s $4.50 on a small bottle of perfume or after shave? To you, it’s a safe way to try something out. To the shop owner, it’s another sale.
Plus, if you really like whatever it is you’re “safely trying out,” you’ll be likely to come back into the store and buy the more expensive version. That’s another sale!
As a shopper, floor displays are often annoying. They get in your way as you make your way toward whatever it is that you are after until you happen across one that tempts you into exploring something that isn’t on your shopping list. Then, it’s a great coincidence that you “stumbled upon” that display, isn’t it? You get something new and cool and are happy. The shop keeper makes another sale.
These floor displays are not randomly located. Far from it! They are placed strategically so that a customer has to encounter the display as they cross the store. This is the same psychology that makes shop keepers stagger their aisles. Think about it. When was the last time, outside of a grocery shop, that you were able to walk in a straight line from one side of a store to the other without having to break your stride or shift your path even slightly?
By forcing you to shift your path and walk around a table, the store is literally forcing you to divert your gaze and look at the things you are passing. Hopefully, as you’re glancing around, you’ll notice something you want to buy!
At first glance, these types of displays seem like simple business methods of pushing sales on customers. The truth is that their strategies are based in psychology, not pushiness. Pay attention the next time you go shopping. You’ll pick up all sorts of ideas for what to do in your own store to keep those sales flowing.