It all started off simply, as most things do, with the barter system. The barter
system was one where people who wanted to buy something, had to give something
they owned to the other person in exchange. Then came the
concept of currency and the effort to evaluate commodities in terms of money.
The commodities on sale still came under the bracket of basic needs.
The Inevitable Growth for Better or for Worse
Then things started to get complex bit by bit as people's needs advanced into
wants, and the market for various other goods started becoming as important as
that for basic commodities. Small shops grew in size and scope
into bigger stores. Mass retailing began in the 1800s and catalogueing was
introduced. The first shopping centres reared their heads. Currency was
transformed to credit cards, and retail chains made their entry.
This was subsequently followed by department stores, malls, discount stores,
franchising and the rest. Manufacturers started investing in showrooms and
buying and selling started its upward growth towards consuming
one's entire lifestyle.
The Next Step Already Taken
Then the retail store went online. And while the market got bigger, the store
sizes are now getting smaller, with no one losing out in the process. Sellers
saved on space, buyers saved on time. Added to this was the
ability of offering and choosing from a wider range of products at one's own
But still the charm of a physical retail store remains
While many consumers are not that technology savvy yet, or want
to see the garment on themselves in the trial room, or treat it
either as a family outing or a reason to get away from the
family for a
while, the reasons are varied why a physical retail store has
not really gone out of fashion and perhaps never will. There
are reasons for the sellers to hold onto this physical way to
their consumers too even though they might have equal online
presence. This is because they understand the consumers' need
to touch, see, smell, hear and maybe even taste what they are
senses play an important part in purchase decisions, but more
on that in a bit. It also allows sellers to display products in
a way so they get people's attention and end up being an
A Few Tips You Will find in The Science Book
How you plan the layout of your retails store is almost a
science. Here are a few insights one can garner from what some
of the leading stores over the world are doing. First is the
threshold area where
the prospective customer steps in and enters the store world
while leaving the real world behind. This is where first and
lasting impressions are formed. It would be the best place to
on lights, colours and displays as all these things set the
mood. Products placed in this area will more often than not be
missed. Next the consumer, as studies show, invariably turns to
The first wall they see there is called the Power Wall. This is
the best place to display products that have high impact like
seasonal products or those on high demand. Your next job is the
the route your customer will take unconsciously while walking
through your store. Usually, where the eyes go, the feet
follow. Keep that in mind while displaying products and floor
texturing or even
direction arrows. An eye catching display at the end of each
aisle usually keeps them moving in the right direction so they
are exposed to all your items. At the same time, remember to
down in their walk. Do this by creating visual breaks in the
forms of digital signages or displays. Keep high demand
products at eye level. The list goes on.
A few tips you will find in the common sense book
Give your store a short catchy name. Keep some dummy customers crowded around
merchandise you want to generate interest in. Put a sticker saying SOLD on some
items, say in a furniture store, to make it look like these
are in demand and will be sold out soon. Keep printed catalogues everywhere.
Use mirrors to make the store look bigger and the number of items more in
number. Have a little relaxation zone where people can rest
a while and maybe buy something to eat or drink. Have an activity area to
entertain the kids so their mothers can spend more time choosing what to buy.
Spare a thought on window display. It is what will bring new
customers into your store.
Train the people in uniform
The salesperson is an integral part of the physical retail store. They should be
hired only if they have people skills, and trained to hone these skills
further. They should understand the importance and psychology
of human interaction and be a friend or an informed guide instead of a sales
person who simply points you to the aisle you are looking for. They should be
quick to understand the customer’s needs and make suggestions
accordingly, preferably in a non-formal way, while not overdoing it either.
They should think long term and sell people on value, in an honest sincere way.
They should recommend products while talking about their
unique features and how it will benefit that particular customer in a special
way. They should not be afraid to say they are not informed about something,
but get back to the customer after being further informed.
Last and not the least, they should be willing to learn from their mistakes and
work towards bettering themselves.
The importance of catering to the five senses
Nowadays a retail store does not just showcase the items to be sold. They cater
to the five senses of the customer in order to make them unconsciously feel
good about buying at that particular retail store. And that
has a huge impact on sales. Touch and see are usually taken care of in a
physical store. Taste can be taken care of in food stores where you can sample
a cookie before buying a bunch. Smell does not just have to
be restricted to the perfume department. Having a store that has an overall
relaxing fragrance will calm a person down and make him or her want to spend
more time in the store and go over what to buy. About hearing,
in store music can make all the difference in the world. It should be chosen
with care to appeal to the target group. Its tempo can either speed up or slow
down the pace of the person walking through the store.
It can have a calming effect so the customer would want to spend more time
there. It could enliven the atmosphere in festive seasons to get the customers
more into the mood. It can also be used to intersperse the
music with in-store advertising that would inform the customers about what they
may have missed out on.
To sum it up
The retail store has evolved over the years from being just a place to buy and
sell, to a place that influences the customer to buy more in many subliminal
ways. By connecting with the customer as a person, and not
just someone who has a need which has to be met. By making shopping an
experience instead of a task.