The Elements of Design (Part 2)
Consumers can find drug store merchandise almost anywhere these days, so unless your pharmacy is the only game in town, it’s a good idea to create an environment that sets your business apart from the competition. Like you, consumers prefer to shop in a store that’s clean, comfortable, and easy to find their wanted items. Your goal should be to provide this place. Your clientele has a need to fill their prescriptions. Why not capitalize on that need? Just putting up rows of shelves stocked with pharmacy essentials will present sales, but you may be missing out on countless more that walk out your door forever. Done right and you will attract new customers, keep them coming back, and maximize your sales. That’s where the elements of design come into play. A well-designed store will make your business more consumer-friendly and a lot more profitable.
In this four-part series, we will give you an outline of design considerations to help you determine how your store measures up.
Aisle Spacing: Tight aisles are bad for business. Shoppers need an environment where they can linger and move around comfortably at their own speed. Aisle spacing should be no less than four feet across. If a customer looks down an aisle where someone is already shopping and she knows she’ll have to brush up against that person to pass, chances are she won’t bother going down that aisle at all. Customers in busy aisles tend to get annoyed once they’ve been bumped, and irritated shoppers won’t hang around for very long or may leave without buying a thing. Worse yet, a confrontation may scar a person’s perception of your store altogether.
Many customers like to study labels before buying –especially when it comes to health & beauty products. If shoppers don’t feel comfortable in your store, they won’t spend two seconds; much less buy any product that requires a little study. A way to increase the perceived aisle space is to stagger the shelves like a pyramid with the deeper shelves at the bottom, then progressively narrower in the “sweet zone”, from the waist to shoulders.
Store Layout: Impulse buys can generate a large portion of your overall sales. 90% of shoppers buy items, not on their shopping list. 61% of those off-list shoppers purchase an additional one to three items. The more merchandise your customers are exposed to the better. High volume sales items are best positioned at the rear and corners of the store. Putting these products and services to the back helps accomplish “four corner penetration” – the pulling of customers into every part of your establishment. By doing so, customers that show up to pick up their prescriptions will have to walk through more merchandise to reach their destination. This design fundamental assures that they will be drawn to sections of the store they hadn’t planned to visit, enabling you to position other display types, tactics, & tools that lead them to purchase more products.
Product Visibility: Merchandise should always be easy to find. Good visibility can’t be stressed enough. Impulse sales are all about seeing the product. No product should have to scream, I’m in here somewhere, come find me!” Buried merchandise is not only frustrating to customers; it means you’re likely missing out on a great opportunity to generate more impulse sales. One solution is to group related products and items together. If a customer is buying cold medication, she shouldn’t have to go to the other side of the store to find tissues and hand sanitizers. Implement this tactic and you’re bound to improve sales. Shelf talkers are another way of highlighting new or higher-margin products. You could have a “Pharmacist Pick of the Month”, such as your favorite vitamin supplement or any other product. You could do this with all your employees and let them write a note on why it’s their favorite and what it’s done for them. Give your employees incentives to push their “favorite” products.
The Checkout: The cash register is your last chance to make a sale. Don’t waste it.
This area should be clean & organized. Your goal is to offer an assortment of last-second convenience items that will trigger a previously unknown need and promote that final impulse sale. However, too much emphasis is no emphasis. It’s important to strike a balance between a variety of different items versus a cluttered counter full of junk. You also want this transaction to be smooth & efficient. Much like having a great meal at a restaurant, if you have to wait too long for the check, it can spoil the whole experience.
Going through the four parts of this outline should help you identify your store’s design strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of what you find, learn to emphasize your company’s strong points. You and your competition have access to the same merchandise, so the way you display your products and services is what can give you the edge. You’re a specialty retailer with a niche market that has great growth potential for the years ahead. Investing in the look and design of your store doesn’t cost, it pays.
Contact us today to talk about how we can improve your store and your bottom line…
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