Shopping pet peeves

Published on: 2015-02-05

The Retail Design Diva reminds us of a few things that retail experience designers  need to keep in mind when building enticing and supportive shopper environments:

Do you have a retail pet peeve? I’ll show you my list, if you show me yours…

1) Overly air conditioned stores: As in, I don’t want to feel like I’m shopping in Gristede’s frozen food aisle for a Ralph Lauren.

2)Directional signage that is unclear: As in, an exit is not a restroom, is not the men’s department…ahhh, how’d I get in Junior’s again?

3) Items that are not priced correctly: As in, this didn’t belong on the clearance rack, or it’s not 35 percent off, it’s just 10 percent off, with it!

4) Sloppy departments: As in, if your staff can’t pick it up off the floor, fold it or hang it correctly, I don’t pick up anyone else’s dirty socks, you deal with it!

5) Spotlights that are not directed at merchandise: As in, the fortune that is invested in lighting only to have it aimed at the floor, or at an empty wall because someone moved a rack or a mannequin.

6) Having to ask for a box, tissue paper or gift bag: As in, it’s not our problem it’s a gift, that's what stationary stores are for.

7) Escalators that don’t work: As in, am I going up the downstairs? Which way is up?…ahhh how’d I get in Junior’s again, is this a scam?

8) Un-walkable aisles: As in, yeah we have tons of merchandise, but unless you have a machete, don’t even bother.

9) Messy dressing rooms: As in broken hangers, torn bits of paper and tags, cracked mirrors, broken latches and piles of unfolded merchandise do not a great customer make.

10) Bored staff: As in, I don’t really know if we have any of those, or where that is. Now a true life experience at Macy’s (FYI Macy’s has nine floors including their cellar.):
Me: “Pardon me; do you know where the hosiery department is?”
Employee: “Yeah, I think it’s somewhere upstairs.”

Our take:

We've seen so many of these gripes show up on lists before that it's confusing why they're still so frequently encountered in the bricks-and-mortar world. Extensive research studies have shown that larger, cleaner dressing rooms and wider, clear aisles in particular lead to increased sales, so you'd think that the retailers would have figured out that these things need to be addressed in all of their stores.

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