How a triangle can help your business
No matter what type of business you are, or how successful you are, it pays to pay attention to these tips, as we all can get store blind and complacent at times.
If your business is not performing as you would like, these tips can help... and if your business is performing out of this world, these tips can help!
I have used these tips to help hundreds of independent retailers in my time, and once you read these, they will seem simple and even obvious to you, but more often than not, they are all too often overlooked.
1. The triangle
What you will find is an imaginary triangle forming, which is the direct relationship between your entrance, your key category (outside of what’s behind your counter) and your counter.
Pay attention to this, as this triangle will either be your “Golden Triangle” full of related product and impulse sales or your “Bermuda Triangle” full of dust collectors.
In some cases you may observe two triangles forming in the case of say a cafe, convenience store or newsagent for example, where you are catering for two types of people, such as take-away, fuel and lottery customers, but they are still relevant.
Your job once you establish where the triangles are in your business, is to ensure that your layout does not interrupt customers from moving in this direction, and more importantly that the categories within these triangles are related/impulse products, designed to encourage your customers to spend more.
See below store layout example.
2: Don't interrupt me
This may mean changing the way your fixtures are laid out, or your tables are positioned in a cafe for example, or the direction of your card and magazine displays.
It may even mean changing the position of the key category to drive customers further into your store, to create a better flow and bigger triangle.
While supermarkets have many categories and departments, just think about where the milk is positioned, and you will start to see the similarities of this approach.
Whatever it is, you need to ensure that you are not blocking the natural flow of your customers journey, and you are maximising the size of your triangle to create more points of engagement with your customers.
3: Ban the queue
If queueing and queue lines were not a negative for your business before Covid, queueing of any sort post Covid will drive customers away from your business.
Your goal now, should be to eliminate queueing from your store for two main reasons.
1. Customers do not feel comfortable in queues, and they will walk or avoid you altogether.
Consumer research prior to Covid indicated that 86% of shoppers avoid going into stores with long lines; 74% of shoppers will shop at a competitor rather than a store with a long checkout line; and 41% of shoppers will change their minds about a purchase if there is a long checkout line.
So if you think that queue lines present you with new opportunities to sell last minute impulse items from your queue line merchandising, think about the customers who do not come into your store at all!
2. Like it or not, you are competing with the online space, so when was the last time you had to queue to buy something online?
Let me drill down on this last point a little deeper for you to highlight what I mean.
There is a school of thought that believes that queue lines are a great way to serve customers. Wrong!
Take McDonalds for instance.
When McDonalds first launched everybody queued, and then they introduced drive-thru, and then they introduced self-serve, and then they introduced an ordering app, and then they went to Uber Eats to give their customers choice and in the process, reduced queueing.
The point is that big companies have realised that it’s not about serving people in the order that they arrive at your store, it’s about serving people in the order that they are ready to transact with you! Just like the internet.
So to circle back to your business, you need to offer your customers multiple ways for them to transact with you, be it in person, self-serve, click and collect etc.
Your customer of the future, will want to have choices in how they transact with you, so stop forcing your customers to transact with you in one way only, and #banthequeue
So there you have it!
No matter what type of business you are, or what type of store layout you have, by adopting these three principles of 1. Understanding your triangle 2. Removing barriers to entry and 3. Removing queueing from your store, you will be giving your business its best chance to thrive.
By giving back to your customers the one thing that they value above all else... their TIME!
Thanks for your time :)
Founder and MD of Stock Box. Craig's extensive retail experience of 30+ years has seen him manage all sides of the marketplace, from category and brand management in franchise and independent operations, to retail development within the convenience channel. Stock Box Online is the result of Craig's extensive industry knowledge and experience, focusing on helping independent retails and vendors, discover and access more ranging through a multi-vendor marketplace.