A Method in the Madness

Ever feel like stores are constantly coming up with new ways to make you want to buy more?  Well, they are, and they have been for years.  I used to get really confused when stores would all of a sudden redesign their floor layout (okay, I still do) and it would make me frustrated just trying to find that one thing I needed (yes Walmart, I’m looking at YOU!).  I never really thought about why their movement would be a good thing for their business; I just knew it turned me off.  But think about it.  The more you walk around, the more likely you are to see things you may want to buy.  Instead of putting the quick in-and-out supplies right near the doors, stores put them in the back so you have to walk by all of the other clothing, food, home supplies, and random knick-knacks they have before getting that tube of toothpaste.  I mean, all I want is Crest, but ooooh!  What’s that?  Something shiny!

I stumbled across this blog post the other day while procrastinating on grading papers, and I think it breaks down the science of placement beautifully.  Specifically, this looks at H&M, a clothing store known for its reasonable prices for up-to-the-minute on-trend fashion picks.  Check it out:


Crazy!  It makes me think about how Goodwill is set up.  The clothing and newer goods are placed right in the front near the doors, which seems like it might be counter-intuitive.  But, if you think about how most people get introduced to shopping at thrift stores like Goodwill (and it’s not through crazy thrifting friends like me), it’s through their home goods.  People come in just to buy goods for craft projects, home decor DIYs, etc.  So, in order to make a little more money, they put the clothing in front of it.  Interesting.  Very interesting.

Grocery stores do the same thing.  They make you walk through the aisles of processed food to get to the fresh products around the perimeter of the building, all because the processed foods create more revenue for their companies.  People these days are also more likely to become addicted to processed food because of the chemically-created flavanoids scientists are creating in laboratories from raccoons’ gland enzymes.  Yeah, I said it.  I saw it on “Sunday Morning.”  I’m going to go eat a real banana now.

How does store set up affect your shopping?  Have you ever thought about how layout creates a spending need?  Do you get sucked into spending hours in stores like me?


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