Your Company Layout Could Earn You Loyal Customers And Increased Sales
It is not enough to plan a positioning strategy, communicate to customers, and attract customers to the brand, store or place of purchase. The desired positioning strategy must reflect in the product brand or store. In a study conducted by www.todhost.com on retail outlets over 60 percent of the stores do not represent their product positioning strategy. A major point of disparity was their layout strategy. The business failed in some respect to present the image, quality, and services elements which their advertising communicates.
Most business boasts of prompt service, quality products, and courteous personnel. Once this becomes the company’s positioning strategy, management must ensure that customers get just that. Any deviation will send a wrong signal, a signal of deception, which could hurt the business image.
Good layout is a well recognized way of supporting the positioning strategy and sales program of a business. Often times, some businesses do not even understand the requirements for good layout. The principles we examine below apply to all businesses, small, medium scale or large.
The layout must match customers buying habits. In considering this factor, the business must ensure that its layout considers the array of impulse goods which customers need to see as they shop, make inquiries, and pay for the products they have bought. It also needs to be arranged so that convenient goods do take very little time to pick and pay for. The position of payment counter needs to be considered so that as customers make their payments, they also have the opportunity of viewing the countless display of convenience and impulse goods which they could easily pick up.
Most customers want to compare products before making final decision. The availability of merchandise on display aids this process. This is particularly for products that involves price, style, or design alternatives. In doing this, the shop manager needs to remember that some products needs to be locked in showcases to prevent shoplifting.
Customer services could include almost anything from pleasant surroundings, courteous personnel, convenient passageways, escalators or stairs, to Credit policy, delivery, return policies, and neat rest rooms.
Business must make the best possible use of light, ventilation, and heat. These are all components of the customers’ assessment of the businesses and help the customers to build trust in the burliness
Organization of Merchandise
Related lines of merchandize should be displayed or placed on counters near each other. Men’s shirts and trousers are a classic example. Another is placing tooth pastes and tooth brushes close to each other.
Separation of Activities
Good layout always separate selling from non- selling activities. However, it is generally acknowledged that the prime selling space in the store is the front space. Activities such as telephone, repairs, wrapping, credit offices, and mailing should be located at rear areas.
This concept has been widely abused in layout planning. For reasons of theft, secrecy in certain transaction, and confidentially in office processes, barriers are mounted in some stores to the extent that the customer cannot clearly view the floor space as much as possible. Research supports the position that most customers prefer being able to see other departments when shopping. If Possible, the entire floor should visible to customers, employees, and Managers. Research also supports the position that employees prefer at least a visual contact with other employees. It is recommended that visual spaciousness be used effectively if customers will not be inconvenienced and forced to looked for places that offer better comfort.
Fixture should reflect the desired image. If the appeal is to children, the fixture should reflect that position. If it is to women, the appeal should reflect a feminine atmosphere. The unisex movement is gradually making serous inroads and needs consideration if that is the appeal.
Allocating floor space to each merchandise should be guided by the relative sales value of different parts of the store. Motion studies provide a lot of assistance in this regard. Studies have shone that most new shoppers turn to the right when they enter the store. Convenience goods and impulse goods will therefore be better placed by the right turn of the store. The front of the store records more traffic than the than the rear positions. It is therefore important to consider the type of merchandise offered before allocating floor space
Additional Notes: Explaining the Positioning Strategy and its relations with layout
Positioning strategy simply refers to stating to customers what a product means, and how it differs from current and potential competing products. This distinction could be established through the product attribute, price/quality, application , product, user, or product class. In doing this, there is always the danger of confused positioning where buyers are unsure of what the company stands for, over-positioning where customers perceive the product as being expensive and fail to recognize the full breadth of the range; and over-positioning where the message is simply too vague and consumers have little real idea of what the organization stands for.
The best positioning strategy will create some points-of-difference. These are attributes or benefits consumers strongly associate with a brand, positively evaluate, and believe that they could not find to the same extent with a competitive brand. Positioning strategy also seek to associate one’s offering with highly rated brands thereby seeking to enjoy the preference consumers attach to such brands (points-of-parity).
“if a company does an excellent job of positioning, then it can work out the rest of its market planning and differentiation from its positioning strategy”. Positioning to them is designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market.
About the author: Fegalo Nsuke is founder of Todhost.com A leading ICT and web hosting company in Nigeria. He has published over 200 articles on Todhost.com