24 September 2018

Why Physical Comfort in Store Matters

Have you ever wondered how powerful could design of a store be? Store layout isn’t about mere product placement. It plays a significant role in the customer’s decision making.

Some might say that it’s almost irrelevant in what exact placement are shelves filled with goods. After all, they buy what they have intended to and leave. However, is it true?

You’d be surprised how much it matters, and how dramatically it may affect your overall shopping experience and amount of goods in your cart. Shopping is such a routine activity we no longer think about why we move as we do, or for instance why we bought a product we initially didn’t come for. Most people would state they’re shopping with a predetermined list, but the data shows quite the opposite.

Automatic, habitual behavior subconsciously controls many of our shopping habits.

The trick is that while a shopper may not be aware of it, the other side can analyze shopper’s behavior and adjust the store’s layout based on that.

How people move in a given store, what are the exact routes, time spent in particular areas or shopper’s speed – these are the metrics which we at Pygmalios help retailers analyze with our technological solutions.


We know that shoppers tend to spend a non-negligible chunk of time in the entrance area. Retailers often utilize this space for placement of products which are ‘supplementary’. It is the point where every customer begins and ends his sales process and where customers behavior attributes with a subconscious buying. That’s why it’s crucial to know how to seize the entrance space effectively.


Most of the times when we show retailers a movement dynamics in a given store, they wonder if the only cause of such ‘overheated’ peripheral routes is the lousy layout. The answer is both yes and no. The phenomenon which we usually see is a rotational pattern – shoppers tend to move on the perimeter and rotate around. Even though, the adequate efforts may reduce this kind of movement dynamics. Keep in mind that rotational loop has its roots in human nature itself.


One of the few design elements which directly affects shopper’s comfort when in a store is the layout of shelves and shopping paths. Shoppers prefer more open space which is giving them a kind of visual freedom compared to more narrow and tight aisles. In some cases, it may result (also actually occurred) to a situation where certain individuals who suffer for instance claustrophobia, feel a significant discomfort. Even the height of shelves could make a huge difference. If a shelf is disproportionately high, it makes not only an act of taking the product out of it challenging but also a shopper may feel overwhelmed.

Nevertheless, retailers should be aware that the pattern of open space doesn’t apply universally. When a store wants to overhaul its tight aisle layout, more thorough consideration is needed.

As we’ve found out in our analysis, only creation of a new shortcut in the middle of narrow aisles wasn’t enough to make the area more traffic-intense. The primary cause of it was that shopper had no reason to use the shortcut because it connected aisles with low potential. In this case, the layout itself wasn’t the main factor – the products were.

In either case, the physical comfort of shoppers should be one of the main priorities of every retailer. Although when making only incremental changes to the layout, the other determinants capable of shaping outcome should be deliberately analysed.

David Borovsky, Marketing Intern

Read also:
The Purpose of Data Collection 

In-store Analytics Are the New Norm 

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